WarioWare: Move It! Is a return to form for a series that I didn’t even know needed one. 2021’s Get it Together! Was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t until playing the newest title in the series that I realised that it was somehow missing the madcap fun of the Wii-era Smooth Moves game. Because let’s be clear about it: WarioWare Move It! Is a sequel to Smooth Moves in all but name, and that’s a very good thing. This means a full return to motion controls, as well, and to those that like to ignore the rules and not use the wrist straps, Nintendo has got you cornered this time, as even that is a requirement for some micro-games.
Wario has won a holiday for him and all his “friends”, because he ate 50 garlic burgers, and on this tropical paradise, there are things called “form stones”. I have to give immense credit to the developers at Nintendo for constantly coming up with ways of shoehorning it’s actual controllers into a game somehow, because the Joy-Cons are the form stones, and there are numerous forms you need to take to play out the massive collection of micro-games WarioWare: Move It! includes. As usual you’ll play through a series of micro-games at an increasing pace to get to a boss level which is more involved, and then move onto the next story mission.
Starting out easy enough, you’ll learn Choo-Choo (hold them like your arms are a steam train), or Sky Stretch (pull ups, sort of), and more, but you’ll quickly be barrelling through the levels and be acting like a bird eating worms using the Ba-KAW form, and god forbid anyone walks past your window when doing this, but wiggling your “tail” as Mario in Super Mario Bros 3 to fly along safely. You’ll act out tug-of-war style motions, squat to catch a fish between your legs in Thigh Fishing; pull the tights off someone’s head; waddle like a penguin; fan your friends as they pirouette, and so many others it’s hard to even recount a list of favourites. You will even have to drop the Joy-Cons in some cases for certain forms, and then hurriedly pick them back up to be ready for the next game. Make no mistake, you will use your ass in WarioWare: Move It!.
And I don’t mean you will be physically active, though that is definitely something the game demands. “Buttograph” uses the Squat form factor, and requires you to draw a line with your bum. There’s lots of that kind of thing, and it’s all very WarioWare in nature. Playing in our household with teenagers and parents, there was rarely a mini-game that didn’t extract some form of laughter from someone. Even the introductions to the forms themselves feature a mannequin that has a very clearly defined derriere. It’s a treat on the eyes, ears, and ass, apparently.
All of this is playable in two-player, where you’ll take turns doing a micro-game, then do one together, and when this happens, the actual action is altered to react to the two-player nature; even in boss fights. Should you fail an attempt, the next player can get your life back by having a go, and if everyone fails, you’re given one more chance to continue by copying an almost yoga-like pose on the screen.
I make no apology for loving the art style, voice work, and purposefully childish design of the micro-games and visuals on offer. It isn’t going to change your mind if you’ve seen a WarioWare title in action and found it to be too silly for you. I love this kind of thing, and I adore that games are being released by major first-party publishers where you have to essentially make yourself look like a bird sucking up a worm from the ground. If there’s a negative to the main game it’s that it’s really quite important to be playing standing up with some room to manoeuvre. It’s not impossible to play sat down, but it varies form-to-form on whether it works well or not. Also, some of the games require you to fail first, in order to understand what needs doing, as they’re less intuitive than others. With the sheer volume of micro-games and ideas on show, it’s not the end of the world, but you will find some of them a tad confusing at first.
But there’s so much here, as a package. The main story mode offers a two-player adventure, but Party Mode is an unexpected addition. Up to four people can play this, and you have Mario Party style boards to progress through. It’s like the culmination of everything WarioWare has done before, but combined with Mario Party. You roll dice and move along the board, doing minigames as you would in a Mario Party title. The winner gets the roll the next die. Then, just when you think you’ve got the prize locked, something will happen like the entire board game reversing and the person who is about to get to the end is now at the start, and the person who hasn’t managed to win a game and move at all is suddenly one away from winning. Like I say, it’s very Mario Party, in that it’ll cheat you suddenly, but is a huge amount of fun anyway.
It’s difficult to know what more Nintendo could do to make a WarioWare game in 2023. It’s so much fun with friends and family, and feels so creative, and silly. It reminds me in some ways of Pikmin 4 earlier this year, in that it’s almost a Hail Mary of a game. There’s so much fun to be had, it feels like Nintendo saying “if you don’t play this, then let’s forget about it”, and it even makes use of the IR sensor in the Joy-Cons. It makes use of all the motion controls on offer, and it really is a hilarious, bonkers game that shouldn’t be missed, and the best WarioWare title since Smooth Moves and the earlier handheld titles.
So many micro-games
Motion controls are great fun
Looks and sounds brilliant
Some confusing minigames