WarioWare: Move It! review: Gloriously silly fun with friends
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Featured Image Credit: Nintendo
Whatever your opinion on motion controls in video games, I think we can all agree they have one very strong pro: the ability to make even the coolest and composed of friends look like a complete prick. From the Nintendo Wii to the Oculus Quest 2, there’s nothing better than sitting back and watching your nearest and dearest wildly flail around like they’re trying to catch an invisible badger that’s gotten loose in the house.
This, dear reader, is the crucial element that was missing from 2021’s WarioWare: Get It Together!. As delighted as I was to see Nintendo’s anarchic microgame collection finally make its way to Switch, it lacked that extra spice that only comes with making your wife pose like a chicken and peck at the ground to catch pretend fish.
WarioWare: Move It!, the latest game in the series, is entirely built around motion controls, making it the ideal party game for those of us who take great pleasure in holding our Joy-Cons like swords to pull turtles out of toilets.
WarioWare: Move It! is a spiritual successor to 2007’s Smooth Moves, but where the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls were fairly limited, developer Intelligent Systems makes use of the Joy-Con’s enhanced features here in all manner of interesting ways. I’ll be honest, I forgot the Joy-Cons even had built-in IR cameras until I started this review.
The resulting product is an anarchic assembly of manic microgames that ask you to strike various poses with the Switch controllers before carrying out the usual bizarre tasks that are only ever expected of you in a WarioWare title. One moment you’ll have your hands on your hips, waddling on the spot as you attempt to guide a penguin to safety. The next, you might find yourself carefully leaning back and forth as you help a princess poop out a poisoned apple.
One of my favourite things about this series has always been the complete unpredictability of the microgames, and they’re as utterly unhinged here as they’ve ever been. You’ll go through the usual “story” mode, inasmuch as a WarioWare game can ever have a story. Really, Wario’s island jaunt with friends is nothing more than an excuse to slowly introduce you to all the various styles of poses, movements, and minigames. But you can play through alone or with a friend and chase down those high scores, ramping up the chaos as the microgame timer becomes increasingly shorter.
And yet, WarioWare: Move It! Is something of a paradox. It’s a much less accessible WarioWare game than Get It Together! for the obvious reasons: you’re required to stand and strike various silly poses while wiggling and shaking and doing all sorts of movements. That’s simply not possible for everyone. But for those who are physically able to play this new incarnation, I’d suggest it’s a much easier game than Get It Together! was to grasp.
One of the main gripes with Get It Together! was in its character-based approach to microgames. I had a blast with this in single-player, noting in my review at the time that taking control of unique characters to complete tasks added variety and even threw up multiple solutions for each microgame.
The issue with this approach quickly became apparent in multiplayer, however, as you were suddenly asking friends to learn how to play with a massive roster of characters across hundreds of microgames. It was nowhere near as immediately intuitive as its predecessors, where you could start a game and immediately know what to do by simply tapping a button or performing a gesture.
Move It! remedies this by moving back towards relative simplicity. You’ll quickly be told at the start of each microgame which pose to strike with the Joy-Cons, and from there it’s usually a matter of instinct - or wildly moving your body until something happens. Whichever gets results. In this respect, it has a pick-up-and-play sensibility that harkens back to the days of the Wii, and should make Move It! a much more viable party game than its predecessor as a result.
While there’s a single-player story (and I used the word “story” loosely) mode to play through during which you can get to grips with the various poses and kinds of microgames, it’s multiplayer where things truly come alive. Players can work together in story mode, taking it in turns to shake and shimmy through games. There are also a handful of microgames during which you can both work together, a personal favourite of mine being a recreation of the Cool, Cool Mountain slide from Super Mario 64 in which my wife and I flapped our arms wildly as we attempted to make it to the bottom of the course in one piece.
Obviously there are plenty of options for players who want to go head-to-head too, with a range of deliciously intense modes all seemingly designed with the express purpose of making you look as dumb as possible. And if you’d rather play alone, curtains closed, where nobody will know your shame, there are tons of opportunities to simply chase high scores and master the hundreds of various microgames on your own.
WarioWare: Move It! is a brilliant evolution of the kind of party game that families would gather around the Wii to play over a decade ago. The Switch’s massively superior motion control tech opens up a whole new world of possibilities, making for an incredibly silly game that will have you doubled over - either in laughter or because you’re attempting to clean a Koala’s teeth while squatting.
Pros: Laugh-out-loud silly, hundreds of games, multiplayer is a blast
Cons: Won’t be easy for everyone to pick up and play
For fans of: Making a fool of yourself in front of everyone
WarioWare: Move It! is available 3 November for Nintendo Switch. Review code provided by the publisher. Read a guide to our review scores here.