Nintendo has been expected to deliver some sort of next-generation console — probably a revamp of the Nintendo Switch — in the next year or so. As I played the new WarioWare: Move It game with my kids by waving around Joy-Con controllers, I kept hoping the next version of Joy-Cons remain as inventive as the Switch’s. I also want them to get better.
Move It is a game full of minigames, which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the WarioWare series. It’s about random and downright weird challenges you have to figure out and pull off before an all-too-quick timer ends. Some WarioWare games use buttons or touchscreens. The last WarioWare game on the Switch focused on platform-style gaming using Joy-Con buttons. This time, all the fun is had standing up and waving the Joy-Con controllers around. The motion-control action feels like throwback Nintendo Wii games. I found the challenges sometimes brilliant and sometimes frustrating. The Joy-Con motion sensors aren’t always great.
My reference point for motion gaming has shifted to VR action games on the Quest 2 and 3 or PlayStation VR 2, where motion controls are more precise. Controls on WarioWare: Move It felt more primitive. Sometimes that odd motion awkwardness can create fun challenges, like figuring out how to pluck a giant vegetable up, or slice something fast with a giant sword. Other times, I found myself flapping my arms and getting confused that nothing was happening.
A recent wacky VR motion game, What the Bat, has clear bat-like controls, but what you can do with the motions changes. In WarioWare: Move It, your interface keeps changing, too. Different poses with controllers held in different directions (you’re directed to your form before playing each game), and sometimes even using the Joy-Con’s dormant IR camera to do things like see your fingers and hand (why don’t more Switch games use that IR camera?).
The results vary, like I said, and it just made me wish for even more motion-precise and enhanced Joy-Cons. It would be great if the next Switch had controllers with upgraded gyroscopes and accelerometers, and maybe even other sensors added to make future Joy-Con do even more (in addition to overdue analog triggers, and sturdier analog sticks).
WarioWare’s motion-only controls also mean, much like Switch Sports, that this isn’t a game you can play while in a car or plane. You also need to have the wrist straps attached, since some games play with letting the Joy-Cons dangle from your strap.
What WarioWare: Move It does show off, though, is how innovative the Switch’s hardware still is compared to other consoles. Having controllers that split apart and can handle motion tracking or transform into other “forms” based on position still feels like an underutilized Switch superpower, even six years after release.
I appreciate that WarioWare: Move It exists, and its multiple minigames kept my kids happy. A second party mode adds Mario Party-like board game-style play, which changes up the WarioWare equation a bit. How much replay value this gets you depends on how much you enjoy playing these little challenges over and over. I still think the button-mashing WarioWare games that use the controllers and don’t require moving around feel a little more classic and timeless.
Make more WarioWare, Nintendo! But also, keep evolving the Switch’s hardware possibilities with the next Switch too.