WarioWare: Move It! review – A cavalcade of glorious absurdity

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WarioWare: Move It! is a wonderfully weird game stacked with unique, innovative micro-games.

WarioWare: Move It! is a weird and wonderful game. A celebration of the absurd in micro-game form, with each odd, off-putting moment of action cementing it as one of the best WarioWare games yet – an essential entry in Nintendo‘s most proudly strange and obtuse franchise.

The WarioWare games are best understood as high-chaos experiences. In each stage, you’re presented with themed, rapid-fire micro-games, each demanding the completion of a certain task within a 5-10-second window.

In Move It! – a spiritual sequel to Smooth Moves for the Nintendo Wii – these tasks require you to first master certain poses, which require specific placement of Joy-Cons. Some are heroic (posing like a sword fighter or cricketer), while others are hilariously humiliating (placing one Joy-Con on your bum, another on your nose, and pretending to be a duck).

Once your pose is assumed, you’re thrust into a rapid-fire array of micro-games that include tasks like defeating an octopus with Wario’s face, stomping your foot to wake a sleeping man, bowing to greet a rival princess, pecking at the earth to find seeds, cooking a delicious meal, or lighting a bomb with a birthday candle.

The pressure is high, and the freakiness is strong. It’s a wonderful blend of ridiculousness.

The micro-games in WarioWare: Move It! feel particularly well selected, with a vast array of surprises included, as well as fairly diverse boss stages that feel rewarding to complete. In one boss round, WarioWare: Move It! tasks you with completing a ball rolling puzzle themed after a young woman trying to get a marble through her digestive cavity. Gross, but also very satisfying.

Grossness is a key theme of other micro-games too, with many of the game’s stages stuffed with toilet humor and outright silliness. In many, you’ll find a focus on bum cheeks – including one where you embody a sumo wrestler. But no matter how many times these micro-games popped up, they were always a great and hilarious spot of fun. They’re cheeky, and playful, and lend themselves well to the tone of the game.

Perhaps the best games, as is series tradition, come from the plot of character 9-Volt. Depicted as a massive Nintendo fan, 9-Volt’s mini-games revolve around retro and modern Nintendo games. As you play through his particular round, you’ll take part in micro-games that feature tasks from Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Metroid, Super Marioand The Legend of Zelda. Delightfully, 9-Volt’s rounds culminate in a ‘boss fight’ that is actually just an HD recreation of the slide from Super Mario 64‘s Cool, Cool Mountain stage.

WarioWare: Move It! also finds a use for the IR camera on the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, with several micro-games relying on this feature. While the speed of the game makes it difficult to fully appreciate these unique experiences, it was great to see the camera used in even a minor capacity – particularly because it’s been so overlooked by Nintendo Switch games. In tiny bites, Move It! reveals the great potential of the camera, by tasking you with holding up fingers or performing certain actions, using the sensors to capture movement.

It’s wild that it’s taken an entire console generation for the most innovative features of the Joy-Con to be realized – and even wilder than it’s taken WarioWare: Move It! to realize them. But that’s a common theme with this micro-game collection, which frequently pushes the Nintendo Switch’s capabilities in its rapid-fire rounds.

What struck me most about playing Move It! wasn’t really the strangeness – that’s something the WarioWare franchise has become beloved for – but rather how each micro-game allowed for revelatory new uses of the Joy-Cons. As you romp through various courses, you’re using them as swords, climbing tools, tennis rackets, and extra appendages.

Move It! invites you to drop the controllers (while using the wrist straps, of course) to replicate tense stand-offs. It asks you to roll them like tubes, and twist them, or spin them, to solve puzzles. In a way, how Move It! uses Joy-Cons highlights how under-utilised the controllers have been since their inception. They’re not just for button-mashing, or guiding a hero on an epic quest. They’re sensitive motion sensors, with a plethora of uses – all of which come into play while running through challenges in WarioWare.

At each turn, WarioWare: Move It! hides a fresh surprise, whether that be a fully-fledged mini-game where you’re flapping your arms to fly through a canyon or a skiing game where you’re a giant, guiding your own massive feet.

There is great joy in exploring these challenges fully through each character’s micro-game collection, perfecting their poses, working harder at their fitness, and chipping away at a high score – as every new round is a chance to discover new micro-games and wild new uses for the Joy-Cons.

You can easily blast through the game’s story mode in around 2 hours, and leave plenty of undiscovered goodness behind, but take the time to embrace its strangeness, and you’ll find mounds of surprising, technical depth in your journey. Strange, ridiculous, and occasionally very ugly, WarioWare: Move It! is exactly the kind of weird game it needs to be – and then some.

Long live WarioWare, in all its compelling absurdity.


WarioWare: Move It! – Standard – Nintendo Switch [Digital Code]

Four stars: ★★★★

WarioWare: Move It!
Platforms:
 Nintendo Switch
Developer: Intelligent Systems 
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 3 November 2023


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