When I was 11, I looked utterly ridiculous playing WarioWare: Touched!. My parents watched as I frantically scribbled on my Nintendo DS screen with my pencil in the car, sweating like my life was on the line to pluck hairs out of a nose, tickle armpits, or do other ridiculous missions. But this time, thanks to WarioWare: Move It!, I had friends to share the shame with me.
WarioWare: Move It! took me back to my childhood with its absurdity. The second WarioWare title to release on Nintendo Switch, this satirical party game sees you completing ridiculous but fun and fast-paced minigames using the Switch’s Joy-Cons.
In 2004,WarioWare: Touched! showcased the great range of gameplay depth the DS pencil could offer. Move It!, on the other hand, shows the limits of the Switch Joy-Cons’ aging motion tracking. Still, the game is great fun and features the same spirit as the previous titles in the series while offering a creative take on the console’s gameplay tools.
Weird, yet hilarious moments with your friends
WarioWare: Move It! starts with a short and goofy storyline setup typical of the WarioWare license. Then, you begin the first stage of the Story mode right away. The format of each stage is the same as the series’ previous titles; you complete a dozen levels, then a Boss Stage, and move on to the next one. Once a stage is complete, you can repeat it and aim for the highest level possible as microgames progressively speed up, raising the difficulty.
Microgames in WarioWare: Move It! are as absurd and hilarious as ever. The game also goes the extra mile to make you look ridiculous while you execute funny stances and moves—even further than in Smooth Moves, the Wii entry in the series.
You will bump imaginary snowballs with your butt to shape up a snowman, hold a squat position and make sumo-like moves to make pieces crumble, or frantically run a flash sprint race. The microgames look simple, but they aren’t easy to figure out, especially not in the short time you’re given—less than 10 seconds.
Move It! feels way more difficult than Touched!, not due to more challenging microgames, but because Joy-Con stances add a layer of gameplay complexity. Stances are poses you have to hold using the Joy-Cons and include a squat pose, putting your Joy-Cons on the ground, mimicking an archer, a running pose, and many others. You have very little time to figure them out before the microgame starts. Once it does, you need to work out what you have to do and how to do it before a bomb detonates.
You learn 18 different stances across the Story mode’s 13 stages. These stages include two Remix stages and a Final stage that combines all the stances and microgames you’ve unlocked up to that point.
When playing solo, you can finish Story mode in under two hours, but Move It! heavily encourages multiplayer modes, with a lot more options for parties with PvP and co-op mode, as well as a mirroring stage and an imposter game for four-player parties. While Move It! offers a welcome variety of modes, it doesn’t always provide a smooth game experience.
When starting out in the game, I had fun playing for about 15 minutes, and then I reached the second stage and wasn’t able to make the Joy-Con stances work, failing miserably at completing the necessary games. It took me some time to figure out how exactly to hold the Joy-Cons so they didn’t get my movements wrong for some stances, and when I got carried away and made moves too wide, the Switch controllers couldn’t follow them up and inverted on the screen, leading to disaster.
Joy-Cons only track your movements accurately when held in a very specific way, and the slightest angle can disrupt its tracking. It may take some trial and error, trying out different ranges and sides until the stances actually work, to get the knack of it.
Too many breaks can spoil the fun
While Move It! includes various multiplayer features, it can become particularly frustrating when played with friends. Microgames are incredibly fast, and it can be confusing to pick up for those who aren’t accustomed to the series, as you only have a few seconds to figure out the required Joy-Con stance and how to win the microgame. The only mode that can balance that out is Galactic Conquest.
In this Party mode, you have one pawn you can advance on a board by rolling a dice. You earn the right to roll the dice by winning each microgame and win the round when you reach the final tile with at least 100 points in your pocket. Since half the tiles actually give you a disadvantage, rolling the dice can be both a curse and a blessing, so ultimately, winning more games than your friends isn’t vital for victory. A game can last from two minutes to 20, and it’s a lot of fun—provided the motion tracking actually works.
Me and my friends spent over a minute trying to get the right stance before each microgame started, and it spoilt part of the fun. We tried to execute stances perfectly, but mishaps with Joy-Cons kept happening. You have to play for a while to get the knack of both Move It‘s gameplay and Joy-Con stances, before you can fully enjoy it.
Since you have little time to win microgames, motion-tracking mishaps often cost you wins. That might be why the game is so forgiving of losses: when completing stages, you get a revive challenge each time you lose all four lives. This challenge consists of holding a ridiculous pose for a few seconds—and, once again, motion capture can be tricky. We failed several times simply because of that, forcing us to start from scratch.
The limits of motion tracking
Move It’s Joy-Con woes are frustrating, especially since the game shows so much creativity. While you can play the Story mode with the Switch handheld, sliding out Joy-Cons is mandatory, and most features are locked behind Dock mode, so there’s not really a way around this issue other than perseverance. The ideas are there, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Still, Move It! is a creative addition to the WarioWare license and delivers on its main promise: fun, light-hearted gaming sessions with friends.
WarioWare: Move It!
- Hilarious and smart microgames
- Versatile and fun stances
- Prompts for left-handed players
- Creative use of Joy-Con’s motion tracking
- Varied multiplayer modes
- Joy-Con motion tracking doesn’t always work
- Solo mode is short-lived
- Party modes challenging to pick up
A copy of this game was provided by Nintendo for review. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.