Wario waggles Wii wand wonderfully.
Wario has found himself quite the niche is the world of video-games. It was four years ago, when the original WarioWare graced the shores of the United States, that we discovered the delightfully ADD concept of microgames. Each of them takes only around five seconds to play, but when combined with random selection and an ever-increasing pace, they can be quite challenging. The style laid on top of them serves only to enhance the experience. Zany is the most appropriate word, as these microgames typically have you completing insane tasks with hilarious results, and always in the weirdest way possible. Smooth Moves is the fifth game in the series, and just like all the others, it has a totally new control scheme to make it different. This time, it's the Wii Remote, and the freedom offered by this controller is put to good use.
Microgames in WarioWare are split up into sets for different characters. Each character has his or her (or its) own set of games, usually with some sort of theme, though the themes are not as obvious this time around. The first time through a character's games you'll play a set of them (which always seems to be the same, with different order) ending with the slightly longer "boss game". After that, the character is unlocked for high-score mode. The microgames are just as crazy as ever. Some of the highlights include a trivia game based on the details of your Miis, the return of nose-picking, and drinking a potion to grow a man's hair. In addition to the normal microgames, as you work your way through the different characters you'll also unlock fleshed-out versions of some of the microgames.
The Wii Remote allows for lots of different microgames this time around, and the variety is amazing. Before playing each individual game, you are prompted to hold the remote in a certain way. These "forms" are what give the game such great variety. Some of them, such as The Remote Control, are very simple. This basic form simply has you point the remote at the screen and interact. Others, like The Chauffeur, are designed for tilt-control. In this form you hold the remote like a wheel and "steer" with it. There are also crazy forms, like The Elephant or The Discard. The former of these two has you hold the remote up in front of your face, like a long pointy nose, and using the pointing function it detects how you're moving your head. The latter asks you to place the remote face down on a table, and pick it up at the appropriate moment. These four examples are a good idea of some of the ways in which you'll control Smooth Moves, but there are a total of 18 forms and one bonus nunchuk form.
In addition to the single player mode, there are also a variety of multiplayer options. There are four multiplayer games revolving around microgames, three of which support up to five players. In Lifeline, you determine position by beating games. Then you take turns cutting ropes that the other players are hanging from, until just one of you is left hanging. Balloon has you pumping up a balloon and wagering pumps. If you beat the microgame the balloon inflates and you pass to the next player. If you fail it, the balloon inflates and you play another microgame. The loser is the player who pops the balloon. Bomb is a hot-potato mode in which you pick the next player and the form they will use. A fourth multiplayer mode, which is a simple survival mode in which you take turns playing microgames until only one person is left standing, supports up to 12 players.
Three more multiplayer games are full mini-games: Darts (2-4 players) Starnose, a flying game (two players), and Bungee Buddies, a sort of top-down platforming game (two players). While many of these multiplayer modes are very fun, none of them allow for simultaneous gameplay. Instead, they all require you to pass the remote to the next player.
The one blemish on Smooth Moves is its lack of a high-score mode for individual microgames. Previous WarioWare games have all had the option of playing any individual microgame ad-nauseam to earn high scores. Also, each game had its own number of completions to beat in order to unlock more stuff. While there is a way to play any individual microgame in Smooth Moves, it is not indefinite. Instead, you can set a speed at which you wish to play the game, and then play it only three times (once at each of its difficulty levels). It's puzzling why the creators would limit this mode, as it has been one of the reasons the WarioWare games have such amazing replay value.
Variety is king in WarioWare, and while the game does not contain an absurd amount of pointless unlockables, or a true high-score mode for individual games, it is still a ton of fun. It's also very similar to UbiSoft's Rayman Raving Rabbids, but WarioWare proves Nintendo's superior quirkiness and game design. It's also the first game in the series to feature not only an entirely new set of microgames, but also a multiplayer mode to put them to good use on your television. The various "forms" for the Wii Remote add a huge amount of variety to the gameplay and another layer of complexity onto the fast-paced action the series is famous for. In short, WarioWare: Smooth Moves is a great use of the Wii Remote's features and lots of fun to play by yourself or with friends.