By Marc Saltzman
Gannett News Service
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If "WarioWare: Smooth Moves" is any indication, it's going to be a fantastic year for Nintendo Wii owners.
Nintendo's latest is not only one of the best games available for its best-selling new video game console, but more so than any other Wii game to date, it takes full advantage of the clever Wii remote and its built-in motion sensor.
In case you haven't played an older "WarioWare" game for the Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS or Game Boy Advance, these titles offer a collection of increasingly challenging microgames that take only a few seconds apiece to complete (along with a few slightly longer minigames).
The goal is to successfully complete as many of these wacky microgames as possible, within the very short period of time, before advancing to the next stage.
In this respect, "Smooth Moves" is no different from past "WarioWare" games, except all 200 or so microgames are all divided into "forms" based on how you're supposed to hold the controller.
For example, the basic controller form is called "remote control," where you hold the Wii remote like a TV remote (pointed at the screen). A related microgame may have you shine a flashlight to expose a little critter hiding in a dark room or vacuum up blowing leaves by moving your arm up and down.
The "chauffeur" form, on the other hand, has you gripping the remote horizontally and you might have to drive a car to the finish line on a winding road. The "umbrella" form has you holding the remote vertically as if holding an umbrella over your head. A microgame in this form might be to swat a pesky fly. You can saw wood while holding the remote with two hands in the "tug of war" form.
One of the more challenging forms is the "waiter," where you lay the remote on your open palm as if carrying a tray of food. Tough microgames in this form include rolling a ball on a wobbly board so that it drops into a hole in the middle, or balancing a broom in your open hand.
At the end of each section is a final "boss" level, with a slightly longer and more difficult task to complete. Puzzles also get faster as the game goes on, so you might only get three seconds to pick an apple from a tree and drop it into a basket instead of the five seconds earlier in the game.
While the story is difficult to follow, the animated cut-scene sequences are amusing to watch before and after each group of microgames is completed. The cast of characters is back from past "WarioWare" games, including Wario, Mona and Jimmy.
The entire game can be completed in a weekend, but at least you can unlock additional content -- including minigames, such as an Arkanoid-style breakout game and a Ping-Pong diversion -- as well as a few multiplayer modes for up to four players, animated story sequences and collectible cards.
Quite simply, "WarioWare: Smooth Moves" was made for the Wii. This family-friendly collection of microgames is a blast to play -- and even fun to watch someone else try.
Let's hope Nintendo is hard at work on a sequel.
Balance a broom in your open hand in "WarioWare: Smooth Moves."
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