My two favorite WarioWare games were those that went outside the box in giving us microgames that made the most of the system they were on. Twisted! utilized a special gyro sensor cartridge to have games respond to your movements, creating both a fun and innovative experience. Smooth Moves! also showed us dozens of ways we could use the Wii remote and made for a unique party game that made you want to get up and move. These games showed us that if the series wants to keep getting better, it has to come up with new ways to keep us engaged.
Move It! does just that and gives us even more of that wacky WarioWare-brand of humor we’ve come to love over the years but also brings the series back to its usual style. Instead of experimenting with its format like it did it in Get it Together! a few years ago, this installment relies on the motion control qualities of the Switch’s Joy-Cons to offer us plenty of fun and weird ways to play with our friends.
Moving and Grooving to Win
- Ingenious use of Switch and Joy-Con technology
- More than 200 microgames that are hilarious and fun to play
- Lots of co-op and multiplayer modes make it the ideal party game
- Finicky motion controls don’t always register in time
- Joy-Cons sometimes need to recalibrated when things get hectic onscreen
You could describe WarioWare: Move It! as a successor to Smooth Moves! Both games utilize motion controls and require you to get up and do things with your body to fully clear the microgames you are faced with. This means the game is great for anyone who may not consider themselves a gamer as it offers an accessible way to be part of the fun. Of course, by no means does that make the game easy, as it does require you to learn each microgame’s requirements and be quick to meet them before time runs out.
Playing through the game’s Story Mode introduces you to the game’s plot, which by WarioWare standards, is nonexistent but merely shows off the cast as they travel to a resort island and get into all kinds of hijinks. Each character’s level you play through also introduces you to a new form for you to master. Similar to those in Smooth Moves!, these forms are the stances you’ll need to take when a microgame starts as that dictates how you’ll complete each one.
For instance, the Sky Stretch form has you lifting your arms in the air and the Gift Giver has you opening your hands facing up and placing the Joy-Cons in them. This means one minute you’ll be moving your arms around to match the hands on a clock while the next minute you’ll be stirring your hands to melt some ice in a glass. Don’t forget, these microgames last about five seconds so they are, indeed, micro in size, but because levels will throw you microgame after microgame, you’ll have to constantly shift forms and remember how to clear each one.
That’s the basis for each microgame—know what you have to do and do it quickly—and most modes you play through will run you through a spree of them in a row until you lose all your lives. Like past games, the more you play through a mode, the faster the microgames will get forcing you to speed up your reaction time. This is fine when you’re playing through Story Mode for the first time, but if you continue playing additional modes or replay the story levels, games will start going too fast for the Switch to keep up. You may know what to do right away, but your Joy-Con placement may not fully reset between modes or your movement may not fully register. This won’t always happen, but the Achilles’s heel of any motion control game is iffy calibration so because you’re changing the placement of your Joy-Cons microgame after microgame, be prepared for some frustration.
A Catalog of Laughs
WarioWare Move It!’s microgames may not all be winners when unresponsive controls get in the way, but its generous catalog of microgames is sure to tickle your funny bone and keep you and your friends entertained for a long time.
The microgames themselves, however, are a delight even if they do just last a few seconds. One minute you’ll be whacking tentacles while avoiding electric ones and the next you’ll need to follow along a dance and move your hands and feet in goofy ways. Shame has no room here, so you will have a plethora of nonsensical gestures to complete and characters to meet as you play through the game’s 200+ microgames. What adds to their success is that the forms the game throws your way make full use of almost everything the Switch can offer.
There’s also a form called Hand Model that utilizes the Joy-Cons underutilized IR sensor to capture your hand’s shape. This form, while innovative considering how rare it is the camera is used in Switch games, can be hard to execute as your hand has to be in the right line of sight for the game to know what shape you’re making. I often lost at a rock-paper-scissors microgame because the camera wouldn’t read the shape I was making in time. When you’re aiming for a high-score and things are speeding up, it really feels like a low blow when you lose your streak for something that wasn’t your fault.
Playing with more than one person is an even better experience as many games offer co-op options for you to both complete together. Sometimes you’ll both be using the same form, but some microgames also have you doing your own movements like in one game where one of you places a postcard in front of the other for that player to stamp. One game also has one player shining a flashlight on the screen to light the way for the other player to land safely while avoiding traps. During certain modes, if one of you fails a microgame, the other player can try to do it to save you both from losing a life.
The ideal local multiplayer game, Move It! features plenty of modes that are for two to four players. One mode lets one of you do the microgame while the other player has to do a mini workout to keep the screen visible. There’s even a special game you can unlock where two players can play a bullet hell that has you shooting dirty pots and pans with water to wash the grime off them. These modes are not all cooperative either, as you can also face off each other in a race to see who can complete microgames the fastest. Another one also feels like the game’s answer to cardio as it features fast-moving microgames that encourage high intensity movements and a lot of reps. If beating high scores and watching your friends squirm is your idea of a good time, Move It! doesn’t disappoint.
It’s also exceptionally hilarious and combines the motion-control gameplay of Smooth Moves! with some ingenious Switch technology. Get some friends and one or two pairs of Joy-Cons and you can pretty much laugh at yourselves while you squat, jump, and put your hands together to unclog a toilet. Move It!’s microgames may not all be winners when unresponsive controls get in the way, but its generous catalog of microgames is sure to tickle your funny bone and keep you and your friends entertained for a long time.
Giancarlo Saldana | Gamepressure.com