WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii) Review

By Adam Riley 06.01.2007

Review for WarioWare: Smooth Moves on Wii

The WarioWare series started with humble beginnings on the Game Boy Advance, but has fast become one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises in Japan, gaining strong popularity in the US and eventually Europe caught up with the craze. It has already appeared on the GameCube, launched alongside the Nintendo DS, had a special tilt version (that sadly never came to Europe) and now the game has just released alongside the Wii in Japan. But now it is set to début in Europe this coming Friday, Cubed³ got chance to thoroughly go over the Western version…does it match the high levels of the previous games?

Well, what veterans of the series will know by now is that the games do not normally focus on being overly attractive. In fact, the first few games seem to have purposefully gone down a route whereby most of the mini-games are basic in appearance to create a somewhat retro feel to the proceedings. For the most part, the micro-games included in Smooth Moves are extremely simple in appearance, such as rudimentary 3D ones likes the balancing of a broom on a hand or even the NES graphics used for a Super Mario Bros. game. However, there are some that use visuals straight from the GameCube, like the Wind Waker and Pikmin micro-games and then there are the cut-scenes that are strewn around, tying the whole game together. If you think about how clear and crisp the 2D graphics of Paper Mario were on the GC, then you will know what we are talking about. Except the quality has been upped considerably, making you wonder just how amazing Super Paper Mario will look when reworked on Wii. As for the audio side, music ranges from forgettable background tunes to some catchy character themes, Nintendo favourites reworked and amusingly cheesy voice-overs...

Screenshot for WarioWare: Smooth Moves on Wii

But what about the meat of the game? Well, after starting as a fun collection of very small games for its GBA début, the franchise has quickly turned into a means of showing off new techniques and technology. The GameCube one was all about multi-player wackiness, the second GBA game made perfect use of the tilt sensor and the DS title was all about using the touch-screen when the DS first launched. Now the Wii has just hit the streets and Wario & Co. are about to show us all how varied the new control system really is. And thankfully the original WarioWare team are back on the case, with a helping hand from Intelligent Systems, to ensure this is definitely not a gimmicky waste of money.

For the uninitiated out there, WarioWare throws numerous ‘micro’-games at you, so called because they are not lengthy enough to be deemed ‘mini’-games. These are indeed between three and five seconds in total and test you reactionary skills to the limit. In the case of this latest version, they are all centred around different uses of the Wii controller. Each time a new use is called for, a very amusing voice-over explains how the controller should be held and the (pointless and chucklesome) reason behind its ‘hidden meaning’…at least it is funny for the first few times, until eventually the appeal wears off and the explanations start to grate. Thankfully there are only limited moves, so you do not have to tolerate too much of the deep-voiced voice work. These uses of the controller, though, are ingenious – a few examples include holding it like a dumb-bell, in your fist like a boxer, as if you were holding a pen, an umbrella, a tug-of-war rope or even a sheathed samurai sword.

Screenshot for WarioWare: Smooth Moves on Wii

Each and every one of them leaves you thinking just how wonderful the future of Wii gaming may be if developers take note of the amount of uses found here. At first it may not seem apparent how the stances will work in actual practise, but you soon learn as once you have chosen one of the game's main characters and enjoyed the quirky story introduction to set the mood, you are thrust into the midst of the action. With only four lives you must survive the onslaught of games thrown at you. Some of the best examples are as follows: 1.) Sticking your thumb over the Wii controller's sensor, shaking it up and down to move a champagne bottle ferociously on the screen, only to lift off your finger and point in the direction of the group standing there as the cork flies off and alcohol sprays wherever you direct it! 2.) Holding the controller in your fist as if you are to punch with it. However, the aim is to then tilt your hand left or right, moving an on-screen sword in an attempt to sufficiently block a samurai who tries to slash you. When sufficiently dazed, you must quickly strike forward to finish him off. 3.) In a scene from Animal Crossing, you are sat by a small pond with fish in and must catch one by carefully holding the controller still until the fish takes a bite of your tackle (oo-er!), the rumble kicks in and you must yank the fish clean out of the water.

Screenshot for WarioWare: Smooth Moves on Wii

There are plenty of other mad-cap games in the mix, such as pushing people over (thrust towards the screen), shuffling sheets of paper neatly (hold the controller vertically and gently bang the base on your left palm), driving a car and avoiding cows on the road (holding the controller sideways and tilting left and right like a steering wheel) or even flying Fox McCloud's Arwing (keeping the controller held as if you were going to throw a dart). Clearly a lot of thought has gone into making this as accessible for people new to gaming, as weird as possible to please long-term fans of the series and as clever as it can be in terms of using the controller in all these fantastic ways. Sadly, though, it does not quite hold the same appeal and crazy thrill as the handle versions (the same problem the GameCube version suffered from). Nintendo has attempted to make this fun for all, but in doing so the solo modes are a bit thin on the ground overall.

And ‘thin’ is being kind, because after about two hours (including a bit of a break), the game had been cracked open. Yes, the multi-player is supposed to add a lot of value to game (playing darts passes the time nicely enough, but flinging the controller between people as you complete many micro-games in a row grew old in the GC version…), but recalling the situation found with the GameCube edition, getting three friends that want to look like complete idiots seems difficult and the one-player side alone does not justify the £39.99 price tag. Sure, there are nice options like being able to watch video sequences repeatedly, beat your highest scores on the micro games (which really do go crazily fast the longer you play!) or take part in extended mini-games (including a gun shooting one, block balancing puzzle game and a Breakout-style affair that uses a ping-pong paddle controlled completely by the Wii-mote to bounce the ball through barriers), but still this probably would have been much more appealing at a lower price-point.

Screenshot for WarioWare: Smooth Moves on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Smooth Moves is a wonderful game on its own and a spectacular example of how first generation games can use the new control set-up. The humour is back in full force and the micro-games are as addictive as ever, but unfortunately it is all over much sooner than it should be. If you have crazy friends by the dozen then seriously consider this. However, solo gamers might want to wait for a price-cut...


Intelligent Systems







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (50 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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