With its outstanding use of the Wii controller and its ultra-fast paced game play, WarioWare Smooth Moves is probably one of the more solid titles on the Wii.
What's not to love? Bright, pretty colors, catchy music, funny characters and that certain, very distinguishable Japanese flair almost make WarioWare Smooth Moves from Nintendo worth it without even picking up the controller. When you do, though, you'll find yourself situated in a whole new world of gaming. Filled with speed, agility, quick thinking and a lot of laughter, WarioWare is, first and foremost, a game made specifically for FUN.
The start menu is a bunch of fun all in itself. You'll probably find yourself messing with Wario's mustache and checking out all the different pictures behind the Wii controller for a good fifteen minutes before guiding the cursor over to the start button. Clicking Start, the first thing you'll notice is a horrifying revelation: WHERE IS THE MULTIPLAYER? That's right, kiddies: it needs to be unlocked; multiplayer is not available out of the box. Worry not! I guarantee you'll be throwing the controller about the room within the day.
The game presents itself in a wholly hand-drawn manner, as all of the locations, characters and even the cutscenes are animated. This, however, is not a downfall: it works, and it works extremely well. The characters, while only slightly animated, have such life in just the way that they are presented with exuberant colors and different styles. You may find yourself getting attached to a character or even laughing your way through their individual stories.
Each section of minigames is set up identical to previous WarioWare games, meaning that you select a character, and that character serves as your stage. The difference between this WarioWare and the others is that it takes place in a city, called Diamond City, and each character has a whole location to go along with it. The single player game involves the player looking down on Diamond City and selecting a location/character.
Initially, you'll get a short story about Wario and "The Form Baton" (which looks curiously like a Wii Remote), which will thrust you into your first round of minigames. You may be thinking, "What!? How do I even use this thing?" Worry not, as a calm and collected, if not completely bonkers, instructor will come onto the screen and show you how to hold the remote for certain positions, complete with some rather odd commentary on the subject. From there, the minigames are a fast-paced combination of flashing the form you'll be using about two seconds before the games start, which last for three. All in all, each game lasts about five seconds.
Think you're out of the woods yet? Just like the previous games, the minigame stages become faster as you pass the middle of the game. This in turn lowers the time spent in minigames down to about three and a half seconds; all the while swinging the remote, or popping balloons, or shaving, or any other combination of traditionally wacky WarioWare games.
On the negative side, some of the minigames are pretty hard, while others are downright impossible. Not because you aren't given enough time, but because while the game may show you the Form to use, it doesn't tell you what you should do during the minigame! This is ordinary for the game to not tell you what to do, but for some of the games you stand there dumbfounded, losing a life and feeling slightly embarrassed, especially in a room full of people.
Every time you clear a stage, a minigame pops up somewhere in Diamond City. By minigame, I literally mean it: a stage devoted completely to a single minigame, whether it be bouncing balls on a paddle, or balancing falling blocks on the palm of your hand. These stages are set up in levels, starting at level 1 and going to 10, progressively getting harder. Which these offer somewhat of a deviation from the madness of the minigames, they simply just do not compare. You'll find yourself bored of them quickly, and running over to Ashley's House for more of the minigame extravaganza.
Unfortunately, though, you'll find it ending all too soon. The main storyline for the single player game is unnervingly short, leaving you wanting loads more. However, there are some new stages that unlock when you finish the game, including some never seen before stages and some more independent minigames. Still, it is rather disappointing how short the game really is.
If there is a section where Smooth Moves really shines, it's in multiplayer. At the start, you'll have the multiplayer game called "Survival". From there you'll load your profile, coupled with your Mii, and head into the game with up to 15 others, all sharing one Wii Remote. Each of the Miis will be transformed into angels before your very eyes, and the minigames begin. The first player is selected at random. "Survival" runs exactly how it sounds: complete the minigame, or your angel falls from the sky.
Later, you'll unlock other multiplayer modes, including "Lifeline", which involves a footrace of fast paced scored minigames followed by the cutting of lifeline ropes. Multiplayer mode is probably where the rest of your WarioWare career will be spent, offering countless hours of fun and madness, with loads of enjoyment surrounded by family and friends.
Gameplay: 10 Without a doubt, this game utilizes the Wii Remote much better than any other game out there. The sensitivity of the Remote is so high that even the slightest movements register in game. Just remember to have your Sensor Bar configured correctly, or you may end up swearing at the television when you fail a minigame.
Graphics: 8 While they aren't the best graphics in the world, they certainly have their own look and feel, as only a Nintendo game can pull off.
Sound: 7 The music is catchy enough, but sometimes there are just way too many sound effects happening at one time. Perhaps this was on purpose to help distract players from the goal of the minigame, but I often found it annoying.
Value: 8 As stated, the single player game will leave you wanting more. Multiplayer is definitely where it's at with this game, and you'll enjoy many, many hours tossing the controller around the room.
Curve: 8 The game tells you HOW, but it doesn't tell you WHAT. This is not bad, except for those few games that you just can't figure out. However, it's easy enough for anyone to just pick up and play.