WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii)

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WarioWare: Smooth Moves showcases the unique capabilities of the Wii in ways that only Wario could. Be prepared to shred important documents, perform gym squats, insert granny’s false teeth and even pick your nose in innovative, quirky but mostly fun mini-games.

The game does not have much of a storyline since it is mini-games but the story goes like this. Wario is sitting minding his own business one day when his piece of cake gets stolen (much in the same way that Kirby’s latest game begun with his strawberry shortcake getting swiped – coincidence? I think not.) after which he sets off in hot pursuit of the thieves, ending up in an ancient temple where he stumbles across the Form Baton, which looks suspiciously like the Wii Remote.

Getting started

The main game is divided into two modes, single player and multiplayer. Just to let you know that you will have to play through the single player mode before the multiplayer one is unlocked. To begin you can choose to register your Mii or select from one of the six default Miis which you will use throughout the game.

Players navigate around a map of Diamond City in single player mode and select a character to follow their whacky adventures. Each character has a unique type of game play as well as different mini-games. Players can look forward to meeting familiar faces such as Wario, Mona, Jimmy, 9-Volt, Orbulon, Dr Crygor as well as newcomers including Master Mantis, Penny Crygor and Young Cricket who just happens to be a Kung-Fu Trainee. Players select a character and follow the characters story in the mini-game, completing various tasks. If they are successful they will unlock additional mini-games and multiplayer options featuring the Smooth Moves colourful cast.

Retro stage rocks

As in other WarioWare titles the mini-games in 9-Volt’s stage are based on classic Nintendo games. This stage was my favourite because of familiar characters appearing from Super Mario Bros, Nintendogs, Zelda, Star Fox and Metroid Prime.

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You will notice from early on that the mini-games require you to use the Form Baton in various ways. There will be a short tutorial to introduce each move including the elephant, the big cheese, the waiter, the janitor and the Mohawk to mention a few. The Form Baton gives you special powers depending on your form, that is, the way you hold and moves the baton. For example, if you are prompted to use the Wii Remote as an umbrella, you simply emulate the action as you would in real life…hold it like an umbrella!

Balance Stone

Using the Wii’s functionality to the max, some games require you to hook up the Balance Stone (aka Nunchuck). This is where the men are separated from the boys and your coordination is tested. Sound easy? Well if you think you can do these mini-games sitting down, think again. Be prepared to get involved and jump around as you squat, jump, shake and boogie! To add a little mayhem to the mix each mini-game has to be completed within five seconds people! You will be given four ‘lives’ so don’t despair, but the games do get progressively harder and a few may prove to be a challenge to even a veteran gamer.

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Once you have unlocked the multiplayer mode, you can really start to have some fun. Unlike most multiplayer games on the Wii which you can use up to four Wii Remotes to play such as Wii Sports, you can only use one in this game. But the twist is that up to twelve people can play at one time with just one controller. What this does is simply add more confusion and excitement to an already insane experience! Passing the Wii Remote between four friends is a mini-game in itself…and don’t forget to put that safety chord on because one mini-game has been snuck in which actually requires you to drop the Wii Remote completely, testing your adherence to Nintendo’s safety regulations. It could be seen as a negative that there are no real simultaneous multiplayer mini-games.

Multiplayer modes

Within the multiplayer mode there are different games including in Survival Mode where one wrong move eliminates players from the game or two players can battle it out in Star Nose where one players uses the Wii Remote and the other the Nunchuck to fly a spaceship (shaped like a nose of course!) along a corridor, avoiding obstacles and the walls. Other multiplayer games include Darts, Lifeline, Balloon, Bomb and Bungee Buddies. Players can anticipate spotting their Mii characters in the mini-games, so be sure to keep your eyes out for them.

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The Wii Remote is superbly implemented and generally very responsive except when it comes to the Mortar and Pestle move. Despite this reviewer’s best efforts I could not master this one. May you have better luck and be sure to send me your trick if you figure it out. If you find it not detecting your moves you are probably rushing and not doing the move right so try again, but keep your eye on the clock at the same time…tick tock!

Lose your inhibitions

Smooth Moves is an easy pick-up-and-play game which does not require a large investment of time like Mario Party 8. The mini-games are very quick and controller swapping between friends keeps everyone involved. The funky moves are best enjoyed when the crowd loses its inhibitions and gets into the Wario fun zone. So be sure to make plenty of space to avoid unintentionally injuring your buddies as things can get surprisingly competitive. Also remember to always be on the lookout because watching your friends perform the wacky moves is a mini-game in itself and just as fun as playing.

Pros: Innovative and fun; pick-up-and-play; great multiplayer aspect; with over 200 mini-games replayability is high.

Cons: Mortar and Pestle move is impossible to master; no simultaneous multiplayer; no tortoise-balancing game.