Also On: Nintendo
Publisher: Intelligent Systems
Developer: Digital Download, Switch Cartridge
In August 2023, it was reported that longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet would be retiring from his duties to take on an “ambassador” role. With two major titles in the franchise coming up in the form of Super Mario Bros. Wonder people were curious who would be vocalizing the words of Mario, Luigi and to a degree. With little fanfare, we found out 27 year old Kevin Afghani would be passed the baton and handling the roles Martinet has been taking on since 1996’s Super Mario 64. While recasting an iconic character can be jarring to the fanbase, Afghani’s performance in Wonder was nearly indistinguishable from his predecessor and his follow up performance would come sooner than anyone thought and in a more non-traditional title.
The WarioWare franchise is a quirky microgame compilation that stars Mario’s self professed rival Wario. Previous titles in the series set the stage that these microgames were just another get rich quick scheme so the bulbous nosed garlic lover can amass a fortune quickly. With this latest entry, WarioWare: Move It, the setting is slightly tweaked. After winning a vacation getaway to Caresaway Island due to his purchase of 50 garlic burgers, Wario and his crew upon their arrival are gifted mythical stone tablets known as the form stones as they will bring good luck During the course of their trip the cast will go looking for mermaids, shop, find themselves the subject of worship and other odd, but fun activities all while playing plenty of microgames.
WarioWare: Move It’s gimmick harkens back to 2007’s WarioWare Smooth Moves on the Wii where motion controls dominated the title. Move It will have you playing over 223 microgames that will utilize up to 24 forms with some slight variants. Forms are the poses which the microgames are based around Some of include Choo Choo where your arms are perpendicular to your body, Big Cheese which has you putting your hands to your hips while puffing out your chest, Hand Model is an odd duck since it uses the joy con’s infrared camera to capture the image of your dominant hand, Archer has you drawing an invisible bow. Each form is rather easy to get situated although squat and pounce will probably be the most “physically strenuous” of the forms. Micro games really take advantage of these forms although some games and some forms work better than others (I for the life of me can’t do the archer form games well.). The form variations were also a neat twist, you have something as normal as requiring to press buttons and perhaps the one that was the most mind blowing a form variant will require you to drop your joy con (finally REQUIRING the player to wear the strap while using their joy cons) to pass.
Story mode consists of 13 stages, a majority of them will serve as an introduction to the form/variant with 3 stages acting as a medley stage where microgames can be culled from any of the previous forms you’ve learned. I found story mode to be oddly forgiving. It can be played in 2 player mode where each player alternates each game, the title rumbles the controller of the active player and will show a brief descriptor of which form the upcoming microgame will utilize. Each stage will consist of 20~ microgames and you can fail up to 4 times before a “game over” will be triggered, I use quotes because the game in its first run will give you more or less unlimited second chances as long as you can replicate the pose it’s asking you to do. I found myself breezing through the story mode in 2-3 hours. However I will find myself replaying it as a single run won’t unlock all the micro games of a given stage and that collectibility aspect along with collecting all the poses (8 per stage…randomly appear) will extend your time with the mode.
The motion controls make or break this title, it seems that the joy cons are definitely more precise than the Wii Motes of the past…however there were some forms where I would find it harder to win microgames (Archer…). It’s not that the games are complex, given how curt they are it usually involves a simple movement. Thankfully this difficulty is relegated to just the Archer form, but the game really does a great job of mitigating user difficulty with it’s lax approach to progress.
The game also features a robust amount of multiplayer modes. All of them will require the console to be docked…so if you’re a switch lite owner, you’re going locked out of the majority of these modes much like this single player focused reviewer. This makes sense since you’ll need plenty of space between players to avoid injury or property damage. However I got a taste of the party mode at a preview event earlier this summer and I can say it is akin to Mario Party, where players can play microgames to advance on a board, where the first to make it to the end wins! Completing story mode also unlocks 4 multiplayer modes including one dubbed Copycat Mirror which apparently will test plenty of friendships.
Despite rendering the value proposition of the Switch moot due to the fact you will need to play docked, the game’s variety in both content and visuals certainly makes up for it. Even as I’m locked out of the multiplayer aspect of the title, there’s still plenty of microgames for me to find, poses to master and scores to topple. Perhaps one day the franchise will find a way to get online, until then couch co-op is still a very viable option and for those who have frequent social gatherings or families, they’ll find in this title an excellent one!
Note: Nintendo provided us with a Move It Switch code for review purposes.