Games this crazy shouldn't be this popular, should they? Video games that have you carefully guiding fingers into giant polygonal nostrils, slapping sleeping people until they wake up, or grating cell phones to bits with a cheese grater are meant to be niche games for weird kids, aren't they? Whatever...there's no sense in overthinking it because WarioWare is a fantastic series that gets even better on the Wii with Smooth Moves. As you might expect, this game is totally built around the Wii Remote and maintains, if not surpasses, the level of absolute random insanity that has made the whole series so appealing. It's a terrific use of the Wii's unique control features, it looks amazing, and in short, it should be a part of your library.
Wario is an absolute nutcase. When he isn't splitting into a billion little pieces and trying to steal strawberries, he's busy hatching another cockamamy get-rich-quick scheme.
The game opens with Wario stumbling upon a temple that contains a mystical, suspiciously Wii Remote-shaped item known as the form baton. From there, the game progresses as the series has always progressed. You select one of the residents of Wario's fair city, and a brief, nonsensically charming intro animation plays. These animations are great, are occasionally funny, and look really fantastic. The smooth edges on the characters really stand out and give the whole presentation a very cartoonlike vibe. These intro sequences also set up the action a bit, but there's no way of preparing for what happens next.
The game comprises more than 200 "microgames." Yes, these are smaller than minigames, and you usually perform one quick, decisive action, such as sawing through a log, twisting a maze so that a ball drops out, making Mario jump up and get coins, and so on. So each game lasts only about five seconds or so. The catch is that you don't know in what order the games are going to come at you, and as you play, the whole game speeds up. So it starts out nice and easy, but gets progressively more difficult until you finally snap, run out of lives, and run away from the Wii, frothing at the mouth. Each game uses the Wii Remote in a specific way and requires you to hold the Wii Remote differently. These holds, called forms, are displayed for a second or so before each game starts, giving you time to orient yourself properly for the upcoming game. The forms themselves can be pretty funny. You start out with the most common form, the remote control, where you hold the Wii Remote normally. But you'll also hold it sideways for tilting in a driving-like motion, or with both hands on it like bike handlebars, or up to your nose for the elephant form, or even on top of your head for the mohawk. One form even asks you to put the controller down for a few games, like one that has you answering a phone. The forms are a big part of what makes the game so cool, and it's nice that there are a lot of them. After playing through the main game, you'll unlock a form called the diner, which also requires you to use the Nunchuk attachment.
It's the variety in the microgames that keeps the game feeling fresh. Like in previous WarioWare games, one section of the game is largely based around microgame versions of classic Nintendo titles. But because this is a Wii, and not a DS, the range of these games has greatly expanded. Many of the old games you'll encounter here are GameCube games. So you'll get a quick burst of Animal Crossing, which is a fishing game. Or you'll tilt the controller to make Samus roll around and knock over a barrel in a Metroid Prime-themed game. There's even a Wind Waker game. But there are also plenty of games from earlier eras, including Punch-Out!!, Star Fox, and Super Mario Bros. While the nostalgia is nice, the rest of the game also has plenty to offer. Have you ever wanted to shake bugs off of a banana? Hey, who hasn't?