Considered the latest “must-have” game for the Wii, WarioWare Smooth Moves takes that quick, microgame style we’ve all known and brings it to Nintendo’s new console. Available now, the game has more than 200 microgames that have you doing all kinds of crazy things with your Wiimote.
Is it a successful transition over to the Wii? Find out what we think after the jump.
Man, the only thing worse than a game that sucks outright is a game that comes so close to greatness, but falls short due to lack of proper polish. That is essentially my beef with WarioWare: Smooth Moves, and it’s a beef that I’m sure is shared by many other reviewers — it’s great, and occasionally brilliant, but that extra oomph that Nintendo usually gives its games, the polish, is painfully absent.
My romance with Smooth Moves was a brief, passionate, but ultimately unsatisfying one, kind of like my experience with the recent DS incarnation, Touched! — this is not so much a fault of the games themselves, but their failure to live up to the standards set by what I believe to be the best title in the series, the excellent Twisted! on the Gameboy Advance. Let me make this doubly clear: Smooth Moves, like Touched!, is a great game. It’s just not as good as it ostensibly could’ve been.
It’s a fun game, make no mistake. The microgames are just as ridiculous and insane as they have been in previous titles in the series, and where the Wiimote works, it works very well. The single-player campaign is somewhat short but leaves a great deal of room for replayability with its scoring system; there’s an ever-present urge to outperform yourself in previous attempts at a given stage. The 9-volt level, Nintendo’s love-letter to itself, is one of the greatest feats of fan-service since the trophies of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The multiplayer is limited, but it can be quite a gas with a handful of friends — the sort of frantic hot-potato fun that we’ve come to expect from the WarioWare franchise.
The handful of broken microgames (maybe six or seven out of over 200), however, stand out by being some of the most frustrating, game-busting experiences I’ve had in recent years. On the occasion that my last life is torn from me by one of these games — a fair example being, say, the Shifting microgame, in which the player holds the remote with his or her thumb over the sensor and moves the Wiimote as they would a gear shift — I just want to break someone’s face in. These occasional breakdowns in gameplay are made apparent only because the rest of the game is so damn good — it’s like being tossed out of a cozy jacuzzi and into a freezing swimming pool.
This is a sort of unique brand of failure that we’re likely to see often within the first year of the Wii’s shelf life; the growing pains of figuring out the most effective use of the hardware at hand. This isn’t likely to be the last we’re to see of WarioWare on the Wii; hopefully, by Wario’s next go-round on Nintendo’s little white box, the developers will have refined the experience into something as fluid as Twisted. In the mean time, I heartily recommend giving this game a shot. WarioWare stands as one of the best titles on the platform, painfully pock-marked by a handful of flaws that bust up an otherwise excellent gaming experience.
Final score: 8
At this point, pretty much all of us are now aware as to how a WarioWare game works. What you may not be aware of is how damn fun this old formula can be given the implementation of the Wii remote. All of the 205 “microgames” are played with one of the 19 Wiimote stances in the game. If you had your doubts about the versatility of the Wiimote, the different stances in Smooth Moves will put your fears to rest — while the game occasionally had problems registering my movements, for the most part the Wiimote gestures are adequately recognized.
That being said, Smooth Moves is a game with extreme toolbox potential. That is to say, despite the fact that the game will often require you to make a specific gesture or hold the Wiimote a specific way, you can often successfully pass the microgame just by randomly shaking the Wiimote until you achieve a desired effect. This fact makes your personal enthusiasm all the more crucial to your enjoyment of the game: You can technically beat most microgames by flailing around like a spaz, but you’ll miss out on the self-deprecating joy of looking like a moron as you gyrate your hips in an effort to spin a virtual hula hoop.
I only have two real complaints, but they are big ones. Firstly, there aren’t that many microgames. Two hundred and five sounds like a big number when written down, but after completing the story mode, I can confidently say that there really ought to be more. The games that are included are fun and varied, but considering the Wiimote alone allows more varied styles of control than literally every other WarioWare game combined, one can’t help but feel that the developers skimped.
My other main complaint concerns multiplayer. For reasons beyond my understanding, Smooth Moves’ multiplayer, which supports up to twelve players, only allows you to use one Wii remote. This is extremely counterintuitive, considering the frantic pace of the minigames: Am I seriously expected to be able to loosen my wrist strap, pass my Wiimote, have my friend put on and fasten the wrist strap, and then get into the designated Wiimote stance in less than five seconds? And what of the fantastic multiplayer modes in WarioWare Inc: Mega Party Game$, where one player had to play minigames while the other repeatedly tapped alternating buttons in order to pop a huge balloon? That game is still included in Smooth Moves, but considering you only get one Wiimote, the balloon pumping is handled automatically by the computer. Smooth Moves’ multiplayer is definitely a step backwards.
So, should you get it? I’d say so. Even with all of its flaws, Smooth Moves is too fun to pass up, especially considering it’s the last major Wii release until the next SSBM game.
Final score: 8.5
First of all: Rev, why are you using the strap with this game? Most of the moves force you to go unstrapped. Now that that’s out of the way and off my chest, I wanted to present my review in the short and quick fashion that the game is. OK. READY. SET. GO!
• The fact that you can do Wiimote gestures by not doing what’s intended means you have a broken game — nevermind the fact that a few of them don’t even work.
• Fast paced? Yes. Quality? No.
• The art and “stories” in the game make you really appreciate Elite Beat Agents. WarioWare has the same style, it’s just not executed as well.
• Games like WarioWare are what I fear the Wii was destined to be — full of first-party games that offer short bursts of entertainment.
• One Wiimote for multiplayer? Who was smoking crack the day they decided that?
• Any sort of online multiplayer function would have been killer for this game. Sadly, Nintendo thinks it’s not important.
• If you have a Wii and got nothing else to play, then yeah, pick up this game. If you have better things to do, then I suggest doing them.
Final score: 6