Review: WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Posted 14 Oct 2016 at 14:27 by Joshua Phillips
The WarioWare series has spun off into a variety of directions in recent years, giving you the option to make your own crazy games in 2009’s WarioWare D.I.Y. and providing a bunch of more in-depth GamePad oddities as Wario’s answer to Nintendo Land in Game & Wario in 2013 but the last real WarioWare game is Wii classic WarioWare: Smooth Moves and it’s now available on the Wii U eShop!
Classic WarioWare gameplay is at the heart of this 2007 Wii Remote loving title, taking everything that was great about the GBA and DS games and adding even more insanity to the mix by making the then new Wii Remote the core control method.
Smooth Moves is filled with bite-size minigames that typically last around 3-5 seconds that rely on quick reactions and a keen eye. The minigames are presented to you in bunches depending on their host character and come at you one after another, getting quicker and quicker each time, as you struggle to keep completing the ever crazier tasks in a shorter timespan with your dwindling set of four lives.
Each section has its own story surrounding a character and all the stories are short enough with just the right amount of crude humour to keep you interested until the minigames begin, though thankfully you can skip these scenes after your initial play-through. You’ll be presented with around 15 quick-fire mini-games before a final boss battle and the finale to that story when the boss is complete.
After your first play-through you’ll be able to play that section again in true endless WarioWare style, as you play until you’re out of lives trying to get the highest score possible with the chance to recover a life every now and then if you beat a boss level.
The Wii title sticks to this format but adds Wii Remote controls, slowly introducing you to new ways of holding the controller. To start with there’s a bunch of minigames that are controlled by holding the Wii Remote normally which will have you pointing and shooting at plates, guiding paper planes and selecting correct answers in a quiz, whereas later on you’ll be holding the Wii Remote upright in a style lovingly named ‘The Umbrella’, which will see you changing car gears, blocking incoming projectiles with a massive sword and hoovering with the controller.
The descriptions for each of these control methods is great too as a smooth talking, deep voice gives the explanations for each new style, calmly telling you to hold the Wii Remote like a mop with both hands as 'the left hand represents honour, the right hand, filth' or to hold the remote on its side as finger food to celebrate 'French Fries, the ultimate muse'.
The control methods are as fun and obscure as some of the games themselves, as you’ll end up holding the Wii Remote on the end of your nose like an elephant, above your head as a mohawk and at your hip as ‘The Big Cheese’. All of these mean that the games themselves can be even more creative than initially thought, as you play the part of a fat bug rolling around to squash pikmin, an olympic runner galloping for first, a ninja ready to slice a man down to his undies, a giant baby desperate for cake and a farmer with a big brush that has to clean his filthy cow.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all something will come along and take you by surprise. For me this happened when I had an ‘umbrella’ style game, I started with my Wii Remote held up and the game simply said ‘hit’, so I thrust the Wii Remote downwards and the on-screen baseball bat smacked an old Japanese man on the arm as he was reaching up for an orange. His sullen look and weeping eyes made me feel elated and terrible in equal measure.
The single player is enjoyable but over relatively quickly, a skilled player will make their way through the single campaign in a couple of hours though if you’re not used to the Wario format it may take you a while longer. This game is not about getting from start to finish though, as arguably the game only really begins after the credits have rolled for the first time.
This title is all about high-scores, something that you can only start trying to achieve after having completed the single player mode. There’s nothing better than besting your previous high score or having a battle between friends trying to make it as far as possible. Not only do you unlock the high-score chasing heaven of the single player games after clearing the stories but you also unlock the meat of this title after completing every area – multiplayer mode.
2 to 16 players can take part in a bunch of interesting party modes as players pass the Wii remote from one person to the next and try to last as long as possible. Considering just one controller is used, the multiplayer experience is still a very intimate one as you all laugh at each other failing miserably or scramble for the remote when it’s your turn. There are a variety of different modes to try, each of them bringing together the frantic games in an interesting package.
One mode has you all dressed up as angels, losing your wings and falling to your death if you lose at a minigame until the last person is standing (or indeed flying) and another has the player sat atop an ever growing balloon until they pass the minigame and can jump off to let the other player on. The player sat on the balloon when it pops is the loser so the anxiety of trying to quickly clear a mini-game and pass on the burden to the next player is extreme. When the game is coming to a close, the balloon is bulging and alarms are going off, creating a fun and frantic experience.
My personal favourite multiplayer game involves a bunch of you running through a jungle, desperately trying to win as many games as possible to ensure you have more rope than your rivals. At the end of your jungle run you’re all tied up above a crocodile infested lake, with the better players having more rope tied around them. Each person then takes it in turn to snip a rope but as all ropes are the same colour and you can’t see which rope is tied to which person, you could end up potentially killing yourself, so the more rope the better.
WarioWare Smooth Moves was and still is a fantastic showcase of the Wii Remote which at the time had only really been utilised in launch titles such as Wii Sports and Excite Truck; so catching fish, putting dentures in an old ladies mouth and dancing in rhythm to on-screen characters was all new to the world of motion controls and nailed in this quirky title just brimming with variety.
Now, all these years later, the game is no longer a showcase of what is to come for motion controls but somewhat sadly a glimpse of what could have been had motion plus been as standard from the start and so many developers didn’t give up on motion controls as early as they did.
This game isn’t without fault, whilst the varying art-styles mean the visuals are quite timeless, especially on the Wii U without that awful ‘Wii fuzz’, some areas do suffer. At times when zoomed into character icons on the map screen they appear oddly pixellated and the intro videos are compressed poorly, looking like blown up 360p YouTube videos. Considering its age though, and the fact that the gameplay itself looks fine, it’s something you can overlook.
One thing that can’t be forgiven is a sometimes unresponsive Wii Remote. Whilst it doesn’t happen often, on occasion the Wii Remote either simply won’t react or can’t be found – You’ll find yourself lunging the remote forward to grab someone’s hand and nothing will happen on screen or you’ll be tasked with shooting cans and the cursor simply blinks in place and doesn’t move. Whilst it’s generally a rare occurrence, in a game all about high-score chasing, precision and getting things completed as fast as possible, it seems somewhat unforgivable especially in single player.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Despite its flaws, WarioWare: Smooth Moves is still a very enjoyable, unique, creative and funny title that any fan of motion controls needs to try and is one of the most hilarious multiplayer Wii games to this day.
- Quirky and hilarious
- Very creative uses of Wii Remote
- Fantastic multiplayer experience
- Videos and some sprites look dated
- Controls sometimes unresponsive