WarioWare: Smooth Moves Preview

Ever since its inception, the relatively young WarioWare franchise has been somewhat of a Trojan horse for whatever new innovation Nintendo has been trying to push. The quirky and lightning-fast minigames (or microgames as they’re officially called) are a blast to play and not only reference to the company’s long history in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, but as of late they seem to serve a bigger role.

The first GBA game’s core gameplay was pretty straightforward and basically had you press the A button at crucial times in the minigame. Its sequel, WarioWare Twisted was a bit craftier in that it may as well be considered as a sort of prelude to the Wii, considering its built-in gyroscopic tilt sensors and movement-based gameplay. Finally, early in its lifespan the DS saw WarioWare Touched which was chock-full of little ways that taught the developers how to make use of the handheld’s touch screen. This time WarioWare: Smooth Moves will give players and developers alike a good taste of what to expect with the Wii.

A big part of the fun in WarioWare comes from rapidly thinking how to complete minigame after minigame. You only have about three seconds time and while it may be a bit of trial and error when you first play the game, correctly figuring it out in the nick of time also gives you immense satisfaction. As you become more familiar with the game, it’s still fairly challenging as after every 10 levels or so the game increases in difficulty and speeds up until your brain glitches and your fingers mess up.

This iteration of WarioWare sort of loses part of that sensation, as at the start of each minigame it shows you how to hold the controller. When a new controller holding style is introduced, the game even gives you a quick menu detailing the new method of gripping. While this definitely slows down the game’s speed the first time you play it, it’s probably one of those necessary evils as there are lots and lots of gripping styles and without giving a clue, the average player may feel lost and frustrated by the trial and error process.

While being strictly a 2D game in past installments – barring the occasional 3D object in Touched – the game now tackles things a bit differently. The title appears 2D as usual, but it’s actually 3D rendered to look 2-dimensional. This technicality doesn’t alter the game’s style all that much compared to its predecessors, but overall the game’s cartoony style is noticeably enhanced by Smooth Moves‘ new engine.

The minigames are incredibly diverse and have you performing the most random and bizarre trivial task. As a result they range from drinking a glass off water and closing a roller door to scrubbing a cow’s behind and shaking ants of a banana. Then there are the 9-Volt stages that have you re-enacting famous bits of Nintendo history such as pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal and fighting your way through a modified version of Starfox’s first level (now featuring ROB the infamous NES robot) as part of a Boss Battle.

Each of the game’s gripping styles has a name that makes it easier for the player to remember the way to hold the controller. Some of these are pretty obvious; others aren’t. The Chauffeur, for instance, has you holding the Wiimote like a driving wheel, and the Dumbbell style makes you hold it like the object it refers to. Others such as the Big Cheese and Diner form are less obvious to readily imagine. The former requires you to hold the controller like you would wield cutlery, and is the only gripping style that requires the Nunchuk, which is a bit of an odd move.

Regardless, it appears that the controller is perfectly suited to the series and even plays a major part in the game’s story, as far as WarioWare actually has a story, that is. In Smooth Move, Wario discovers the Form Baton in the ancient temple. Always up for some money-making, he puts it out on the market and it instantly becomes a craze in Diamond City.

If you’re currently thinking that this would be a great party game, you are most probably right. Luckily enough Nintendo has decided to include 7 multiplayer modes. Three of them play out like variations on the survival mode theme. Up to twelve players can play (by passing the Wiimote around) in the elimination mode: fail once and you’re out. Another survival mode variation has you play a minigame and once it’s completed, use a pump to blow up a balloon. The person who pops the balloon loses. The final take on the survival mode lets you see your Miis hanging across a watery area. After you’ve played a share of minigames you take turns cutting the ropes. The person with the most points won’t necessarily win, but he can cut more ropes than the other players. Up to five people can play these last two modes.

Another pass the remote mode also sounds particularly great. Before passing the remote the player gets to choose which gripping style the next player has to use, but if the selection process takes to long his Mii will explode, losing the game.

All things considered, it looks as though this installment will once again fit the hardware it’s running on like a smooth velvety glove. With around 200 crazy minigames and many diverse ways of solving them, it seems you’re bound to get a bang for your buck. Add in some diverse and hectic multiplayer modes and you’ve got yourself a title that will stick to your Wii like superglue.



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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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