I’d never really meshed with the WarioWare games until I’d played Smooth Moves on the Wii back in 2004. It was a fun game that made fantastic use of the Wii Remote’s unique capabilities. Since then, WarioWare games have really done great work in utilising the uniqueness of the platform they appear on, but none have really matched Smooth Moves for both ingenuity and fun. Game & Mario felt like it should’ve been a pack-in for the Wii U. WarioWare: Get It Together was fun for a while but kind of missed the point. Now, with WarioWare: Move It!, we’ve finally got the follow-up to Smooth Moves that I’ve always wanted, and it’s an absolute joy to play.
There is of course a wacky premise in this game too. Wario and his group wins tickets to Caresaway Island after ordering a gargantuan number of garlic burgers in Diamond City. They travel to the island, are welcomed by the locals and are offered Form Stones. They look just like Joy-Cons, and Wario isn’t really interested in them until he discovers they can bring good luck. Each of the group then embarks on their own little journey on the island to use the Form Stones to bring themselves good luck. I recognise that a WarioWare game doesn’t need a story but can absolutely still respect the hustle from Intelligent Systems on display here.
If you’re new to the series, WarioWare games are collections of minigames that often encourage players to act frantically. The big difference with WarioWare against other compilations is that the minigames themselves are often extremely short, lasting a few seconds at best. The genius with these microgames is two-pronged. Their erratic nature creates funny situations in the room, and their brevity means people don’t have time to let inhibition set in. It’s really just a stupid simulator, but you’re the one who’s playing the lead role.
The result is what many people considered so endearing about the Wii era. It’s simple to play and fun to see a room full of people waving around peripherals. Playing Move It! Really reminded me of the fun I had playing WarioWare: Smooth Moves on the Wii, and it’s great to see this style of gameplay return after Get It Together eschewed it a few years ago. Move It! really is magical – there were so many people in my room playing who I would never have expected to physically behave like a chicken. But after playing Move It!, those same people were clucking and pecking at imaginary worms better than anyone else.
Move It! is split into two modes. Story Mode is the first, and tasks Wario and his friends with completing microgames while assuming various forms. Each of the microgames presents the form you should take before it begins. Each chapter culminates in a boss battle that takes a few minutes rather than a few seconds. Story Mode is compatible with one or two players, and each player holds a Joy-Con in each hand. Having dual Joy-Cons for each player means that most of the motion sensing is accurate, which is a smart choice.
While the microgames are all fun, the boss battles in Story Mode are easily the highlight here. The first one has you using hammers to defeat a Wario-looking octopus by bashing its tentacles or hitting projectiles back at it. Another boss has you holding your arms to the sky, equipped with imaginary matches trying to light a cannon while the boss tries to throw water at your flames. They’re very zany situations that really make great use of the Joy-Cons’ motion controls, something that not a lot of games do on the Switch as well as on previous Nintendo systems.
Party Mode is a lot more straightforward but still just as fun. It supports up to four players and features various modes with differing objectives. In Party Mode, each player holds a single Joy-Con and can engage in a variety of activities. These minigames are a little bit more curated, as single Joy-Cons don’t provide as accurate a motion as a pair does in the story mode, but they’re still fun. I just wish the option were provided to kit out each player with two Joy-Cons, but I recognise it might be tough to get eight Joy-Cons in a room in a party situation.
Each of the Party Modes has a unique twist put on it. The first, Galactic Conquest, is like a warped version of Mario Party where each player takes a turn, plays a microgame, and then moves a certain number of spaces depending on how well they did. The second, Listen To The Doctor!, has players taking turns but has a doctor giving actions for the players to perform while they complete their microgame. I had to howl like wolf while I was pretending to be a chicken to peck a worm out of a hole, for example. The room then votes on how well you followed the doctors ordered before moving on to the next player. The player voted to follow the doctor most wins.
Another has a group of four people running on the spot to sneak up on a crudely-drawn Medusa, requiring them to freeze whenever she looks at them to make sure they don’t become petrified. The twist here is that each player is given obstacles to overcome by playing microgames, and each microgame can be interrupted anytime by Medusa to make players freeze. The first player to reach Medusa and slay her wins.
The fourth mode simply pits four players against each other in an endurance round. The last one standing wins. The fifth is bizarrely engaging – the group splits into teams of two and must complete a series of microgames. At the beginning of each round, one of the team members’ controllers will vibrate to indicate that player is in control while the other player in the team has to imitate them to trick the other players into thinking they’re in control. It’s up to the opposing team to work out which team member is actually controlling the action. It’s a hilarious game because you’ll be watching your teammate to try and imitate their actions and, obviously, it can be tough given how fast and erratic the microgames are.
The microgames themselves are good value too. They’re all, once again, very zany and out there with the things you’re asked to do. You might be tasked to pluck nose hairs with the longest one winning. Others have you waving a massive fan to blow the wool off a sheep. Others take small segments from other Nintendo games, too. You might play as a chicken and try to steer yourself away from Link in a segment lifted from Ocarina of Time 3D. Or have to stop and crouch at the right spot as Samus in Metroid Dread to pull off a shinespark. These are always my favourite aspects of WarioWare, the sheer randomness of it all, and Move It! does not disappoint in that department. You can even go back and play your favourites in other modes or even play microgames that only use a particular pose, if you happen to have a favourite.
Visually, Move It! looks about as good as it needs to. The fully-voiced cutscenes that play in the Story Mode are bright, vibrant and full of character. It’s a well-presented game that has had a whole lot more time and effort put into it than I’d ever expected. On the topic of Wario himself, this is the first WarioWare game to not feature Charles Martinet in the role. Wario’s voice sounds just as it did before, so the change doesn’t feel jarring whatsoever, especially given how much Wario speaks in the game’s story mode.
While WarioWare: Move It! isn’t going to blow as many minds as Nintendo’s other releases have this year, it should still not be discounted for the fact that it’s some of the most fun you can have in a room of people with your Switch. It’s a real return to form (pun intended) for the game and the follow-up to Smooth Moves that I’ve been longing for over fifteen years. While I’m nowhere near as fit as I was then, I am still having just as much fun with it.
WarioWare: Move It! is a return to form (pun intended) for the WarioWare series that feels long overdue. It cleverly utilises the unique capabilities of the Joy-Con in ways that haven’t been done before, all while remaining both endearing and funny. While the simplicity of Party Mode is both its greatest strength and weakness, WarioWare: Move It! is easily WarioWare at its best and the most fun you’ll have looking goofy.
Great Variety Of Funny Microgames
Strong Mix Of Solo And Co-Op Options In Story Mode