The Wii was pretty much a perfect console for Nintendo’s WarioWare series. The original WarioWare on GameBoy Advance essentially broke video games down to their bare minimum, and turned them into a series of five second punchlines. From there, the series took the concept to new heights by messing with Nintendo’s hardware itself.
WarioWare Twisted (more than likely the high point of the series) had players turning their GBAs upside down and rotating the handheld in order to complete its micro-games with motion sensing. WarioWare: Touched similarly took advantage of the Nintendo DS’ touch controls and dual screens. So when Nintendo’s Wii console was promised to focus on motion controls, and serve as a popular platform for party games, WarioWare was more than an inevitability.
It should be said then that WarioWare: Smooth Moves, though not the most inventive entry in the series, is an appropriately fun party game, and even provides a good time simply by watching others play.
As you might expect, Smooth Moves continues the WarioWare tradition of throwing successions of five second-long micro-games at players, which each game providing a simple word or title to give players an idea of what simple action is required to succeed to the next micro-game.
The hook here is the Wii remote. WarioWare: Smooth Moves took full advantage of the Wii’s innovative controller for both fun and laughs.
There are different “genres” of micro-games here, each of which asks the players to hold the Wii remote in different ways. Some games simply have players pointing the Wii remote forward, others might have them holding it sideways like a traditional controller. Then there are those that are purposefully annoying, like setting the Wii remote still on a flat surface, only to pick it back up a second later, or ones that insist you point the Wii remote forward while tilting it sideways with your thumb and forefinger. Others still simply want to make players look like idiots, like holding the Wii remote in front of your nose like an elephant’s trunk (obviously, you don’t have to hold the remote in such ways, but it defeats the purpose otherwise).
Simply put, it’s hard not to have a smile beaming across your face while playing WarioWare: Smooth Moves. This is especially true when playing with friends with local multiplayer, and seeing how quickly everyone can react to the jokes on-screen, and how willing they are to embarrass themselves at the game’s beck and call.
Playing single player may not be quite as satisfying on the long term, however. WarioWare is simply a series that was tailor made for handhelds, at least where single player is concerned. It’s definitely a fun time, but when bringing WarioWare to home consoles, it seems like the party atmosphere brings out the fullest in the game. The quick-fix nature of the series seems best in the short bursts of a handheld play session, or as a way to entertain a group of friends. Playing WarioWare by one’s self on a home console can only hold your interest for so long.
Smooth Move retains the series’ usual aesthetics, which means it’s aesthetically unusual. Purposefully cheap animations accompany the cinematics, while the micro-games can range from crude to fancy to literal replications of Nintendo games from the NES era to the GameCube.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves may not reach the creative heights of Twisted, but it remains a truly great party game nine years on, and it’s easily the best home console entry in the series. Playing it alone may give you small bursts of fun, but if you have a party of friends over to play Smooth Moves, then it will be a party indeed.