Despite being in its seventh year now, the Nintendo Switch is showing little signs of slowing down. With Super Mario Bros. Wonder taking over homes of families and gamers alike, the return of Super Mario RPG just around the corner and a new Princess Peach adventure kicking off 2024, Nintendo continue to prove there’s ample life left in their hybrid console yet. Perhaps one of the bigger surprises however (but certainly a pleasant one) is that we’re seeing another WarioWare entry on the device only two years after 2021’s highly entertaining Get It Together! Whereas that game focused on controlling the characters within the microgames themselves, WarioWare: Move It! feels more like a sequel to the Wii’s motion-controlled Smooth Moves and that is certainly no bad thing.
Just as with past entries in the series, WarioWare: Move It! tasks you with completing a series of short microgames one after the other – and when we say short we’re talking only a few seconds – before capping things off with a slightly longer boss game. Tying each group of games together are weird and wonderful animations of Wario and crew’s shenanigans on an exotic holiday resort. They’re random sure, but a chance for the game to flex its quirky personality.
While the series has never strayed from trying out new things, Move It! marks a return to motion-controlled microgames. Unlike Smooth Moves though that relied on just the Wii remote to control, Move It! makes use of both Joy-Con allowing for more creative and varied ideas when it comes to the actions you’ll need to perform. Before every microgame, you’ll be instructed on which of the 18 different forms you’ll need to hold the Joy-Con in, from facing down in front of you (the ‘massage’) and holding them by your side, arms bent (the ‘choo choo’) to holding one on your nose and one by your butt (the ‘Ba-Kaw’) and resting on your legs as you squat (the ‘squat’). This is very much a game where you get what you put in. Sure, you could cheat things and barely take the required position mustering little more than a small shake or movement to complete some microgames, but to do so would be missing out on a truly awesome time.
Potting balls on a pool table, laying an egg, swimming in a race, balancing bowls, answering a phone – all these seemingly mundane tasks are made all the more engaging and amusing by making you feel as though you’re performing those movements yourself. Yes, these silly scenario games could and have been done with more traditional controls in the past, but here they’re given a whole new jolt of energy and excitement. The use of two Joy-Con adds a nice extra layer of involvement too. Take the chopping of food microgame, a task that first involves turning one Joy-Con on its side to lay the vegetable on a cutting board in-game before then making a chopping gesture with the other. It’s incredibly intuitive and cleverly implemented and just one of many examples that left me giggling away whilst being both surprised and impressed.
And what surprised me most about the game was just how varied your actions felt with each of the 18 forms all milking a tonne of ideas. Even the game’s initial ‘choo choo’ form has you making all sorts of gestures from yanking to the sides and hammering downward to rotating your arms round and round like a child dizzy on lemonade. Hell, the game even manages to make use of the right Joy-Con’s IR sensor in some fun ways. Any game doing that deserves some praise alone. And sure, not every game is a homerun, the controls sometimes struggling to read the odd movement or the solution not immediately apparent, but these are few and far between. You’ll be jumping up and down with joy far more than you’ll be left scratching your head.
The story mode won’t last you much longer than a handful of hours but there’s reason to return in typical WarioWare fashion, from the addictive act of besting previous high scores to the newly introduced two player co-operative mode. The latter sees players taking turns playing microgames with a few even involving the pair working together. It’s a great feature and one that allowed me to introduce newcomers to the series in an approachable manner. Here’s hoping we see this return in future instalments.
The multiplayer options don’t end there though, party mode catering for up to four players. Here everyone will use just the one Joy-Con each instead of two, some forms thus needing a little more reliance on the player’s willingness to commit to the bit. Still, it gets the job done well enough for a party setting. Each mode is fun, silly and brings something new to the mix; from tasking players with performing certain acts whilst completing a microgame and then having the rest of the group vote how well you did to racing to around a board game microgames sprinkled in between turns to a straightforward contest to be the last player left standing as you all play microgames simultaneously one after the other. A surprise hit with our group of friends, was a mode that involves a microgame to be played with two players involved, the catch being only one of them was actually playing. The other was merely pretending. The other team must then guess who they think was the faker. It’s a fun twist that forces players to examine not just the action on screen but also how it aligns with the players movements too. Overall, the multiplayer options in Move It! are brilliant fun and the kind of experience I can see myself breaking out whenever we have friends over.
Where WarioWare: Move It! sadly disappoints however is in its extras. Often these games will have countless trinkets and bonus games to unlock and discover long after you’ve exhausted the end credits, however in Move It! things feel surprisingly light. While sure, you’ll be able to unlock the usual mix of super hard, single life and sped up variants, beyond that the collectables and bonuses feel few and far between. Get It Together! featured some interesting ideas that kept you returning like its extensive list of tasks and challenges to gradually check off, levelling of its character avatars and best of all weekly online competitions where players would perfect their performances to top leaderboards so it’s a major shame none of these made it across to Move It!
What this results in then is a game that while a lot of fun and super clever in its implementation of the Switch’s motion controls, lacks staying power for the lone player. Not a deal-breaker as what is here is a lot of fun, but something to consider if you’re after a game to keep you busy over the winter months.
WarioWare: Move It! delivers another wild and wacky assortment of microgames that make some of the best use we’ve ever seen from the Joy-Con’s motion functionality. The variety of actions you’ll perform is truly impressive and there’s little denying the quality of ideas on display here. In a package more catered to multiplayer though and with few extras and surprises to distract in the longer term, Move It! isn’t likely to keep the attention of those playing alone for much more than a weekend. Still, WarioWare is just as fun and unpredictable its ever been, even if it is a little lighter in content this time around.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Nintendo