WarioWare: Move It! Proves Party Games Are Best When They Make You Look Silly
Inverse Score: 8/10
The Nintendo Wii was popular for many reasons: its unconventional controller design, its capability to get people moving, the plethora of games — the list goes on. But for my money, I think its greatest potential came in making people look exceptionally silly when playing minigames. That is where 2006’s WarioWare: Smooth Moves succeeded, bringing the get-up-and-move mentality of the Wii to the loveable franchise comprised entirely of wacky mini-games.
WarioWare: Move It! on the Nintendo Switch picks up the torch left by Smooth Moves and brings back the full potential of the franchise. While not the first WarioWare game on Switch (that would be 2021’s WarioWare: Get It Together), Move It! feels like the best entry the series has seen since the Wii days. For bite-sized fun for one and party games that lead to endless laughter, WarioWare: Move It! is a standout experience.
I Like to Move It, Move It
Move It! doesn’t shake up the core WarioWare format. Like past entries, Move It! gives players a series of story levels that contain a plethora of minigames (over 200 of them!) that take seconds to complete in quick succession. The quick loop of challenge and completion releases the perfect amount of adrenaline and endorphins to keep you wanting just one more minigame each time.
But to be more than just another WarioWare game like everyone before, Move It! needs to find its signature gimmick — and it does. Taking advantage of the Switch Joy-Cons in a way that only Nintendo seems to be able to, Move It! ties the gameplay of every minigame to physical movements by the player.
Instead of quick button inputs to complete tasks, Move It! sorts all of its minigames into different “Forms.” These forms can instruct the player to hold the Joy-Cons above their head, at their sides with hands forward at a ninety-degree angle, or with one arm touching their nose and the other their butt in an emulation of a chicken. The game will then require some movement from the player to complete in time that is only hinted at by a short prompt, such as “Pull Up!” in which you must do a pull-up motion with the Joy-Cons.
Each task is all about quickly puzzling out what the answer to the prompt is. The movement aspect also combines the best parts of Smooth Moves’ gameplay on Wii and the gamified exorcise mechanics of Ring Fit Adventure as you need to be on your feet to best complete Move It!’s tasks. It makes for an exceptionally silly sight, one that elicited almost unending laughter from a friend who watched on as I frantically completed a series of minigames.
Better With Friends
But each WarioWare entry can only be as good as the minigames within. This is another hurdle WarioWare passes with flying colors. Thanks to the game’s Forms, the physical element of every minigame brings plenty of joy and a variety of different styles. More active tasks like moving your arms in a skiing motion, or crushing a fish with your thighs feel like they could only work on the Switch. Yet some minigames don’t just challenge your physicality, as some minigames just need you to pick the right element of a potion or time an input perfectly.
The former style of minigame breathes life into Move It! while the latter capitalizes on the same type of knee-jerk reaction fun that made the first WarioWare so enjoyable in the first place, birthing the franchise. One of the only major flaws is having to sit through a series of cutscenes in Story Mode. While they are cute enough, nothing in the game’s story is as fun as the humor that comes from the minigames themselves.
The minigames get even better in Party Mode, which is essentially a Mario Party clone within WarioWare: Move It! Players appear on a game board on which they roll dice to move, stopping every so often to compete in minigames. While I knew one person attempting to wiggle their body was funny enough, seeing up to four people do the task in tandem is nothing short of laugh-out-loud hysterical. As far as party games on the Switch go, WarioWare: Move It! makes a great case for being high on that list.
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