The WarioWare series was always a game that was a bit of a test subject for Nintendo. They use this franchise to show off and highlight their hardware’s unique features. WarioWare: Touched! highlights the DS’s touchscreen features, and even incorporates the microphone feature, Game and Wario is all about all the different ways you could use the gamepad in combination with the TV screen, WarioWare: Smooth Moves has you utilizing the Wiimote and nunchuck, and so on. The Switch has gained its own WarioWare title, that being Get It Together, being able to utilize the easy two-player mechanics of the joy-cons. However, it felt like they could do more with the joy-cons, instead of just using them as simple controllers. With WarioWare: Move It!, the Switch has finally gotten the WarioWare game it needed to push these joy-cons to their absolute limit, highlighting both the good and the bad they bring.
Wario ends up ordering 50 garlic burgers, inadvertently signing up for 50 chances to win a vacation trip. As luck would have it, he won and now is going on vacation with the rest of his workers from WarioWare Inc. to Caresaway Island. On the island, Wario is presented with the form stones, which are stones that look like joy-cons. While originally dismissive of them, he decides to keep them in his search for treasure. The rest of the cast meanwhile just try to enjoy their free vacation.
Let’s get the obvious elephant out of the room first; this game relies heavily on throwing many different microgames at you. Each stage gives you 4 lives to beat all the microgames standing between you and the boss of the stage. Microgames are 5 to 10-second short games that task you to do one quick task after another. During one minigame, you could be measuring which plate is heavier in one second using your joy-cons as scales, then immediately right afterward, you will be dropping your joy-cons to feed a bird, only to right afterward be angling the joy-cons to fit a Mii through a hole in the wall. This game doesn’t explain much, only giving you a stance, you need to do before the game starts, and a quick instruction, which is usually only 1 word long. This series of games goes for a fast-paced and frantic fun time. Not everyone is going to be up to the task, and that’s ok. It just so happens that this insanity is just what appeals to plenty of other fans, including this one.
Each stage follows an overall character. One or a group of these WarioWare Inc. workers are relaxing on the island before encountering a problem. This problem leads to the series of microgames, with each stage introducing the different forms that it uses, ending with one big, long boss game, leading to the problem being solved in some way. For example, Wario’s intro stage has him being forced to run from members of some residents of a volcanic base, introducing the basic form that your joy-cons would be in, and after a couple of microgames and boss microgame, only to escape at the end of the microgame series. Each level focuses on either one or a group of the cast and introduces a new way of using the joy cons while giving you a look at how they act.
Each story also highlights and shows off the characters and their personality. Some of my personal favorites would be the Volts, due to them being one of the first positive portrayals of gamers I have seen where gaming wasn’t seen as a negative to their characters (and I won’t lie; 9-Volt’s retro Nintendo microgames are always a highlight), Orbulon for just being amusing seeing him trying to grapple with Earth’s customs, Jimmy T. For being fabulous and smooth with his dancing moves, and Mona for having a new job every single game and having an eccentric personality that fits perfectly within a series as deranged as WarioWare. It’s been said a lot by people who know about the cast, but Nintendo is missing out not placing these characters into more projects, be it the mainline or spinoff Mario games, or even their own TV show.
But that’s just talking about the characters themselves. What about the microgames themselves? Well, unfortunately, the controls are hit-and-miss, but there are more hits. When you first play, most of the forms you do end up working as you expect, but yet, for a couple of microgames, even when you do get in the proper stance, the game may end up expecting a movement that may not be obvious at first, like learning how to twist your joy-cons in the right way to either wring out wet clothes or flip a pancake onto a plate. Sometimes, it may not even be enough, and the game may not work for you. The microgame where you have to ring bells on time only managed to work for me three times out of twenty. Other times, however, it will just take a couple of failures to realize how they work. For example, the swimming synchronization microgame will have you learn to go against the form stance to work out how to pose properly. Most of the time, if you think fast enough, you can use the joy-cons properly and get the results the game wants. It’s not going to be easy, and multiple playthroughs would be required to master these microgames, but it is possible.
Each microgame can stand out loudly and proudly with its graphics and music styles. One of the best parts about the WarioWare series is that the developers just throw anything at the wall and see what works, both in terms of gameplay ideas, and how they look and sound. Some microgames offer you, 3D models of characters, to control music that sounds like a children’s music class provided the sound effects, and others have 2D animated characters that look like puppets scribbled in and have majestic ballroom music. These kinds of touches on the microgames make the series a blast to see just how they function.
After completing the main story, you will end up unlocking three different types of extra challenges. One is a standard mix of all the microgames you unlocked so far and seeing how far you can get, another is where all the microgames are going at max speed, and the final level is a max difficulty challenge where if you fail once, it’s game over. There are also a couple of other fun challenges to do, including one where you have to complete 20 microgames as thoroughly as possible to lose the most calories, and a couple of side games, including a mode where you have to clean sentient dirty kitchenware, and a mode where you roll around as a red bird and have to defend some flowers. It’s not as much as other WarioWare games, especially Gold (which is still the peak of the series personally), but it’s still nice to see an effort to offer some variety.
However, the real replay value of this game will come with multiplayer modes. Be it mimicking actions that you see the other person performing while facing away from the TV screen, playing red light green light with Medusa, racing to the end of a board to get to a rocket ship, and just playing the microgames with another person in the story mode, there are plenty of ways to have fun here with others. You’re going to get more mileage out of this game if you’re playing with friends or family who can keep up with this type of gameplay style.
There are better ways to see if you’re into the WarioWare series, like the original game on the NSO expansion pack, but if you are already a fan of the series, this is more of the fun and zany gameplay style you would love. The microgames are still all quirky and fun to experience as always, and still have the same great cast of characters surrounding them. The controls aren’t the most responsive at times, but they’re still easy enough to at least work with, and most get a good high score. It’s not Wario’s most well-polished game, especially for those looking for a single-player experience. Still, for a true WarioWare fan or someone looking for a multiplayer adventure, this is one vacation worth looking into.