Move it or lose it
When it comes to Nintendo franchises, I usually struggle to name the game I’d put at the top of the heap. Don’t ask me to choose my favorite Mario, Zelda or Kirby game, as making that decision could send me into an existential crisis. With WarioWare, things are very different. While I love and appreciate every single entry in the series, there’s one WarioWare game that I easily put head-and-shoulders above the rest: WarioWare: Smooth Moves.
I thought WarioWare: Smooth Moves on the Wii was the absolute pinnacle of WarioWare experiences. It was a perfect game to showcase what the Wii Remote could do, and it brought the series firmly into the party game side of things. I found Smooth Moves to be so much fun to not only play solo, but with friends and family as well. The goofy microgames, the silly stances, the competitive party games…what an absolute blast it was. All these years later, WarioWare: Smooth Moves is still the king of WarioWare games for me…but a new contender draws near.
As soon as Nintendo revealed the Switch, I immediately wanted to see a WarioWare game akin to Smooth Moves. With the Joy-Con’s gyroscopic and motion-sensing tech, I thought it would make for the perfect input method to revisit the Smooth Moves approach. I figured a pseudo-sequel would be an absolute lock for Switch, but year after year nothing came about. 2021 did bring us WarioWare: Get It Together!, and while I think that’s an excellent WarioWare game with some very unique twists, I couldn’t help but feel sad when it was revealed. Get It Together! led me to believe that my Smooth Moves dreams were officially over.
Boy, am I so happy to have been 100% wrong on that.
I damn near leapt out of my seat when Nintendo surprise-revealed WarioWare: Move It! during the June 2023 Nintendo Direct. This was it…this was the WarioWare game I had been crossing my fingers and toes for. All of the hallmarks were there; the unique controller forms, the focus on motion controls, and over-the-top microgames…an actual dream come true for me. Hell, over in Japan the game is called Chō Odoru Made in Wario, which loosely translates to Super Dancing Made in Wario. Why is that a big deal? Well, WarioWare: Smooth Moves’ Japanese name was Odoru Made in Wario, or roughly Dancing Made in Wario. For me, that officially cemented WarioWare: Move It! as the spiritual successor to my favorite WarioWare game of all-time.
Amazingly, I recently had the opportunity to confirm my suspicions even further with a special hands-on session for WarioWare: Move It!. I got to have a crack at a handful of Move It!’s microgame lineup, which also allowed me to try out some of the game’s Forms. For those who don’t know, the Forms of WarioWare: Move It! are the styles in which you’ll hold the Joy-Con when playing. As you might guess, these Forms are optimized for not only unique gameplay situations but also peak public embarrassment, and I mean that as a compliment.
Without further ado, here are the microgames I played during my time with WarioWare: Move It! along with the Forms each one used.
Fashionista Form (One arm bent down onto a hip, the other bent upwards towards the sky)
My pseudonym on GoNintendo may be Rawmeat Cowboy, but I’m sorry to tell you that I’ve been living a lie. While I’m certainly made up of meat, I’m not actually a cowboy. In reality, I don’t know the first thing about being a cowboy, but thankfully my lack of cowboy knowledge didn’t matter one bit when it came to playing the Cowboy Up microgame.
In Cowboy Up, you use the Fashionista Form to twirl a lasso and throw it at a target. Of course, in typical WarioWare fashion, the weirdness is cranked up to 11 with the ‘targets’ you’re aiming for. You’ll have to capture a chicken in an egg, an unsuspecting alpaca, and so on. The target you’re going after depends on what level of difficulty you’re tackling, and it also impacts how far away the target is from your lasso.
Cowboy Up works exactly as you’d expect it to, with you whirling about one arm to wind up the lasso, and then extending that arm out to snatch the target. As you wind up your arm, you’ll see a lasso reticle moving along the ground. Once the reticle lines up with your animal target, you whip your arm forward and shoot your shot. Extremely straightforward, but incredibly fun at the same time. As the speed ramps up, get ready to give your arm a real workout!
What’s a turtle to do when they want to give their shell a polishing? Well, they have to grab a towel and get the job done themselves, of course!
Okay…so Shell Shine doesn’t really feature an actual turtle. Instead, you get what looks like a guy in a turtle costume…or a humanoid turtle. I don’t know which is less disturbing, so go with whatever will help you sleep at night. All that really matters is that this turtle character needs to shine up that shell for a night out, and you’re the one supplying the elbow grease.
Once again in Fashionista Form, you’ll have to diagonally move your arms/hands up and down in order to polish that shell to a sparkling shine. As with all WarioWare microgrames, you only get a few seconds to clean that shell from top to bottom. If you can work that towel top to bottom before the timer runs out, you’ll have a glimmering shell and one very happy turtle…man…thing.
Shell Shine is peak WarioWare, as it is unbelievably strange and incredibly fun at the same time. I always say the weirder the better with WarioWare microgames, so I was all over this one.
Choo Choo Form (Arms down at your sides, but bent 90 degrees at the elbows, making an ‘L’ shape)
You know about Thomas the Tank Engine, right? Well, imagine that same kind of idea, except instead of a train with Thomas’ face, you’re controlling one with Wario’s unpleasant mug front-and-center.
In Train, the objective is to make the “chugga chugga” movement with your hands to have your Wario train barrel down the tracks. The goal is to make sure the train reaches the red zone on the tracks before time runs out. That means you’ll have to pump those arms considerably in order to reach your target area, as the timer counts down rather quickly. What makes things really fun is the fact that the red target area gets smaller as the difficulty ratchets up. This means you’ll have less wiggle room in the target area, along with a shorter amount of time to reach the goal.
Train is one of the microgames I enjoyed most during my play-session, as it seems like the perfect mix of skill and silliness. It could also become incredibly competitive if you’re playing with a group of people. I could imagine a 4-player turn-based session of this microgame being a rowdy good time, especially once the speed gets cranked.
Get ready, rhythm fans. If you don’t have any rhythm or timing in general, you’re going to have a heck of a time nailing Bell Chorus.
Bell Chorus is another straightforward microgame from an objective perspective. Much like Guitar Hero or other rhythm games, you’ll see a bell traveling down a note highway. When the bell lines up with a bell matching its position at the bottom of the screen, you shake your Joy-Con. If done correctly, you’ll hit notes in time to create a little tune.
I am an absolute sucker for rhythm games in general, so Bell Chorus was another favorite of mine. This one plays like countless other rhythm titles released over the years, but it’s always fun to throw motion controls into the mix. It’s when you get to multiplayer that this one could become a make-or-break experience. Better hope the person you’re partnered up with has a good sense of tempo!
Ba-Kaw Form (one Joy-Con protruding from your nose and the other sticking out of your rear like a tail)
What’s a WarioWare game without some nods to the classics from 9-Volt? That’s exactly what the Super Mario Bros. 3 microgame is all about, and this time around you get to live out your Raccoon Mario dreams in real life.
Remember furiously pressing the A button to flutter Raccoon Mario’s tail to stay afloat in Super Mario Bros. 3? Well that’s what you’re doing in this WarioWare microgame, but you won’t be using buttons to get it done. This time around, you’ll be going a much more embarrassing route by bouncing your butt to flick Raccoon Mario’s tail as quickly as possible. Think you’ve got the rump-shaking action to get Mario to the goal?
The Super Mario Bros. 3 microgame isn’t as straightforward as it seems, as you’ll have to figure out when to shake your tail and when to let Mario descend, all thanks to various objects in the way. You’ll have to maneuver your way around classic Super Mario Bros. 3 enemies as Mario auto-scrolls his way to the end of the stage. Depending on the stage and speed of the microgame, you could be in for some really frantic action.
Yes, you’re going to feel like an absolute fool while playing anything in Ba-Kaw Form, but that’s yet another reason why I love the motion-controlled WarioWare games so much. You bet your butt I was shaking it like a madman to save Mario from certain death, and I had a blast doing it. I definitely worked up a sweat as well, so be prepared to get hot and bothered while twiddling that tail.
Squat Form ( A bow legged stance where you hold a Joy-Con on each thigh)
Thigh Fishing is another quintessential WarioWare experience. It’s one of those microgames that makes you wonder how in the world the devs came up with it. The mechanics are odd, the goal is strange, and the actions are downright silly. All of that comes together in a microgame that’ll have you laughing as much as your thighs are burning.
In Thigh Fishing, you play as a humanoid cat that wants to catch a tasty fish. You might think the cat would swat at the fish or perhaps use a fishing rod, but no…that would make too much sense! In Thigh Fishing, you’ll be catching one of those floppers as it jumps from the water and flies between your legs.
The fish in Thigh Fishing are slippery suckers, and they definitely don’t want to be caught for dinner. It’s your job to stay in Squat Form and then slam your knees together to snag a fish as they’re passing through. Why are the fish jumping through the space between your legs? Don’t think too hard about what you’re doing…just catch that fish!
Thigh Fishing is easily one of the strangest microgames I played, but again, that’s why I love WarioWare in general. The game itself is another fun one, but boy, will microgames in Squat Form push you to your limits. It’s no easy task keeping your legs bent like that while barreling through these games! Thigh Fishing makes great use of the Form, but be ready to feel a bit sore after a day of this type of microgame.
I know exactly how to play Buttograph, but I have absolutely no explanation for what’s happening on screen. I can work you through the mechanics at ease, but trying to explain the meaning behind the game’s premise will sound like the ramblings of a madman.
In Buttograph, you use your butt to draw a symbol on screen. For example, if you see something that looks like an upside-down V, you move your butt diagonally up and then diagonally down. If you manage to draw out the symbol with your posterior penmanship, you’ll come out a winner on the other end.
In the Buttograph game I tried, I played the role of a crudely-drawn Wario body that had a head shaped like a crescent moon. After doing the appropriate actions with the moon’s butt, I saw a sun up in the sky that smiled at my creation. It turns out that I was drawing a butt rainbow to send up into the sky for the sun to enjoy. …told you it would make me sound crazy.
Buttograph…this right here is why I play WarioWare games. It was fun to play, it made zero sense, and it makes you question everything you know. I LOVE BUTTOGRAPH.
To say I adored my time with WarioWare: Move It! would be the understatement of the century. I think I’ve deeply expressed my undying love for WarioWare: Smooth Moves by now, and everything I’ve seen from Move It! leads me to believe that it will at least match what that Wii outing achieved. I’ve played but a small taste of the microgames Move It! has to offer, but that sampling gave me exactly what I was yearning for.
I’m obviously reserving final judgment on WarioWare: Move It! until I’ve had lengthy hands-on time with the final game, but consider my hype at an all-time high following my demo session. The experience honestly couldn’t have been better for me, and I’m over the moon that my favorite installment in the long-running franchise is living on through Move It!. The wait for the game’s arrival on November 3rd, 2023 was already going to be torture for me, but now it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Can we just skip October already!?