WarioWare: Move It! review: Madcap microgames & muscle men
You’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of buff guys in their pants in WarioWare: Move It! There are also loads of ridiculous microgames that make you look like a fool, zany Saturday morning cartoon-style cutscenes, and some lovely throwbacks to fan-favourite Nintendo games.
So yeah, this is WarioWare as you know and love it. Acting as a spiritual successor to the Wii classic Smooth Moves, the latest entry in Nintendo’s wackiest franchise once again chooses motion controls over button-mashing, and for the most part, it’s all the better for it.
Whether you’re tracing shapes with your backside, using the long-forgotten IR sensor to track how many fingers you’re holding up, or tilting your body to pass a poison apple through Snow White’s intestinal tract, you’re in for a good time with WarioWare: Move It!
WarioWare is a bonkers collection of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them microgames that are brimming with creativity and humour. It’s one of the few Switch games that truly makes use of the Joy-Con’s features, and it’s a real laugh with friends. I just wish it had a bit more content - and space to let its ideas breathe.
Let's get silly
If you’ve ever played a WarioWare game before, you’ll feel right at home with Move It! After laying some throwaway story groundwork (this time, Wario has won a holiday for him and 20 friends - conveniently just enough for the whole gang to join), it’s time to zoom through a series of microgame collections, each one presented by a familiar WarioWare character like Ashley, Pyoro, or the groovy Jimmy T.
These levels are made up of silly, fast-paced challenges that barely last a few seconds, asking you to do anything from pecking worms out of the ground to pulling a stocking off Julius Ceasar’s head.
What separates Move It! from the other WarioWare outings is that each microgame requires you to imitate one of 18 forms with the two Joy-Con before it begins. Squat and Archer are pretty self-explanatory, but then there are more bizarre forms like Ba-KAW, which requires you to pose like a chicken.
All of this leaves you looking (and feeling) pretty silly, so it’ll no doubt be great for parties in the same vein as the recent, equally silly Switch game Everybody 1-2-Switch! Nintendo is great at making these creative, joyful experiences - and while I know they’re not for everyone, it’s nice to just have fun every now and then rather than gunning for killstreaks or achievements.
9-Volt’s retro levels have always been my favourite in WarioWare games, and the ones featured here are just as whimsical as ever. Whether you’re digging for fossils in Animal Crossing or controlling a runaway chicken in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, each one is a lovely crumb of nostalgia for Nintendo fans that’ll leave you shouting ‘I remember that!’ at the TV screen. I won’t spoil 9-Volt’s boss level, but it pays homage to a famous hidden level that made me feel like a child again for a few wonderful moments.
Hit or miss
The game’s not without its problems, though. As you progress, you’ll unlock more complicated form changes like placing both Joy-Con on the ground or switching controllers to use the IR sensor to track your dominant hand movements. With just a few seconds to get yourself set up for each microgame (let alone figure out what you’re supposed to do to win), it all gets a little too frantic, to the point where failing can feel unfair. I also found that a few microgames weren't great at registering my Joy-Con movements.
It’s pretty much a given that you’ll mess up on a few occasions as you learn the rules - that’s just the WarioWare way - but providing even a couple of extra seconds for the trickier setups would’ve helped the pacing a bunch. It’s especially frustrating because these microgames feature some of the most creative uses of the Joy-Con controllers I’ve seen since the Switch first dropped, but there’s often not enough time to fully appreciate them.
It took me approximately three hours to complete the main story in WarioWare. This is a pretty standard runtime for the franchise, but it still took me aback to see the end credits roll after just two sittings (or standings, in this case). A quick look at the in-game Museum showed me that there were quite a few microgames left for me to discover in each level, so there is some replay value here - albeit not a massive amount. It’s definitely a short and sweet experience.
One thing that does provide a reason to return is the range of multiplayer modes. While some of these fell a bit flat when I tried them out with friends, most of them are great fun. I especially loved Medusa March, a take on the classic kids' game Red Light, Green Light (yes, of Squid Game fame), and Galactic Conquest, which features a Mario Party-style board game. For solo players, there's Megagame Muscles which lets you replay some of the more intensive microgames while a stud in a tunic cheers you on.
I can see myself revisiting the multiplayer modes at least a few more times, especially as most of them only require one Joy-Con per person - perfect for those on a budget, as extra controllers can quickly get expensive.
WarioWare: Move It! is a bonkers collection of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them microgames that are brimming with creativity and humour. It’s one of the few Switch games that truly makes use of the Joy-Con’s features, and it’s a real laugh with friends. I just wish it had a bit more content - and space to let its ideas breathe.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review code provided by the publisher.