WarioWare: Move It! has a huge accessibility issue and players are paying the price

Wario running in WarioWare: Move It!
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The WarioWare party game series is arguably one of Nintendo’s most underrated - and genuinely bizarre - franchises. No other games on the company’s various systems will challenge you to shove a finger up a giant nose, enter the body of a chicken to squeeze out an egg, or scratch Wario’s back for fun. In the series’ latest Nintendo Switch installment, WarioWare: Move It!, this weird and wonderful vibe remains, but one major issue lets down the game - and, more importantly, its players - greatly.

WarioWare: Move It! is an almost entirely motion-controlled game. The action boils down to players taking on a series of ‘microgames’ (simple minigames with a very short time limit) back to back, going faster and faster until they lose all their lives. Move It! is in many ways an evolution of the Nintendo Wii’s 2006 WarioWare game, Smooth Moves, in that players must perform certain poses with their controllers - called Forms - for each microgame. These include the Sky-Stretch Form (which has you stretch your arms above your head) and Tug o’ War (which has you hold your Joy-Con in a horizontal line like a rope).

However, upon loading up WarioWare: Move It! and heading into its options menu, you’d be forgiven for thinking that something is missing. After choosing the number of people playing, only one option exists, which allows you to select whether you’re right or left-handed. No doubt, for a motion-controlled game, this is a crucial setting, but beyond this, there are no further accessibility options at all.

The problem here is cemented further by the fact that with the exception of one Form - which instead requests that you get down on the floor - all the Forms are intended to be performed standing up, so that you’re able to use your entire body. You’re expected to squat, move your hips, jump, walk on the spot, and many more activities in quick succession. While this is fantastic fun for many, this demand excludes a large number of players from being able to enjoy the game at all. 

 Access denied 

A boss in WarioWare: Move It!

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Move It! doesn't offer seated alternatives for any of its microgames, which feels like a huge oversight. During my time playing, I tested them all out in a seated position to see if the standing requirement was necessary, and while some of the time you can perform the actions as intended while seated, others - like the aforementioned squatting and jumping ones - are for obvious reasons, impossible.

Ultimately, this boils down to one enormous issue - if you have different mobility needs, you’ll never be able to play Move It! as the developers intended. Every time you load up the game, you’re immediately hit with a message informing you that the “best results” will be achieved by standing up. This further begs the question of how options to enable people with different mobility needs to play were overlooked during development, when the game acknowledges its own limitations right from the start.   

For obvious reasons, this is hugely disappointing. In recent years, there have been greater strides made across the games industry as a whole to improve accessibility in gaming. God of War Ragnarök, for example, has over 70 accessibility features, with many of those aimed at people with different mobility needs, as well as those who are hard of hearing and have limited vision. Meanwhile, PlayStation is releasing its Access Controller for the PlayStation 5 next month, which is completely customizable and allows gamers to set up all its buttons in a configuration that works for them.

A large part of this movement towards inclusivity is thanks to the hard work of charities like SpecialEffect and AbleGamers, which are dedicated to improving accessibility in gaming by adapting technology to suit those with different accessibility needs, and working with developers to help create more inclusive options within games. 

Players deserve better

Characters in WarioWare: Move It!

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Getting back to WarioWare: Move It! then, and it’s clear that its complete lack of accessibility options just isn’t good enough. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes ‘cheese’ the motion controls by imitating the movement with just your Joy-Con controllers. However, this isn’t consistent, particularly for those clearly looking for a more subtle movement triggered by moving your body rather than frantically swinging the controllers. Beyond that, tricking the system just isn’t as fun as being able to fully participate, and players shouldn’t be forced into doing so if that’s the only way that they’re able to clear the games.

In my case, I’m personally unable to remain standing in one spot for lengthy periods of time, which forces me to take breaks during longer play sessions (or simply sit for the Forms that don’t require full-body movement). However, I’m fortunate in that it’s possible for me to get up and play as the developers intended when required, and this isn’t an option for everyone. It’s not fair that anyone in this position will have a worsened experience simply because an option for them to join in doesn’t exist.

If you’re a big Nintendo fan on the lookout for more brilliant games, be sure to check out our list of the best Nintendo Switch games for some new recommendations. You can also keep up with future releases with our roundup of upcoming Switch games.

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.