Grab Your Form Baton. It's Time to Pick Your Nose Again.
Smooth Moves, as you would expect, makes complete use of the Wii remote's motion sensing. In the story, Wario finds his way into an ancient temple where he finds a "Form Baton" (Wii remote), which of course gets him into a whole heap of trouble since attempts to keep it. Each character in Diamond City has their own little storyline that are mostly unrelated to the rest of the character, but each character has 20+ microgames and all of them make use of the Form Baton.
Just like Touched was for the DS's touch-screen, Smooth Moves is one of the first great Wii games that truly shows what the remote is all about. If you thought Wii Sports introduced you to all that the Wii can do, you haven't seen anything yet!
Much like the Wario Ware as a whole, the graphics are almost inexplicable. From one microgame to the next, you have no idea what you're going to see. Sometimes you'll get random clip art that looks like garbage. Other times you'll 8-bit glimpses at NES classics from years ago. And you'll also come across sharp 3D renders. Wario Ware's randomness is part of its charm, and while almost any other game would get slammed for some of the graphics that are presented here, for Wario Ware, it works perfectly. Also worth mentioning are the cutscenes that begin and end each character's section of the game. The crisp 2D cartoons are exceptionally well done and do a great job of giving each of the characters, which are probably new to most people, a personality that's hard not to love.
As the game begins, you only need to worry about one "form." Forms describe how you should be holding the Wii remote for each microgame. So, at the beginning you only have "The Remote Control." Very quickly though, you will be introduced many more including The Umbrella, The Janitor, The Thumb Wrestler, The Samurai, The Dumbell, The Tug-o-War, and over a dozen more. Before each microgame, an image will flash on the screen showing you what position to get into, but you still don't know what's coming as far as the microgame is concerned. Until the game begins you don't know if you'll be twisting the controller, shaking it, stabbing with it, yanking it back, using it as a steering wheel, pumping air, answering a phone, or dozens of other scenarios within the 200+ microgames. Again, each microgame takes five seconds or less on average, and as you progress through each character's games, the speed increases. Quickly the game becomes a frantic experience that will certainly end up making you look silly, but ultimately be a ridiculous amount of fun.
For those that have played Wario Ware in the past, you'll know that the character 9-Volt holds all of the classic Nintendo-themed microgames. But now that the game is on the Wii, the available number of titles to pull microgames from has increased greatly. Now you'll find yourself having to catch fish in Animal Crossing, pulling the Master Sword out of its resting place in The Temple of Time, slamming Super Punch-Out into a SNES, or even squashing Pikmin. The randomness of the rest of the character's games is simply too hard to describe concisely.
The sound effects are just as random and zany as the graphics, but it fits of course. Each microgame has it's own little sound effects which serve as a break from the manic soundtrack between each game that enhances the frantic pace of the game's presentation. One thing worth mentioning though is the incredible use of the Wii remote's speaker. It's so good you may not even notice it, so pay attention! And oh yeah...the descriptions for each new form you discover remind me of Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. Downright hilarious.
In a game comprised of 5-second microgames, you could probably guess that it wouldn't take you too long to burn through the meat of the game. Well, that's true. You can probably beat the game in just a few hours, but you wouldn't have unlocked every microgame that Smooth Moves has to offer. Going back and achieving 100% of what the game has to offer will take many more hours and will be just as fun as it was on the first run through. You can make it even more fun by having more people join in and see how many rounds you can clear in each character's story. The multiplayer is a bit lacking but there is a hot potato mode that will allow for up to 12 players to play using just one Wii remote.
Like most Wii titles thus far, Wario Ware truly shines when you have more than one person in the room. Even so, the game is extremely fun by yourself. But once you get more people involved, the laughs really begin. The instruction manual blatantly tells you to let go of your inhibitions, and if you do, you'll have a ton of fun with Wario Ware: Smooth Moves.
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the release of the game. ***