Wario is better served Twisted than Smooth
Wario has always been the redheaded stepchild of the Nintendo franchises. He had a try at being a plat-forming icon, much like his mortal enemy Mario but that didn't turn out so well. On the handheld however, Wario has struck a new chord with his crazy collection of extremely short mini-games, known as “micro-games”. The WarioWare series has done quite well for it's self on the Game boy Advance, with both Mega Micro games Inc. and Twisted selling like hotcakes. Touched was a bit of a let down despite it's provocative name however Wario has not given up, and is now back in style with WarioWare: Smooth Moves for the Nintendo Wii.
A few months have gone by since the Wii's launch, and very few games have really shown the potential of what the system can do…enter WarioWare. This collection of Micro games is designed specifically with the Wii in mind, and the various forms that you use to play these mini games are right in tune with how wacky the games themselves are. It's quite obvious that this game was released to show off just what you can do with the Wii and it's controls, however it goes far beyond a glorified tech demo.
The game starts off as you follow Wario as he discovers the “Temple of Form” which contains an oddly familiar remote like device known as a “form baton”. Wario decides that he could make a good lot of just stealing the baton as the creatures that protect the temp try and stop him. In this manner you continue to encounter other “mini-stories” as I like to call them as each one will open up one or two new forms for you to use while playing the games, and occasionally there will be a story that will use all previously learned forms for even more excitement.
Now WarioWare has never been known for it's award winning story telling, however each story leads nicely into the set of games you will be playing, and it keeps the controls seemingly fresh as you play through the game the first few times. I say the first few times, because it really only takes a couple hours to beat all of the stories and boss levels that are thrown into the game, however the real fun comes in going back and playing the levels over to unlock all of the possible mini games. This has always been the way the WarioWare series has added replay value, and it remains true to this day.
A huge disappointment (at least for me) was the lack of “souvenirs” that I found made WarioWare Twisted so amazingly addictive. Instead we are given random poses that do absolutely nothing but serve the purpose of having something to collect. Sure there are a few mini games to unlock, which are just expanded versions of the micro games…I never really found myself hooked and playing this game for very long on end, and it's not because I got tired often. Another feature that was so engaging in the previous incarnations of WarioWare was the ability to go back and play any single micro game multiple times to try and “beat” it, which required you pass it a certain number of times. Instead WarioWare: Smooth Moves only allows you to play the games 3 times in a row…MAX. Which means there is no incentive to play a game over and over, something I found highly disappointing as well.
Although the single player game is plenty of fun, although it does lack some features that could truly make it addictive, Nintendo has included a multiplayer mode, much like the one that can be found in the Game cube version of the original WarioWare. This would add a lot of replay value to the game, if it were worth playing…however none of the flair that was found in the Gamecube version is here. Worst of all, each of the multiplayer modes only utilize ONE wiimote for each of anywhere between two and 14 players. This can get quite cumbersome as you are also supposed to wear the wrist strap while playing these modes however in the quick paced mayhem that WarioWare drives to create; the wrist strap takes a backseat to simply trying to play the game.
It's a real shame that the multiplayer feels so…tacked on. With a relatively low number of “Party games” WarioWare could have easily stood out from the pack with it's multiplayer however it falls flat, and should really only be played if the Single player portion of the game is what one desires.
One thing that really shines is the art style, both audio and visual aspects of it. With all of the micro games, one may think that the game could grow old, even on the first time through. This is remedied however by having a very unique look and feel and even sound of each game. Some games may be in 3D while others are crudely drawn stick figures. Each style of visual flair is accompanied by sound affects to match the theme. It really shows how innovative game designers can still get with the look of their games. The contrasting art styles are almost akin to how jumbled the story is…and while that may sound like a bad thing, it just kind of fits the profile of WarioWare.
Overall, this game is a huge disappointment as far as a WarioWare fan goes, I had really high hopes for this, however it doesn't completely fail us as the games are still wickedly fun and entertaining to watch people play. Any non WarioWare fan may have a hard time getting into this particular version…however the things I found disappointing would also be those things that people who aren't familiar with the series wouldn't really miss. It is for that reason I must suggest anyone who has found themselves a Wii find SOME way to play this, however as far as a purchase, this game just isn't for everyone.