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Balancing broom handles, swiping tablecloths, downing pints… Smooth Moves introduces truly unique concepts for the Wii Remote...
Emerging from a hugely triumphant worldwide launch, many gamers and newcomers are still struggling to get their hands on the Wii as Nintendo attempts to cope with the sheer demand of those tuned into their energetic vision for the future of videogames. For those lucky enough to have their hands upon one, there is just one niggling uncertainty... the need for more games that aren't tired old ports with gimmicky features or merely mini-game compilations.
Suggesting that Nintendo has learnt from its own mistakes about the importance of getting titles to the market early on, Wario and the gang make a swift return in the latest title in the highly irreverent WarioWare series. It may be another mini-game compilation to join the likes of Rayman Raving Rabbids and Wii Play, but you can be sure Wario will always make others seem tame and relatively redundant in comparison.
Initially conceived around the pickup-and-play nature of the GameBoy Advance, the WarioWare series has won over gamers with its intense gameplay, crude presentation, and downright insanity. Featuring a rapid succession of mini-games to test your timing, nerve, and reactions, the WarioWare series highlights Nintendo's philosophy towards targeting wider audiences with simplistic yet nonetheless entertaining concepts and seems a natural fit to continue the early charge behind Wii.
Taking full advantage of the Wii Remote, WarioWare Smooth Moves replaces the sole necessity of pressing buttons at the right time with a variety of 'Forms' to master. Specific ways to hold the Wii Remote (or the 'Form Baton'), Smooth Moves features 19 different Forms that will have you sweeping like a 'Janitor', holding the Remote above your head in tribute to 'The Mohawk' or standing proudly with the Remote by your hip to emulate 'The Big Cheese' - as the game insists from the start, this is one game to play without any inhibitions!
Many of the characters from previous WarioWare titles make a return in Smooth Moves, along with a handful of equally bizarre, new additions to the cast. From the Nintendo fanboys, 9-Volt and 18-Volt, with their collection of classic Nintendo themed mini-games to the Bronx cabbies Dribble and Spitz, each character has their own back-story that does little else but to add to the madness that makes up a WarioWare game. Smooth Moves continues the series trend with a huge number of immensely creative, varied and most importantly fun, games to play. Whether it's guiding a paper plane past obstacles by holding the Wii Remote like a pen, or attempting to pull a tablecloth away without smashing any plates, Smooth Moves features some of the most inventive ways to use the Wii Remote and will hopefully provide inspiration for other developers looking to use the device in imaginative ways. Intelligent System's obsession with the weird and frankly obscene carries on throughout Smooth Moves, the obligatory nose picking games are there, whilst further tasks find you hitting old men and scrubbing the backside of a dirty cow!
One word of caution, Smooth Moves is a game designed to test exactly how strong the connection between the Wii Remote and the strap actually is. Games that challenge you to drop the Wii Remote like a Yo-Yo or throw it to the side seem a little risky given the recent media furore, whilst the intensive twisting and turning that it has to undergo seems destined to test the durability of the safety device.
Like its predecessors, the sheer pace at which Smooth Moves throws games at you overcomes the shallow and repetitive issues that typically affect mini-game compilations, although the increase in different techniques compared to previous titles in the series is both a blessing and a curse. Undeniably a great example of the Wii in action and the possibilities that are impossible on any other format (trying doing the 'Sketch Artist' with a SixAxis), the occasional moment when the Wii Remote wont react properly or you unknowingly complete the game without performing the correct technique, makes it feel slightly more flawed compared to its predecessors. While anybody who refuses to play the game's properly (which includes holding the Wii Remote by your nose to perform 'The Elephant') should be banned from ever playing Wii, it is perhaps a little too easy to cheat the system with some particular Forms which leaves the game feeling a little more gimmicky then previous titles in the series.
With over 200 different mini-games, it's possible to rush through the game in a matter of hours; however, Smooth Moves has genuine long-term appeal because of the score based nature of the games, each getting progressively faster, more insane and as a result more enjoyable, the better that you perform. On top of this, there's an arrangement of slightly more comprehensive mini-games on offer such as a 3D update to the NES classic Baloon Fight and a handful of multiplayer modes, whilst those who stick with it will open up further treats such as a music conductor's game - possibly a precursor to the excellent Wii Music demonstrated at E3'06?
WarioWare: Smooth Moves may not fill the void for an original Wii title with depth that doesn't have Twilight Princess in the title, but it's nonetheless an essential title to continue the Wii's charge towards attracting new audiences.
Nintendo fans will need little reminding of the qualities of the WarioWare series; if you've never had the fortune before, make sure to pick this up and prepare for one of the most insane and enjoyable experiences offered by a videogame.
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