Review – WarioWare: Move It

Recency bias is a double edged sword, and that’s none more apparent than with Nintendo’s newest release WarioWare: Move It. It was only a couple of years back that Nintendo Switch players got WarioWare: Get It Together to less than glorious fanfare. While I understand what Nintendo was attempting to do with the innovation of mini games from a sprite based point of view, the result was a middling and ho-hum execution of little more than an overly complicated puzzle platformer. The team totally lost the thread for what makes a WarioWare game work: ridiculous expectations and execution.

With WarioWare: Move It, the core ideas from the franchise have come back in a big way. The centralized storyline is as bananas as it’s always been: Wario wins an all inclusive getaway to a tropical island for him and all his friends, and he has to bring his friends, that’s non negotiable. The island apparently is the home of some kind of legendary stones that look suspiciously like Joy-Cons, and what follows are a series of small misadventures from everyone as framing devices to learn the new poses. The entire purpose of playing through story mode is to unlock it for future multiplayer mayhem, so don’t think too much about the rationale for why this crew is together again.

WarioWare: Move It putting out fires

Just your average “use the waterfall to extinguish a cabin fire” scenario.

What matters most is the vibe and the action, and WarioWare: Move It does a fantastic job on multiple fronts. First and foremost, the atmosphere feels properly cartoonish from top to bottom. Instead of having some heady throughline to justify the games, we just have the same madcap situations that players have come to know and love. Ashley’s demon eats too many berries and gets shrunk, so she needs to force feed him new berries to get big again. Mona wants to see a mermaid and goes diving to find one. Orbulon has a fight with his piggy spaceship, loses his memory and thinks he’s a god of the island. All the usual nonsense and more to bring things together.

The introductions for each of the new body movements are also properly attuned to the silliness. Whereas Get It Together really focused on telling you how to use the powers to maximize your success, Move It doesn’t care if you fully get it the first time, and neither should you. Wave your arms in the air, great. Hold your fists together to make a sword hilt, got it. Put a Joy-Con in front of your face for a chicken beak, no problem. It’s a quick bit of explanation without really explaining, because the pose never prepares you for what you actually need to do, which is perfect. Much like WarioWare: Touched, the central concept never necessarily extends to exactly what needs to be done.


Multiplayer proves the Joy-Con near the butt isn’t needed, but they still insist you must for solo play.

So, for example, the squatting pose is sometimes used to execute sumo moves, but you also need to twerk to butt-stamp a series of papers. Your chicken beak pecks at worms and bugs, but you also need to hold back the tears. A crocodile mouth grip might bite something, or possibly do the inverse and mightily open up a treasure chest or the mouth of another cheeky animal. It’s ultimately a subjective thing, which both works and, at times, doesn’t work.

That is to say, the intuitive nature of WarioWare doesn’t necessarily operate properly in the movement sphere. When it came to the original Made In Wario for the Game Boy Advanced, you had to use the buttons in a variety of ways, which is how a video game works: we’ve all seen that no two developers can agree where the jump button should be. But then translating that into gestures doesn’t have the same degree of forgiveness. If the purpose of a pose is to make a bow and arrow pose, I get then using one hand to punch something. I don’t think it works quite as well when you’re pretending to be a weather vane and need to orient yourself in the direction of the wind.

WarioWare: Move It T-posing

Or how T-posing turns into a goddamn Thriller moment.

In that same way, the multiplayer mode of WarioWare: Move It also a similar degree of success. When the games work, they work incredibly well. A mini game mode where you need to creep up on Medusa, incorporating in following the instructions while also being ready to freeze at a moment’s notice, is great fun. It’s an added layer of challenge that allows the player to gain the advantage not because they’re amazing at the game, but because they were paying attention.

Yet the spaceship minigame mode tries to work in a board game aspect that doesn’t work because it’s so unbalanced and penalty heavy. Players need to be the first to reach the spaceship, but you can still win if you just have the most points when someone reaches the launchpad. Given that multiple board game spaces actually steal all your points, rearrange player order and even swap the goal and start, my daughter found herself the lucky winner by never getting to roll the die nor even getting first place in a mini game. I went into the garage to scream for a while in support.

dodo bird race

Pose like a chicken while helping dodo birds race to find the last female of their kind.

But WarioWare: Move It still manages to knock it out of the park because it’s what the fans want. In the grand scheme of things, Mario Party Superstars wasn’t the best of the series, but it was a solid remake of some already great boards AND it had the added bonus of existing in the wake of the highly disappointing Super Mario Party. Similarly, WarioWare: Move It might not be as enjoyable if it were up against another title that held true to the core beliefs, but it has the fortune to be sharing the spotlight with Get It Together, and thus can sing loudly and proudly about being a competent game.

Personally, I really WarioWare: Move It and think it’s the best of the console-exclusive WarioWare titles. It’s visually pleasing and poppy, with plenty of voicework and excellent art moments of hilarity to keep young and old giggling. It’s far, far more movement-based than Smooth Moves, being a good workout replacement since my kids are incredibly bored with Just Dance and want something new to do. The mini games are plentiful and I feel confidence, not boredom, when I cycle back to an activity that I know and can execute. Plus, the multiplayer Doctor mode grades the winner on thumbs up from other players, not actually doing well, so parent or caregiver parents can boost a youngsters ego by helping them win every single time.

WarioWare: Move It twerking

I out-twerked my kids, but why do I feel so bad about it?

As a last note for everyone, be sure to take care of your Joy-Cons and follow the advice given by the warning screen. There are several mini games where you are asked to physically drop your Joy-Con, and the strap is the only thing preventing you from needing to drop seventy dollars to buy a new pair because you thought it would be okay to just drop it on the carpet. Joy-Cons are fragile, expensive and hard to replace things, so take good care of your controllers as you continue to Move It.


Graphics: 7.0

Cartoonishly grand and overly colorful, this dynamic title really grabs the eye of any who load up the game, practically screaming intention in your face. Not recommended first thing in the morning, but otherwise excellent.

Gameplay: 7.5

A true return to form for the series, WarioWare: Move It does require a lot more activity on the player’s behalf, as well as grace to understand the translation of some ideas into gameplay. Multiplayer mode is mostly hits, but the misses are staggering. If you don’t like the first ten minutes, you’ll hate the remainder of the game.

Sound: 7.0

Everyone’s voiced, and the narration is dry and funny throughout. Wario, 9-Volt, and the whole crew have something to say, even if it’s rather standard quips. Bouncy soundtrack helps craft the bombastic nature of the game without distracting.

Fun Factor: 8.5

While it’s physically exhausting for long plays, it’s still a perfect pickup game alone or with friends/family. Replay value is heavily contingent on interest from everyone involved, so the best games come from people who want to WarioWare: Move It.

Final Verdict: 7.5

WarioWare: Move It is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.