Posted by: peanutmaster | April 27, 2008

Wario Ware: Smooth Moves – Nintendo – Wii


Twice the fun of other games, half the dignity…

This isn’t a game; games have controls, combos, rules, plots, tutorials and buttons. Smooth Moves doesn’t even use buttons! Well, only one and then only sometimes. Instead, everything in this primary coloured, playground assault on the senses is controlled with a flick of the wrist, wave of the arm or shake of the hips. It’s not a standard piece of software because anyone can play, everyone can play, everyone will play. It’s just good, old-fashioned fun.

The formula hasn’t changed though. Mini-games are vomited straight at you with barely a break; brrrrring! Waaahaaaaa! Smash! Ting! Cow’s bums need wiping, monsters need shooting and giant fingers need sticking up giant 3D noses. But just like Touched and Twisted! it’s the change in controls that has changed the game, giving new athletic anarchy to familiar challenges. For instead of twitching a thumbstick to put the dentures back in some old dear’s trap, you wave the remote to shove those gnashers into that gaping gob.

And as the game changes, so does your grip. Often you’ll hold the wii-mote like a pen, or balance it in your palm, or grip it sideways, or shake it like a polaroid picture. And if that all sounds a bit obvious, how about putting your hand over the sensor and jiggling it up to spray champagne around? Or even testing out those controversial wrist straps by dropping the controller?

It’s not subtle either, just imagine being repeatedly smashed over the head with a  squeaking toy mallet while a gang of inebriated Fimbles cavort to the mashed up theme tune from Balamory. And if you play alone for more than an hour you’ll get tired of the 2D graphics and and the 1D action. And it’s then, when the games start to repeat, and you’ve seen all of the new moves, that problems start to emerge.

Firstly, it’s not as quick as other Wario Wares; the need to change your grip and too many many long, slightly dull and mostly silent stories ensure that. Secondly and crucially, the game has problems reading certain movements, mostly when you have to shove towards or away from the screen. It happens with other moves too and while this problem only affects about 10 percent of the games, it’s massively frustrating when you are down to your last life but can’t catch that falling woman, shift the hole under the bloke or shred the top-secret document.

But get some friends in, get sweaty, get a little giddy and the fun is magnified ten-fold. From the teamwork of the syncronised jumping of Bungee Buddies to the competitive edge of Balloon, friends are what saves Smooth Moves from being just a neat novelty. And the effect is almost magical as everyone, from hyped-up screaming kids to suave scandinavian businessmen giggling in their designer glasses, will play happily and unselfconciously, unaware that what they’re enjoying so much is a game at all.

RATING: 85%

If you liked this, try Wario Ware: Touched!

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