|Release Date||November 3, 2023|
In case you couldn’t tell, gaming is one of my hobbies. I do it to relax. However, one of my biggest issues with gaming is overthinking things, and it can make games unnecessarily stressful for me. I think that’s why I adore the WarioWare franchise so much. The games move so fast that you don’t have time to think, let alone overthink. The series generally sticks to one entry per Nintendo console, but the Switch has been blessed with two in pretty short succession. We got WarioWare: Get It Together! in 2021, and just this month, WarioWare: Move It! belched its way onto our Switches.
Violence: Various microgames involve weapons like swords and guns, but they’re never used on people. One microgame has you playing as a wrestler that has to grapple with your opponent, but it ends there. Wario and his crew get into various scrapes, like collapsing ruins, surfing on sharks, erupting volcanoes, and the like. Everything is portrayed in an over-the-top, Saturday morning cartoon style with no peril.
Crude Humor: Wario is known for his farts and belches, and some of the microgames involve other innocuous bodily functions, like guiding an apple down a princess’ digestive tract.
Religious/Spiritual Content: The game’s Forms are framed as messages from the mysterious Voice from Above, who gives the inhabitants of Caresaway Island revelations for various forms. The Voice is portrayed as a god. Orbulon, who bears a striking resemblance to The Voice, loses his memory and ends up being worshipped by a group of people in the forest, and says “I am a god! Keep worshiping me!” He’s eventually kicked off his throne by his spaceship.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve always been a fan of the WarioWare games, my favorite being Smooth Moves for the Wii. So when I saw Move It! announced for the Switch, I instantly saw the parallel and got hyped. I’m not usually a fan of motion controls, but there’s something about the frantic, act-before-you-think nature of WarioWare that really fits this control style.
The game opens with a local fast food joint offering a special on their garlic burgers. Every purchase earns the buyer a chance to win an all-expenses paid vacation to Caresaway Island! Wario, being…well, Wario, buys the entire stock. This means he wins a trip not only for himself, but for all his friends, something he’s not all that happy about. The crew sets off for Caresaway Island, and being that this is the WarioWare gang, Caresaway Island has no idea what’s about to hit it.
This series is famous for its wacky characters and storytelling, but I think Move It! does the best job so far in letting us see and hear from the characters themselves. Every cutscene has full voice acting, and while the animation is still pretty barebones, I think the quality art makes up for it. The performances also very good, nailing the Saturday morning cartoon vibe that the series has always embodied. I have to say though, it’s super weird hearing anyone but Charles Martinet’s voice coming from Wario. Kevin Afghani, Martinet’s replacement, does a fine enough job. However, after so many years with Wario’s iconic voice, it’s just going to take some getting used to.
Every WarioWare game up to this point has shared a basic structure: a story mode comprised of different episodes centered around each character. Each episode has a set of microgames, 5 second activities that the game throws at you one after the other until you reach a set goal or fail. Most games in the series also have a gimmick, and that gimmick defines the gameplay as a whole. Get It Together!, the last entry, focused on the characters themselves as your vehicle for completing microgames. Move It! scraps that and uses the JoyCons themselves as the gimmick.
The JoyCons become your portal into the world of the game. You’ll need to hold them in various poses, or Forms, as the game calls them, in order to complete microgames. As you start out, you’ll only be dealing with two or so Forms a level. But as the story mode progresses, you’ll be swapping between a lot more. Eventually, you’ll have to start pressing buttons, and even dropping the JoyCons if the game tells you. And near the end, you’ll unlock levels that mix all the microgames together, meaning that you could encounter any Form at any time, so you’re always on your toes.
Yes, that does indeed mean that this game relies on dreaded motion controls. But before you get out your pitchforks, hear this: Move It! is potentially the best use of the JoyCons to date. The game accurately senses where you’re moving your JoyCons, meaning that you have to strike the poses it tells you. This lends an odd sense of immersion to each microgame, and it feels like you’re using your whole body to control your characters. And yes, there were a couple frustrating moments where I felt the game didn’t register my motion accurately, but those moments were so few and far between, and over so quickly, that the times I was just having a blast just figuring out how the games worked made a far bigger impression. WarioWare games have the distinct advantage of being so fast that you don’t really have time to get frustrated. When I failed, even if I felt like it wasn’t my fault, I just shook it off and kept moving.
One of the Forms even uses the JoyCons’ IR sensor, the first game I’ve owned to do so, and I was shocked by how accurate it was. One of the microgames tells you to hold up fingers to indicate how many objects are onscreen, while another has you literally play rock paper scissors with a kid in the game. While I did have a hard time getting the Form down, since I had to drop one JoyCon and grab and position the other one in a matter of 2 seconds, once I did, I found myself shocked by the innovative way the game uses the Switch’s hardware.
While the Forms can be a bit cumbersome sometimes, and the motion controls aren’t perfect, I can’t complain. No other game has gotten me literally dancing in my living room to stop an erupting volcano before, and few other games have made me smile like this one. After a particularly frantic level, I got to the end, only to find a marathon of a dance session in front of me, complete with the series’ iconic overly-detailed polygonal models complete with a Wario nose. It’s just absolutely bonkers, and I love it.
The game’s biggest downfall is its short completion time given the $50 price. While that’s still ten to twenty dollars cheaper than most games nowadays, I finished the main story in less than 5 hours, which, depending on what you’re hoping for from a game, might not be worth it. Still, in my opinion, Move It! offers a lot of replay value for its short runtime. Yeah, I beat the story in a short amount of time, but I still haven’t unlocked all the microgames or played all the post-story levels. And even then, once all that’s done, it’s still a great game to pick up and play when you need a short burst of energy. Since there are so many Forms, using the Remix modes will keep you on your toes even if you know how all the microgames work.
I knew exactly what to expect going into this game, and I got exactly that and a bit extra. I got a fun adrenaline rush that is absolutely out of its mind with personality. While it was over a bit sooner than I would have liked, I can safely say that the WarioWare franchise is still stuffed with charm and personality 11 games into its run. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or a newcomer, give it a shot. Don’t let the motion controls fool you, WarioWare: Move It! is a blast of a game that will serve as a great party game and solo game for a long time.
The Bottom Line
WarioWare: Move It! might not turn the world upside down, but its unique gameplay gimmicks and charm will get players smiling, laughing, and moving like nothing else.