WarioWare makes a solid Wii debut, although the frantic antics are a tad slower this time around.

User Rating: 8.8 | WarioWare: Smooth Moves WII
When WarioWare Inc.: Mega MicroGame$ was released on the GBA back in 2003, it received plaudits for its wacky style and insane speed. Since then, Gamecube and DS sequels established the WarioWare series as a major franchise for Nintendo. The fifth installment, Smooth Moves, takes advantage of the Wii remote in what seems to be a match made in heaven. In reality, the Wii remote is something of a mixed blessing for Wario's latest adventure; although Smooth Moves retains the unique style the series is known for.

The story is about an ancient relic called the "form baton", which is just a rock shaped like the Wii remote. After Wario gets his precious food stolen from him, he chases the thief and stumbles across the form baton in a temple. It allows you to strike all sorts of poses which will help you complete the mini-games. From here, the story branches out into small chapters focused on individual characters. Old favorites like disco king Jimmy T and happy-go-lucky alien Orbulon return, mixed in with some new faces like the kung-fu fighting Young Grasshopper. Smooth Moves may utilize the motion sensing technology of the Wii remote, but it plays just like any other WarioWare installment. You have a series of short and simple games to complete within five seconds. You keep going for as long as possible, and the longer you survive for, the quicker the pace will become. Failing to beat a game will lose you a life (of which you have four). Lose them all and its game over. You can regain lives by clearing a boss stage, which come about every ten or so levels.

The essence of WarioWare is in its mini-games, and many classics make a return in Smooth Moves. Favorites such as the infamous nose picking game return and are as fun as ever, but there is also a glut of new ones. One sees you drinking a glass of water, but jerking your arm back too quickly will spill the water everywhere! There are over 200 games, so it will take a while to play them all. While the series is known for its mini-games that are unlike anything else, it has always paid tribute to Nintendo history. Earlier WarioWare games put an alternate spin on NES and SNES games, but thanks to the power of the Wii, there are also mini-games based on N64 and Gamecube games. Look out for cameos from Starfox 64 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Before every game begins, you are told which form the game requires. They range from the "remote control"; the conventional way you hold the Wii remote, to the "mohawk"; which sees you grasping the remote with both hands above your head. The variety of different forms makes Smooth Moves highly enjoyable to watch, as well as play. You can get around most games without taking up some of the more hilarious forms, but there isn't much fun in that. There are just over twenty different forms, one of which uses the nunchuk (dubbed "the balance stone" in the story).

Unfortunately, the Wii remote does have its disadvantages. Before each game, an illustration shows you which form the next game will use. This creates a pause between games, which isn't present in other WarioWare games. It still feels very quick, but it doesn’t have that insane feeling that its predecessors had. Alterations to the between-game format could have quickened the pace and reduced the pause, but unfortunately, that was overlooked by the development team. Fortunately, you can unlock a mode that doesn’t show the illustrations before each mini-game.

One remote multi-player is supported for up to twelve players depending on the game, but to access multi-player, you first need to complete single player mode. This decision is a puzzling one; it can take as little as an hour to breeze through the single player game, but it is disappointing that it is a requirement. There are a range of multi-player modes, such as survival; where you take turns playing until one loses, and bomb; which sees you choosing the form you want your opponent to take. There are also modes that don't use the conventional WarioWare mini-games, such as darts. The variety of modes keeps things very fresh and the fact that only one remote is required makes multi-player very accessible.

Despite incorporating a range of different visual styles, the graphics still feel very synonymous with the WarioWare series. The overlying style of the game’s presentation is very colorful. The 2D story cut-scenes before and after each chapter are crisp and vibrant, helping to progress the story well. The mini-games are where the variety comes into play. There are many 3D styled games, a first for the series (the nose picking games has been given a 3D face-lift), but they are well balanced by the retro graphics of NES/SNES based games. The visual breadth of Smooth Moves expands well beyond 2D and 3D. The style and art direction used in many of the games are unique. Some of the games would fit in well at a modern art museum. It is pleasing to see the Wii’s power being put to good use. The games have made a clear progression from earlier installments, not only in pixel power, but in style and design. There is a lot to see in Smooth Moves, and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

The sounds of WarioWare are on a par with its looks. The cast of crazy games wouldn’t be complete without accompanying music and sound effects. The background music is varied and catchy, even though you’ll hear it for five seconds before a new game starts. There is some great voice acting, although there isn’t a great deal of it. Most of it is one or two word phrases from Wario and friends, but voice acting is also used in explaining forms. The calm, care-free voice, combined with the hilarious script, makes learning the forms even more fun. Although it is used sparingly, the Wii remote speaker is utilized in some games. The best example involves you answering a telephone. When you pick the remote up, you hear the message “Hey, how are you doing?” from the remote speaker.

WarioWare: Smooth Moves is simply a hilarious game. Everything about it, from the mini-games to the audiovisuals, is just about having fun. The single player is short but sweet, and you’ll have to replay some of the chapters if you want to unlock all the games. The multi-player, despite the strange unlock requirements, is fantastic, and single remote sharing makes it one of the most accessible games on the Wii. It may not have the absolutely insane pace of previous entries, but the pros far outweigh the cons. WarioWare: Smooth Moves is a game that belongs in any Wii owner’s collection.