I have fond memories of sitting around a TV back in 2007, huddled together with three friends and manically swinging Wii Remotes around in WarioWare: Smooth Moves. The microgames were dumb, the laughs flowed, and good times were had. Cut to 2023, and Wario has returned for a second outing on the Switch with a new helping of motion-controlled madness. How it’s taken almost an entire console generation for it to happen is a question for another article, but I had high hopes for a return to the manic waggles of yesteryear compared to the more button mashing antics of WarioWare: Get It Together! and thankfully my hopes haven’t been dashed.
WarioWare: Move It! has the collective group of WarioWare Inc. travelling to a secluded holiday island, where antics rapidly ensue amongst the now traditional assortment of micro-games. For those uninitiated, a micro-game lasts but a few seconds and has you reacting as quickly as possible to complete a certain task. That could be something like stopping a train in time, unplugging a toilet or stopping the rain from lashing down on your avatar. It’s silly, over the top nonsense full of crudely drawn animations, a few familiar faces and plenty of chances to laugh at yourself in the process of running through as many micro-games as possible within a given time limit.
Don’t be suspicious
This latest addition puts the focus squarely on Forms. It isn’t the first time they’ve been used, Smooth Moves had what was called a Form Baton to show players how to hold the Wii Remote, but Move It! introduces a number of more unique poses that make use of the advanced motion-control accessible with the joy-cons. The single-player story mode will have you holding a controller in each hand and holding various stances ahead of the respective micro-game, going from a basic two-hands together to form the hilt of a sword to my personal favourite, ba-Kaw, which is exactly what it sounds like. The games play out so fast you’ll never have time to imagine up how dumb you might look, though the narrator (for lack of a better term) does a decent job of reminding you.
Story mode plays out in a similar fashion to the existing WarioWare series, themed after a certain character within the roster and introducing a new set of micro-games you’ll need to quick-fire off before wrapping up with a boss battle. Rinse and repeat. That formula hasn’t changed much over the years, but here a tad more time has been afforded to players to set themselves with each stance, and more than one may be introduced with each new level. As a solo player, the campaign won’t take too long to complete but will challenge and entertain just enough to deserve a playthrough. Having said that, you can share the fun with another player and take turns, which is a superior way to experience the absurd nature of it all.
A quick PSA for those curious, you absolutely need to wear the joy-con straps. Don’t do the dumb thing I first did and buck the law, and not just because you might accidentally throw one at your TV either (I didn’t, just so you know). There are a few situations where the strap has a role to play believe it or not, and without spoiling it, just make sure you’ve got them available.
As a solo experience, I had plenty of fun completing the campaign and going back to the museum to replay some of the more entertaining micro-games in my own time. You can increase the speed at which they play and test your luck with the leaderboards in the process, but let’s be honest, that’s not the real reason you buy a WarioWare game. Four-player mayhem is where this experience shines, distributing the havoc and delighting in its weirdness with likeminded individuals. Luckily, there’s a new mode that can help with that.
Party mode allows your troop to compete across a board game scenario. Roll the dice to be the first to the finish, competing in micro-games to see who bags the points and hopefully avoiding a few hidden pitfalls that can have you sent back the beginning (or worse). It’s like Snakes and Ladders, except you won’t see the snakes until you land on your space, while the micro-games keeps the pace at a steady level. I only briefly dabbled with this mode for review, but I can see it being the dominant mode to go to if you have a group to share it with. Having an actual objective is a captivating experience compared to simply sharing the joy-cons around and playing the games at your own pace. You can still do that, by all means there’s fun to be had in besting the high score, but given board games are the in thing right now, Party Mode is a welcome inclusion.
Outside of that, and this has always been a fault with WarioWare games, it’s a small package of included content. That’s kind of the point though, it’s not a game you spend hours of time with in one sitting. You come back on occasion, just as you would Mario Kart 8 or Mario Party, play a few quick rounds and move on. On that front, WarioWare: Move It! will fit in perfectly to the party rotation. More than that, Move It! is a far better way to sell the Switch’s motion controls. They still have their faults, there are a few games that don’t quite work as well as the majority, but it’s night and day better as an overall product compared to the ill-fated 1-2-Switch and its already forgotten sequel. I’m still confused as to why it took Nintendo to almost the end of the Switch’s life to get motion control in Wario’s hands, but it is what it is.
Maybe it’s just me, but Wario and unique controls just always work together so well. Whether that’s motion controls or otherwise, the micro-game concept works best when it bends the rules and plays with fun in ways so fast and silly you can’t help but enjoy it. WarioWare: Move it! gets that memo and runs with it, a collective party on a cartridge that’s far more fun to play with friends than solo, but still holds something to appreciate and find fun within no matter how you experience its weirdness.
Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher
- Intelligent Systems, Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
- November 3, 2023