No game better encapsulates its mascot than WarioWare. That the obnoxious garlic-guzzling pie-boy should appear in a game that champions lunatic speed, off-the-wall cheekiness and laughing at the ridiculousness of others is completely logical. He's the black sheep of Nintendo and with the Wii's need for body flailing making fools of us all, you'd think he wouldn't have a more natural home. You'd think.
Back to Basics
Like Wario himself, the game is pretty simple. Five-second minigames played in fast succession. That's it. Mastery begins and ends with recognising particular games and remembering what needs to be done to solve them. We're not talking rocket science here - it's more a case of choosing between shaking, poking, lunging or twisting. Ask anyone who's played WarioWare: Touched on the DS and expect to hear babbling love for the stylus incorporation; Wario knows how to make you love Nintendo hardware - and with the Wii it's really no different.
The game has a barefaced approach towards remote usage; it acknowledges that you're holding a rectangular piece of plastic, never hiding behind the silly idea that it's actually a sword/gun/bow/bat or similar bit of useful equipment. Wario picks up the remote in the opening Indiana Jones spoofing cinematic and rubs it in your face. Tongue firmly in cheek, the game refers to the remote as the Form Baton, a magical stick that can be used to replicate the movement of other objects - exactly how you'd explain the Wii remote to a child or the village idiot.
Work That Remote
The loose definition of what the remote represents allows the developers the freedom to do anything they want with it. One minute of play can have you turning a key in a lock, balancing a panda on a ball by tilting a horizontally held remote, grinding up herbs by using the remote as a pestle in your cupped hand mortar, waking up slumbering monks with some bell bashing, throwing some darts, shoving a small child into a mushroom patch or rolling morph ball Samus into a hole.
No other game romances the Wii remote like Smooth Moves. It gives every remote movement sensor a proper workout and it's the first title to fully embrace the fling-your-body-into-it ethos propagated by those terrible Wii adverts. While the adverts have the models, sorry, gamers leaping over sofas and striking ridiculous poses behind remotes, no other game actually works with such a posing style of play. WarioWare demands it.
It's not all arm-rotating joy, though. Maybe developers overestimated the challenge gamers would face in adapting to the remote, because the game that's been built around it is the easiest WarioWare yet. Although the 15 remote forms make this the most technically complicated instalment - after all, how could the four D-Pad directions and single button controls of the GBA and GC versions compete with the all-singing, all-dancing remote? - it lacks the same challenge of earlier Wares.
The games are more basic than normal. Very few require precise timing and can only be failed by completely missing the point of the motion involved, such as lifting up when you should be pushing forward, or moving when you should be still. We missed having to chop wood just as a power bar was at its max or trying to catch a glass as it slid along the bar. Tilting the controller back to drink a glass of water is too simplistic; you can either do it or you can't. Also, switching poses between each game means that the whole mad, speedy dash of minigames is slowed right down. It seems a little naive to assume that gamers will trip up through physical exertion - the single-player is easily beaten in two hours.