Tuesday, May 15, 2007

WarioWare: Smooth Moves Review

      "Rule #3: Let go of your inhibitions."

      That's one of the first lines of text you're presented with upon starting WarioWare: Smooth Moves, and oh, how true it is! When you begin the game, you'll "pshaw!" it and try to pretend like Smooth Moves is going to be any of your typical emotionless games where you just sit your fat ass on a couch and mash on a controller. Nope, sorry. Wario's going to require you to get up and dance, (literally- my favorite of the 205 "microgames"), flap your arms, jump rope, hula, sprint in place, and even sword fight (second favorite).

      It's in the variety of microgames that WarioWare excels. One minute you'll be balancing a broom on your hand, the next minute you'll be shoving dentures into Grandma's mouth, and the next you'll be rapidly fanning a giant robot off a cliff. You'll shake ants off a banana, pick a nose, and grate a cell phone. The first couple times you play a microgame... It's almost magical. You've got just a few seconds to access the situation and execute the solution. Once you've played through a microgame a dozen or so times, though, it'll be fun, yeah, but lacks that new car smell that made it so great the first time around.

      What with there being 205 microgames, surely there are going to a few stinkers. And rest assured, there are. One has you moving a hole under a guy to make him fall through it, but it's almost insurmountably difficult merely to move the hole downward. It doesn't help that this is currently the most fickle Wii game I've played so far. If you aren't pointing directly at the sensor bar, your various on-screen avatars with flash and go completely unresponsive until you realign yourself. It's annoying. It's frustrating. It's infuriating. You will get angry.

      The typical reaction when either describing or showing off Smooth Moves to someone is "is that really fun?" And you can't really blame them. Watching someone sweep leaves for a couple seconds, then grind meat doesn't seem like a normal fun video game task. So you'll get them to try it out, and that's where good ol' Rule #3 comes out to play. When they start out, they'll be very apprehensive about how they look, reluctant to use the Wii Remote as a trunk or do ridiculous poses after boss stages. By the end, they'll be laughing and swinging their hips and looking like an idiot. It's awesome to sit back and watch the transformation.

      But on the subject of other people, multiplayer is where Smooth Moves falls a little flat. You can have up to 12 people crowded around a TV passing a single Wii Remote around playing microgames that don't really make sense in context of the multiplayer (but really, when did they ever?). There's no simultaneous multiplayer, just taking turns. And if you've got a large group together, you'll be waiting a little while to play. Not only that, but when you bring Smooth Moves to a friend's house, you'll need to beat the single-player campaign to unlock multiplayer. That's dumb. Now, the single-player campaign, while full of memorable moments, will only take you about an hour to an hour and a half to complete. This is bad. However, the lack of content is made up by the game's nature to lend itself to continued replay over time in short bursts.

      WarioWare: Smooth Moves has an interesting presentation. It's completely random and has a stylized and extremely varied art style. I'm not joking when I tell you I could reproduce faithful recreations of certain stages in Microsoft Paint. The story lines are totally unrelated to each other and have crazy cutscenes with simple, stylized graphics that work in the situation. The only problem is that while the random content and insane art style fit the gameplay, the cutscenes are short, but a little too long for their own good, causing your attention to gradually shift. When the delightfully lazy narrator describes each new Wii Remote position, using off-the-wall analogies like how holding the Remote like an umbrella lets you "channel the quiet dignity of a circus clown in the midst of a thunderstorm," you won't be able to help but laugh at how random and creative the developers got and won't be able to wait for the next position.

      WarioWare: Smooth Moves is definitely a fun game that has enough style and replay value to warrant a purchase. But only if you can follow Rule #3.
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1 comment:

  1. Good review, well-written.

    Again, I agree with this one. The game lacks content, but is great to show off the Wii's abilities and for quick bursts of fun.