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Tired of tennis? Bored with bowling? Now, you can use the Wii’s motion- sensitive controller to pick digital noses, wave poo-covered sticks and scrub cows’ rear ends.

Nintendo’s nasty foil to Mario is back with more than 200 ornery micro-games in “WarioWare: Smooth Moves” for the Wii.

The game opens with Wario stumbling upon an ancient temple that houses an artifact that looks remarkably like a Wii remote. It’s called a “Form Baton” because it’s used to create the different gestures, or forms, necessary for gameplay.

Each level features a series of micro-games, with each contest lasting just a few seconds before the next one starts. Players might start by sticking dentures in a granny’s mouth, then move to twirling a pizza or balancing on an enormous ball before they wrap up by dueling with a ninja.

The games make some of the most innovative uses of the Wii controller yet. In addition to more traditional gestures, the game includes the “elephant,” holding the controller up to the nose; the “samurai,” grasped with both hands on one hip; the “Mohawk,” atop the head; and the “waiter,” balanced in the palm.

As the levels progress, the pace gets faster — forcing the gamer to rapidly switch between gestures and guess what action must be taken before time runs out.

Most of the events are silly, but some hint at the Wii’s potential. For example, a cool sword-wielding game shows what might be coming in future fighting games.

The graphics are usually cheesy and quirky, but that’s part of the fun. A five-second game in which gamers pluck a hair from someone’s nose demands a certain amount of cheesiness.

The basic game is pretty short, but it’s really just the setup for the best part: multiplayer competition. In most of these games, several players can face off in single-elimination showdowns featuring the micro-games from the story mode. In addition, they can compete in new games that feature darts, flying and a goofy event that features two runners attached by a bungee cord.

“Smooth Moves” is an ideal party game, guaranteed to spark laughter among adults as well as kids.

Platform: Wii

Rating: E10+, for everyone 10 and older

On the Web:

SpongeBob Squarepants

Welcome to SpongeBob’s nightmare.

THQ’s “SpongeBob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab” for Nintendo’s Wii takes gamers on their strangest and most interactive trip to Bikini Bottom yet.

The E-rated action game features SpongeBob and his buddies bouncing through the levels, picking up power-ups, solving puzzles and competing in various mini- games.

The action revolves around a series of dreams. It starts with a strange car race and progresses through a city being terrorized by an enormous Krabby Patty, the digestive tract of a giant worm and outer space. In one of the most fun levels, gamers play as a 50-foot-tall Plankton smashing the buildings of Bikini Bottom.

I tested the game on Nintendo’s Wii, so there were plenty of gestures to be performed with the motion-sensitive controller. Most would be familiar to Wii-users — steering wheel, crank handle, joystick — but they still helped make the game more enjoyable.

The graphics aren’t great, but they’re suitably goofy, matching the subject matter.

In addition to the story mode, the game offers several bonus games and activities, such as the SpongeBob Band, in which gamers imitate various instruments.

The game probably won’t appeal to many hard-core gamers, but there’s plenty here for the younger set.

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance

On the Web: gameinfo.php?id=1245&upc=30122

— Brian Bowers


Stripes in 7

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