Just the other day I was contemplating how I would feel if my mother walked in on me being intimate with my girlfriend. Horrified would probably be an understatement. I guess it would be a feeling of embarrassment. Those of you that have suffered such a terrible feat feel free to concur with me. See, thing is, although my mother has never caught me being “naughty” she has walked in on me playing Wario Ware Smooth Moves – and that day was a day when the word “horrified” felt like an understatement.
You see Wario Ware has always had you completing stupid, stupid tasks. However, in the days of the GBA, GameCube and (to some degree) the DS none of this was a physical action. With the Wii Remote however, Nintendo have been able to make things stupider and whackier than ever.
For those that have never played a Wario Ware game before it is a compilation of 5 or so second micro games that require small or singular actions to complete. For example, one such game on Smooth Moves has you making a running motion with your arm in order to get your on screen counterpart (an athlete) to reach the finish line before time runs out. Or you will be required to push the remote forward and into a giant polygonal nose before time runs out. All the actions will be prompted by a single word such as “Finish” (in relation to the running micro game) and “Pick” (in relation to the nose micro game). If you’ve never played a Wario Ware game before you are probably thinking this series sounds shallow and pointless. It’s not. It’s one of my favourite video game series’ to date. Fact.
Smooth Moves is the funniest, most embarrassing version of the series to date. Whether it has you dancing around the living room or hula-hooping you can ensure that you will laugh when you play this game. A helluva lot. In fact it’s one of those rare games that attempts to be funny and succeeds wonderfully. Most of the humour comes from the way you hold the remote which is not only immersive but also has you making crude actions with the whole of your body.
Each method of holding the remote is given a cheeky name such as “The Remote Control” (which has you holding the Wii Remote like a remote control) or “The Waiter” (which has you holding the remote flat on your hand) and more are taught to you as you progress through the game. You are told which position to hold the remote in before a micro game pops up and this means that as the levels come faster and faster you will find yourself twisting the remote about in your hands trying to hold it in the right position. While this can be pretty frantic the game does seem to lose a lot of the speed that was present in other versions of the game and while this is not a big problem it still leaves the game a little disappointing as pace is something that the Wario Ware series relies on.
However the range of forms are great and keep the game feeling incredibly fresh all the way through, something that other versions may well have lacked. You’ll constantly be unlocking new forms and new ways to hold the remote and with that are a collection of new and interesting micro games.
The Wii Remote is incredibly responsive throughout Smooth Moves and really shows off what the Wii is capable of in terms of motion sensing. While there are a couple of games that don’t feel quite right, this is heavily outweighed by the number of games that are unbelievably responsive and fun to play.
Smooth Moves follows a pretty shallow storyline that sees Wario discovering the “form baton” (which is the Wii Remote) and learning how to use it. You then can take around the city in which Wario inhabits and take control of different residents. Each time you pick a level you are treated to a nice little cartoon like introduction, teaching you more about the character. These introductions are beautifully presented with a fresh, colourful cartoon vibe.
Throughout the game also the visual style is constantly changing. Some areas of the game will be pixelated and simple; other areas will include graphics that look like they were drawn in MS Paint; and other areas will have beautiful 3D models and rich colours. It’s this mishmash that makes Wario Ware such an adventurous, innovative and good game.
Unfortunately due to the nature of the play in Wario Ware it all ends too quickly. You will be able to play through the story mode in under 2 hours or so if you are familiar with the formula of the Wario Ware games and unfortunately there is not much to offer in terms of unlocks. Sure the “Sudden Death” (how many micro games can you complete with only one life?) and “Thriller” (uber-fast) modes are on offer, but once you have set an unbeatably high score in everything chances are you won’t be coming back for more.
The minigames on offer (apart from Can Shooter) are on a whole particularly dull also and I feel Nintendo really missed a big opportunity to introduce some really quite addictive minigames. Also the fact that you can no longer revisit each individual microgame and set a high score for that really cuts down on the longevity as there is not nearly enough here to do once the story mode is over.
There is a multiplayer mode which is well put together and takes advantage of the nunchuck in order to allow multiplayer without two Wii Remotes but oddly the multiplayer mode cannot be used until the single player mode is completed. So those of you looking to buy a party game keep in mind you will have to see single player out before you can play multiplayer. However as mentioned above, this really isn’t a very big feat so shouldn’t be a problem.
The longevity issues with Wario Ware really piss on the fact that at heart it really is a very, very good game. The graphics are crisp and colourful, the sound is nostalgic and infectious and the controls are precise and intuitive. Alas how can I recommend a game that will last you a week at most? Then again how can I not recommend a game that is as well balanced and as fun as Smooth Moves? I hate being a reviewer.