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SummaryFunny and Brilliant until you need some kind of challenge from a game.
The GoodWarioWare: Smooth Moves is stylish, whimsical, and most importantly very funny. I was compelled to race through the single player with the utmost of my skill, intent on opening up the annoyingly locked multiplayer, and instantly became engrossed with the excellent humour. My face constantly in a smile, I hardly noticed the barely two hours it took from Indiana Jones beginning to ET ending. The droll training commentary brings to mind classic comedian Steven Wright combined with Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic and its frequency throughout the game is very welcome. There is little I can do to describe the joy of holding the remote in as ridiculous a fashion as each of the training sequences describe.
An intentionally simple visual style inhabits each of the minigames. If it is polygons that we see, then the original Virtua Fighter is the inspiration. If 2D is more the minigames' style then you have to wonder If Nintendo outsourced to Walt Disney Company. Sometimes even a kindergartner would have difficulty drawing graphics as badly composed as some in this game on an Apple II paint program. Not only does this work on a base comedic level, but it makes sense considering how quickly control choices have to be made. On a stylistic level the line drawn graphics that look like intricately animated flash animations are actually very appealing; the only time a pixel is seen is when as in the case of the NES emulated segments it is entirely necessary. Also important to the overall strength of this game's visual appeal is a correct solidity or an accurate weight to each of the objects the player is interacting with. This illusion is never broken; when the game needs a cartoon it is a distinct and effective cartoon, when the game needs an object to be manipulated in 3D it often feels like the player's arm is reaching inside of the screen to fashion a success out of a solid polygonal structure.
While the idea that the method of controlling the minigames itself is some kind of divine instrument of unspeakable power ties the story together all of these situations in which the player finds him or herself avoiding conflict are all blissfully unaware of each other. So while none of the series staple of an intertwining story is present, the whimsy of the randomness of these character's interactions is often hilarious. Also lovable are the character designs themselves even most if not all of these are fan service from previous WarioWare creations.
The BadThe interface is familiar if not terribly interesting and following each character's mini-adventure feels comfortable. It oozes quality on every level, but it seems like WarioWare: Smooth Moves does its best to try not to innovate the structure of the series in any way for the purpose of avoiding disappointment. Maybe the reader has noticed my earlier comment speaking of the game's overall valid play time. Understanding that the overall length of this game is derived from the inherent replayability of the medium, I am hesitant to mention this as a fault.
What is a fault is the repetition of most of these challenges. Pre-apologies for this minor spoiler, but many of the bosses are simply minor variations of earlier bosses and a larger than expected percentage of the minigames are the exact same tasks. Apparently no one at Nintendo yet understands the storage potential of a DVD because this game has less original content than the minuscule flash card of the DS not to mention a humble Gameboy Advance cartridge. Despite the relative lack of variety of minigames, very few games feature this wide variation of control schemes. This is in addition to the fact that they all work so well, so it is very difficult to pick apart the few control schemes that do not. So I will not. Instead I must mention that while all of the games are fun and all of this is a well- polished, well-oiled machine, it is so well polished that it offers no challenge even to people who have not played videogames since the Christmas of 1985.
The largest challenge in Wario Ware: Smooth Moves is a player attempting to best a high score, yet never when the game itself is challenging. Honestly, the only time I lost one of my four lives in any of the minigames was when the responsiveness of the controller failed and that was not often enough to complain. Also deserving mention is the music, while it is appropriately bouncy and upbeat it has no structure. Nothing could compare me for the voice samples or composition of the music in WarioWare: Touched, and while on the tiny flash memory of the DS music is the greatest strength here on this grand DVD music is another disappointing weakness.