|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.15, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: E 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Since his meager beginnings as the end boss in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Wario has intrigued players and has garnered a dedicated fanbase. This often self-centered and always greedy character has starred in several great two-dimensional (2-D) platform jumping games from the spinach green Game Boy (GB) through the Game Boy Advance (GBA). Wario even made a memorable stop on the ill-fated Virtual Boy.
When Nintendo decided to take Wario games in a different direction, I was understandably concerned. That was, at least, until I played WarioWare for the first time. It was a completely original idea in its day. Take hundreds of five-second microgames and make the participants play through them at incrementally increasing speeds. Nintendo and Wario haven't looked back since, with two hit sequels on the GBA and DS. WarioWare: Smooth Moves keeps this hectic microgame insanity coming. This time however, Wario takes his hit series to a home console instead of a portable system.
WarioWare games, in the past, have not been known for their engrossing storylines. This game is no different. It begins in Diamond City, where an ancient civilization has left a form baton (Wii-mote) in a temple. Many years in the future, Wario stumbles across this temple and finds the artifact. Since he lives his life by the "finders keepers" mentality, he refuses to return the form baton to its rightful owners. Basically, the storyline just serves as a farfetched, often nonsensical, reason to play through the game's over 200 microgames. Fortunately, the WarioWare franchise wasn't built by its story, but rather by its gameplay.
Similar to WarioWare: Touched and its introduction of the diverse ways to use the DS' touch-screen controls, Smooth Moves acts as a tutorial for the Wii's motion-sensing controller. The microgames in Smooth Moves will have you using the Wii-mote in almost every way imaginable. Each microgame is prefaced by a picture that shows exactly how you should hold the Wii-mote. These different positions are called forms. In all, there are 19 different forms to learn. These forms range from handling the controller like a remote, to more interesting uses, like holding it on your nose or wearing it on your head. Each form is unique and presents you with a wide variety of different challenges.
The sheer number of microgames and the vast diversity of crazy objectives to complete will consistently keep you on your toes. One second you will be holding the Wii-mote at your side while revolving an onscreen hula hoop and the next, the Wii-mote will be on the end of your nose while collecting apples with an elephant trunk. Some microgames are better than others, but all are incredibly entertaining. My favorite microgames come from the 9-Volt level. All of these games are based on older Nintendo games. Most of Nintendo's major franchises are represented, including Mario, Metroid, Zelda, and many more. Perhaps, the most satisfying being the Starfox microgames. Players will fly an Arwing by holding the Wii-mote like a steering wheel. While soaring, you will combat ground and air enemies, with a final boss battle with ROB the robot.
Aside from microgames, the WarioWare series is best known for its quirky presentation and Smooth Moves doesn't change that formula. Levels and characters are introduced through cartoons that have a look similar to that of South Park. Microgame visuals range from 2-D hand-drawn graphics to 3-D polygonal models and backgrounds. Each one is full of odd looking characters, objects, and backgrounds that make this game feel completely different from almost any other game in existence. All of the graphical choices work well as you jump from one task to the next, desperately trying to stay alive. Smooth Moves even incorporates Miis into many of its microgames, making everyone's games look different. This game's odd gameplay experiences are also enhanced by its excellent sound. As the game speeds up, so will the music. The pace of the music, strange sound effects, and random shouts from characters help to make the game seem increasingly frantic.
All of the previous WarioWare games have appeared on portable systems. As such, they were heavily focused on an enjoyable single-player experience. While Smooth Moves still offers a great single-player experience, it is clearly meant for a crowd. The only thing better than having your friends and family watching you wave your arms around like you are having a seizure is having them participate in the madness. Smooth Moves offers several different multiplayer games that will have between two and twelve of your acquaintances looking like spastic fools while enjoying every minute of it. If the microgames become too hectic, you can even take a break and play a few games of virtual darts.
Smooth Moves is an excellent addition to any Wii library. While the story mode only takes a few hours to complete, unlocking all of the microgames and pose cards can add several more hours of gameplay. Add in some unlockable mini-games and excellent multiplayer modes, and you have an entertaining experience that will keep you and your friends coming back for more. Just make sure that you don't accidentally injure yourself or others while flailing in glee.
CCC Freelance Writer