WarioWare: Move It! Review

WarioWare: Move It!

It feels like pretty much the perfect time for a tropical getaway, doesn’t it? Well, that’s certainly what Wario thinks, as he heads off to Caresaway Island (reluctantly taking the whole WarioWare gang with him) for some fresh waggle-infused shenanigans in WarioWare: Move It!

That’s right, motion controls are back for WarioWare: Move It, after the more straightforward button-first microgame action of WarioWare: Get It Together. Move It takes plenty of inspiration from the Nintendo Wii’s Smooth Moves, which came out around that console’s launch in 2006, but spruces up the motion controlled action and takes advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con.

Similar to Smooth Moves, the menagerie of WarioWare characters quickly discover the power of magic Joy-Con-alike stones, using them for all kinds of daft situations and escapades. That, as is always the case for this series, leads you to playing through dozens of quickfire microgames, each of which lasts just a few seconds. You always have a very direct, singular task, whether it’s wiggling to disguise yourself from a prowling shark, trying to block up gigantic nostrils, powering a train engine into a station, or drawing a shape with your butt.

Every microgame starts off by telling which stance to start with, and you have to figure things out from there. Hands on hips, up by your face, held together like the hilt of a sword or for pulling a rope, on your thighs for squats, or set down on the ground ready for you to pounce, they’re all very easy to grasp and replicate. Each one is introduced for the first time you encounter them by a visual and audio description of the pose, as well as key instructions for Joy-Con orientation – weirdly, for a Hawaii-like island setting, these intros come with distinctly Western cowboy backing music.

WarioWare Move It! Choo-choo train game

However, you’ll rarely be prepared for what it then asks you to do from that pose and quickly have to figure it out. You could be jumping from a squat, just as easily as you are copying a sumo wrestler’s moves. You could be posing for a camera from the Fashionista pose, or swinging one hand to rope a chicken with a lasso. Add to that modifiers where you might need to drop a Joy-Con, press buttons (either in general or specifically), and a pose that uses the right Joy-Con’s IR sensor, and there’s tons of creative microgames found in this bundle.

The story mode does a great job of introducing you to all of this, with each character’s chapter featuring two or three poses and a randomised assortment of microgames that get faster and more challenging as you go. They all build up to a boss battle at the end, a longer sequence that builds off one specific pose. These boss battles are a bit hit and miss, though, with some feeling really quite engaging across multiple stages, while others barely feel like a climactic moment at all.

WarioWare Move It! butt drawing

While the Switch’s Joy-Con are significantly more advanced and refined as motion controllers than the original Wii remote, some of the old flaws with motion controlled gaming naturally raise their head once more. While the game always gives you a starting pose and any modifiers you need to know, you’ve still only got a second or two to figure out what motion you need to pull off, and then do so. It’s frustrating when the sensitivity is different to what you’d expect, the motion not quite picked up of what you think the game wants, and there’s a good chunk of the games that I still haven’t quite figured out even by the third or fourth attempt.

If you fail, the game just keeps on rolling on to the next microgame and the next chance to succeed, just chipping off one of four lives in each story mode segment. Even if you run out, you can get a fresh batch of lives by matching a pose on screen (which get increasingly weird the more you see), while playing in two-player co-op can pass a failed attempt over to the other player to spare your blushes.

WarioWare Move It! party mode dancing

In fact, given the amount of activity and the motion controls, this is a perfect party game for families and friends. There’s a bunch of specific party game modes, generally allowing each player to have just one Joy-Con instead of two, and then rattling off strings of microgames within an overarching meta mode. There’s a Mario Party-alike board game that’s somehow even more cruel, there’s a head-to-head boxing match, and a handful of others that remix the core game into this multiplayer setting.

Summary
WarioWare: Move It! calls back to the early excitement of the Wii and motion controlled gaming. There's a ton of daft and inventive microgames here (with a slightly surprising amount of bum shaking), that's great for solo, co-op and multiplayer, but brace yourself for some wonky motion controls and fleetingly frustrating failures.
Good
  • Waggle controlled fun for friends and family
  • Inventive stances and endlessly silly microgames
  • Great co-op and party game support
Bad
  • Frustrating failures down to motion controls
  • Stances like squatting, will be a struggle for some
  • Boss battles are pretty hit and miss
7
Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!