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WarioWare: Move It review – an enjoyable, if flawed, waggle frenzy to make the Wii proud

Here, in WarioWare’s second Switch title, we have a love letter to the Wii – for better and for worse.

A three-star review blurb for WarioWare: Move It that reads: "It's great, it's stupid, it's exhausting".
Image credit: VG247

While it has a solid identity as the hyper-creative face of family-friendly gaming, it’s fair to say that Nintendo actually has a few different identities. On Switch, we’ve been treated to a most of them at once. We have accessible-but-hardcore offerings in Zelda, old-school joy in Mario Wonder, and here, in WarioWare’s second Switch title, we have a love letter to the Wii.

Wario Ware: Move It is obviously the latest in a long line of Wario’s microgame-powered adventures, most recently 2021's Get it Together. But really, it’s best thought of as a direct sequel to one specific game: 2006’s WarioWare: Smooth Moves.

Smooth Moves was a product of its time, and if we examine that end result, you also get a pretty good description of Move It. Specifically, this is a WarioWare that is focused on motion controls, and with the shift to motion also comes a more subtle shuffle towards a focus on multiplayer. The logic correctly assumes that if you’re going to find yourself squatting, jiggling, and writhing in front of the telly, it’s probably more fun with friends, where the act of humiliating yourself in the name of video-gaming fun becomes part and parcel of the fun rather than a side effect.

The concept of WarioWare remains intact. It’s based around ‘microgames’ - distinguished from minigames by how positively tiny they are. Any given WarioWare microgame is at most a few seconds long - and whatever mode you’re in, the game will throw these games at you quick-fire, asking you to complete them quickly and accurately.

Wario, as a train, toots and celebrates as he pulls into a low-poly station.
The train's at the station. | Image credit: Nintendo

Part of it is just the fun of reacting. But, as you get used to the games, at a higher level, it also becomes about memory; about recognizing the incoming game and doing the appropriate actions practically from memory. For me, this is the primary joy of WarioWare: becoming really good at these short, repetitive little games. All of this is wonderfully intact in Move It.

It differs slightly in the execution, of course – and this is where the comparisons to Smooth Moves come in. There’s 18 different ‘stances’ that the game asks you to assume, and each microgame is ‘performed’ from that stance position. A stance might ask you to squat, for instance, or hold your hands in front of you like you’re holding a heavy two-handed sword. Before each microgame, the required stance is flashed on screen in front of you for you to assume. This slows some of the breakneck pace of other WarioWare titles without motion controls.

Wii-era ideas mean Wii-era problems, however – which means certain stances require you to wrestle with the Joy-Cons in order to have them recognized. Sometimes, the game seems to lose track of the fact that you’re in the stance mid-minigame, which can massively dampen your chances of success. And, of course, it’s easy to cheat the system if you’re so inclined.

Three sumo wrestlers, seen from behind, all assume the traditional squat-legged stance. A sign over them all says 'Copy!'
Better do what it says. | Image credit: Nintendo

Despite that, the physicality of the stances mean accessibility is also a non-starter here. I find this interesting, actually – as it shows Move It misunderstanding part of the joy of the Wii era. Your gran could play tennis or bowling from a seated position with a flick of the wrist, if required. But if she can’t get up, pop a squat, and teetering balance on one foot while maintaining the squat… Move It is out of the question.

It is fun, though. If you’re of the able body and masochistic mind to show yourself up in front of others, WarioWare: Move It is a total riot. Some of the microgames are gloriously stupid, like one which puts you in a stance, hands overhead, and then casts you as a bottle of fizzy drink. You have to shake to pop your top off; so you just flail in place. It’s great. It’s stupid. It’s exhausting, actually. I do love it. This is a good party game.

That party-driven nature is precisely why this game has a multiplayer focus, though. I really enjoyed the challenge of just getting good at WarioWare microgames, being able to blitz them even at the highest speed settings. And while there are options here to do that once games are unlocked via the story mode, it also plainly isn’t what this game is about. It’s about playing with friends, screaming, shouting, and having a blast.

A title saying 'Squeeze' is writ large on the screen as Wario fishes for a huge creature.
How hard can you squeeze? | Image credit: Nintendo

WarioWare had its genesis as a GBA title, and so by its very nature, its initial DNA was the antithesis of multiplayer. Over the years, multiplayer has been grafted onto the series with varying degrees of success. Move It is undoubtedly up there with Smooth Moves as the most successful integration of multiplayer – in large part because the game is its multiplayer.

Your mileage with WarioWare: Move It will inevitably vary. What do you want from this game? If you want the classic microgames experience, it isn’t really here. If you want a killer multiplayer game to play with the family over the holiday season (assuming everyone is able-bodied), it’ll be ideal. I can’t wait to play this more with friends. But I don’t see any reason to boot it on my own again any time soon.

WarioWare: Move It! comes to Nintendo Switch on today, November 3.

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