When Nintendo unveiled the Wii's revolutionary controller in 2006 and talked about three-dimensional motion sensing technology that really made you part of the experience, gamers imagined swinging swords, throwing passes and aiming rifles.
Nintendo imagined picking noses.
That's just one of the things you're tasked with in "Wario Ware Smooth Moves," Nintendo's fifth entry in the series that started as a total goof on the Game Boy Advance. But you won't be picking noses for very long: Three seconds into your nose-mining, you'll be tasked with pushing a girl (Wario is mean like that), huffing through the final stretch of a marathon, and sawing a lumberjack's log in half.
"Smooth Moves" (rated E, $49.99) contains over 200 three- to five-second "microgames," each taking unique advantage of the remote's motion-sensing tech. Before each itty-bitty game, you're shown how to hold the remote to accomplish your upcoming task. The positions have clever names that make it easier to translate what you're seeing onscreen: For the Chauffeur position, you hold the remote like a steering wheel and for the Samurai, you hold it down by your hip as if you were about to unsheathe a sword.
During any one stretch of microgames, you may have to hold the remote in fifteen different configurations. This, and the barrage of silly tasks, succeeds in really keeping you on your toes. And in making you look appropriately ridiculous to bystanders.
Holding the remote up to your nose like an elephant's trunk, you must pick apples from a tree and drop them into a basket. Keeping it by your side, you must gyrate to keep a hula hoop in orbit. If you don't mind feeling silly — and after jumping around the room to return a volley in the "Wii Sports'" tennis game, you should be over that by now — "Smooth Moves" offers hours of bizarro-fun game play.
Longtime Nintendo fans will also get a charge out of a series of microgames based on classic titles from the gaming giant's ample catalog. Within a span of thirty seconds, you're rolling "Metroid's" Samus around in her sphere form, hitting coin blocks with 8-bit Mario and going fishing with the good folks from "Animal Crossing." You can even spot one of the puppies from "Nintendogs."
Ranked against the other four "Wario Ware" games, "Smooth Moves" sits only behind the second GBA game in the series, "Wario Ware Twisted." In "Twisted," a gyro in the game cartridge itself measured how you turned and rotated the device while performing tasks like shaving a beard. Adding a physical element to this series augments its ridiculous nature. Why shouldn't your real-world self be subjected to the same silliness as the people stuck in these oddball microgames?
The only place where "Smooth Moves" doesn't seem so smooth is in multiplayer mode. Players can't get in on the fun together, and instead must pass the remote around between games. Of course, it's still fun to watch your gamer-mates dance, jab and swing, but it would have been so much cooler if "Smooth Moves" had contests where players could try to out-gyrate each other. (Although, with extra Wii remotes ringing up at $40 a pop, that kind of multiplayer mode could take a bite out of your wallet.)
Still, when you couple the zany microgames with "Wario Ware's" trademark out-there graphics — what other game combines clip art, claymation, crude hand-drawn squiggles, and polygonal heroes? — "Smooth Moves" becomes another showpiece for the loveable Wii. No game since "Wii Sports" — and yes, that includes "Zelda" — has put the controller's feature set to better use. Seriously, haven't you always wished for a game where you could literally put a cell phone through a cheese grater?