WarioWare Smooth Moves Review
|Genre:||Action / Party Game|
|Release Date:||January 12th, 2007 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||James Barlow (Malis)|
WarioWare: Smooth Moves is the latest in Nintendo's WarioWare franchise - a series that has proved surprisingly successful for Nintendo to date, offering fast and crazy action for both solo and group players. While in essence WarioWare is only a mini-game collection, it proves rewarding and fun to play on the Wii, while simultaneously showing off the true potential of the Wii remote.
Mini-game is perhaps too generous for the fleeting hiccups of action that define WarioWare. With games usually lasting under five seconds, micro-game is a much more appropriate moniker. Indeed, the format of levels in WarioWare is simple - play through a series of micro-games with four lives. Lose a game and you lose a life - clear a set amount of stages and you'll be whisked off to an extended 'boss' mini-game.
If it sounds ridiculous, that's because it is. As you're thrust into each game, part of the challenge is working out what to do and how to do it - all within a tight time limit. Progress further and games become harder and faster requiring increasing dexterity and concentration. As the tension piles up and you get into the rhythm of the game, those scant seconds of play-time start to feel like an energetic eternity, believe me.
Of course, the real focus of this Wii iteration of the series is in the Wii controls, and no realm has been left unexplored when it comes to uses of the revolutionary controller. The way to hold the remote for each game is governed by 'forms,' stances or poses in which you hold the Wii remote. These can range from the basic 'remote control' to things like the 'umbrella' (remote held vertical) and the big cheese (hands on hips like a dictator). There's even a discard form where you must put the remote down and pick it up again at the right time.
Whether it be using it as broom, sword, bird wings, bicycle pedals or hula hoop, the Wii proves astonishingly adept and smooth at recognising different actions. Of course, like any Wii game the controls can be in essence broken down to movements along the various axis, so the more you put in the more rewarding it will be. Squatting, for example, asks you to hold the Wii at your hips and squat merrily away. The same effect could be reproduced by simply moving the controller up and down, but it's a lot more fun to do as the descriptions for each micro-game instruct. One effect I found particularly impressive was the ability for the Wii remote to seemingly detect fingers tapping on the remote itself.
Micro-games are skilfully built to creatively push the Wii controls. One extended boss mini-game sees you use the remote as an extension of your hand, and requires you to copy some groovy hand based dance moves. Games are many and varied, ranging from the simple (like pushing someone over) to the more complicated (driving a car around and dodging monkeys). The only real universal factor between them all is that they're incredibly fun. It's a sad man who doesn't leave a WarioWare session without some form of deranged grin on his face.
It's difficult to describe and judge the graphics for WarioWare, simply because of the melting point of styles and designs on display. Graphics are always appropriate for each micro-game, so one level may see you controlling pixel sprites, while the other may see you in command of a four second sequence from Zelda Windwaker on the GameCube. Certainly the hub and story graphics are beautifully realised in chunky 2D cartoon.
These cartoons help tie together the shaky story of WarioWare. Each level is actually an self-contained story chapter on a hub world-map. While the story and intro cartoon to each level really hold little substance other than to book-end each collection of games, they are both charming, amusing and crisp to look at. Progress through each stage and you unlock more levels, as well as bonus fully fledged mini-games like can shooting (addictive) and a crazy Tetris-style block stacking game (fiendish). Once you've finished the main stroy levels, there's plenty of challenges to do and levels of WarioWare really lends themselves to repeated high-score attempts (completed stages become infinite length endurance tests). If you're still after more to do, there's always the freshly unlocked multi-player mode.
Yes, multi-player is annoyingly absent out of the box, only available once the main story levels are finished. While WarioWare is great fun to watch it's a shame that you're forced to play through the single-player game before you can experience the full multi-player aspect. Once you've got past this gripe though, multi-player provides some excellent hot-potato style game-play. Nintendo have restricted the controls to one remote only, presumably to stop the chaos and safety issues that would erupt from four people all flapping their arms like birds at once. It initially seems slightly cheap attempt at sociable gaming, but this is quickly forgotten due to one simple fact - it's bloody good fun. Whether it's the full darts game included, survival mode, or the mad game of life-line (earn points to avoid being eaten by crocodiles later...it'll make sense when you play it) WarioWare: Smooth Moves is a hoot to play with friends. There's even a couple of two-player games that allow simultaneous play by each player holding one of a Wii remote and Nunchuk.
WarioWare is a short, mad collection of micro-games that's both shorter and madder than a drunken Scotsman. All this means nothing though, when you boil the game down to it's core ingredient - fun. Just how much laughter and fun you get out of this depends on your sense of humour and your friends - one of which you can do something about, the other you can't. Regardless of this, WarioWare is an accessible game for everyone, and the implementation of Wii controls gives some positive signs for the future of Nintendo's new console. How can anyone not like a game where one of the tasks is to shake ants off a banana and feed it to a gorilla?
- Wii controls implemented superbly
- Great, great fun, especially with friends
- Cartoon style is excellent
Not so good stuff
- Single-player is quite short level-wise
- Multi-player needs to be unlocked
- Perhaps too crazy for some