(Wii)

Game Review

We Ski & Snowboard Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Stuart Reddick

Looks like We Ski & Snowboard hit a tree before it managed to reach the bottom of the slope

Back in May 2008, Namco Bandai released the first third-party game to incorporate Nintendo’s Wii Balance Board. Though the game was a huge hit for Namco Bandai when it came to sales, it was received rather poorly by many game critics. Many cited the game as being too simple and the lack of any real challenge made it feel like a chore.

Hoping to ride the wave of success that We Ski did in terms of sales, Namco Bandai has released a follow-up to the original, appropriately titled We Ski & Snowboard. This time around, gamers can hit the slopes with ski poles or a snowboard and perform some new tricks. Besides that though, We Ski & Snowboard is basically the same game as its predecessor.

In a nutshell, We Ski & Snowboard allows players to fully explore a beautiful and breath-taking open world ski resort that Namco Bandai has created. By putting on your snowboard or skis, players can pull off tricks by performing certain gestures with the Wii Remote or just do a speed run down the slope.

However, there’s a slight little problem with the game. You see, We Ski & Snowboard is focused solely on taking everything one step at a time and doing things at your pace. The game offers little to no challenge, thus promoting the emphasis it puts on introducing casual gamers to the Wii Balance Board. The only real challenge of the game is to try and unlock all the articles of clothing for your character. Besides that, there’s nothing there to keep the player coming back for more.

If you’ve played We Ski, you should already know exactly what I’m talking about. At first, the game appears to be quite fun, skiing down the mountain attempting to execute tricks and keep your balance. After a couple of runs down the hill, the gameplay starts to lose its shine. With little to no objectives on the slope, it all ends up feeling more like a chore than entertainment.

What the game lacks in depth though it makes up for in polish. One example of this would be the interface. Menus are presented in a slick and stylish way, unlike many other games these days. Besides this, the menus are also quite easy to navigate, which is definitely a huge plus for casual gamers that are unquestionably the target audience here.

Another fine example of where the amount of polish is quite evident is in the landscapes. From a graphical perspective, We Ski & Snowboard is a beautiful sight. Each slope looks different from the last and the amount of small little details on the side of the screen is incredible. When going down a slope, seeing a cottage or skiers pass by you is a sight to behold.

Like the original, We Ski can be played in either the day or night. Though both are equally impressive, playing during the night is absolutely stunning. The lighting is simply incredible and a sight to behold. The entire area illuminates itself creating one of the most beautiful landscapes on Wii.

For gamers who have friends that want to join in on all the fun, We Ski & Snowboard offers a split screen mode in which up to four players can ski or snowboard down the slope. Unfortunately though, the entire experience is crippled by the open world feel of the ski resort. Everyone is skiing or snowboarding around wherever they want to and it sort of makes the multiplayer mode pointless. If somebody engages in a conversation, the entire game is interrupted for everyone. Above all, the frame rate suffers a great deal when there are two or more players.

This brings us to the one aspect that could’ve broken We Ski & Snowboard if done wrong; the controls. By using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk as ski poles, players swing them downwards in a pushing motion to get going. Once you’ve gained speed, you can twist the Wii Remote and Nunchuk away from each other to allow your avatar to get into a crouching position. While in this position, your character will gain speed, but at the same time, turning becomes a lot harder.

Wii Balance Board controls also work well. By using this control scheme, players can steer with their character with their feet and performing a little bounce will cause your character to jump. The Wii Balance Board controls are very responsive and work very well. Out of the two control schemes, the Balance Board works a lot better and feels more natural.

Conclusion

Though the lack of depth severely hurts the game, We Ski & Snowboard is a solid sequel to its predecessor. Though much of the game remains unchanged, the addition of snowboards is nice. If you were a fan of the original, you’ll love We Ski & Snowboard. If not, you’re better off investing in another snowboarding game, such as SSX Blur.

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User Comments (11)

antdickensAdmin

#1

antdickens said:

I quite enjoyed the original, but sounds like not a lot has really been added here, shame really, could be really decent.

professorlayton

#2

professorlayton said:

I will admit, We Ski was quite a fun game, despite its lack of depth. We Ski & Snowboard is basically the same game except snowboards have been added to the mix. It's not really the sequel I was expecting when I first heard about the game.

DamoAdmin

#3

Damo said:

This just strikes me as a criminally lazy update. Shame on you, Namco Bandai.

Nanaki

#4

Nanaki said:

Shame really. I am trying to find a reason to justify buying the balance board. Looks like it'll be a little while yet!

calculon

#5

calculon said:

Maybe the third iteration will turn into something better - it lookslike they're building the game into something special, but unfortunately this release really does sound like less than a half-way house.

I never bought the original We Ski and I hate the controls and visual style of SSX Blur (SSX 3 is my all-time favourite iteration of the series, with Tricky coming a close second)

I was tempted to buy We Ski and Snowboard but if there's nothing more to do than move from point to point and the multi-player suffers, then I see little incentive. Like I said, maybe next time.

Carlos27

#6

Carlos27 said:

mm i have put more than 6hr to this game and i still enjoy it.
The mountains (each) are bigger than the one in We Ski, and are really fun. The graphics are really improved.

There is more than the unlockables, you have different challenges, race, slalom, half pipe and collecting objects.. there is also some "hide and seek" games, when you have to find people based on a hint.. and so on.

I really don't understand why something that doesn't have a precise objective to the whole game is not deep. The objective is to have fun with your toys (snowboard and Skis) and a big, beautiful, and exciting playground (two mountains) .. the challenges, the unlockables, and some other cool stuff like achievements that you made through the game (like jumping over a cliff, finding a strange girl, finding a secret place) are just extras.

Other thing that the review doesn't mention is that.. while is true that in multiplayer everyone can wander at their pleasure, when you enter a challenge, you enter with your partner and thats where the competition begins. Think the big mountains like a fun overworld of the mario games, to enter the multiplayer games.

For me is a 9/10 if you enjoy.. the pleasure of be creative and found joy in riding through the wilderness of the mountains alone, or doing crazy tricks, or just.. hanging around.. you know.. like real ski and snowboard ;)

Wii Folder have a good tour...
http://wiifolder.com/?p=260

maka

#8

maka said:

I just bought this and I'm enjoying it a lot. It does have some flaws, but overall it's pretty amazing. About the lack of depth, as Carlos27 said, there are many other challenges like races, trick runs, half pipe, and the delivery game is fun (and not easy at all), trying to find someone on the mountain with just a small image of where they are. There are also some secret paths and the mountain is totally open terrain, so it'll take some time to discover all the possible paths.

BTW, when I go skiing, I don't need extra "content", just going up and down the slopes is enough and lots of fun. This game is as closest as I've seen any game replicate that feeling, right down to the crappy sound systems the skiing resors have :D

And one other thing. The controls are configured by default so that you turn left when you lean left and right when you lean right (no doubt so people that haven't done any skiing can play the game from the start), but the game gives the chance to invert them and then they really become much more realistic, as when you ski you must put your weight on the foot outside of the direction you want to turn, so to turn left, you switch your weight to the right and viceversa. Also, you don't really have to lean to the sides, just slightly lifting your foot works fine, so you have a lot of control and it does feel very much like real skiing.

And last, I read a lot of complains that the game doesn't detect your forward-backward motion, but then, that wouldn't add a lot to the game because when you ski you ALWAYS lean forward (meaning you're weight must always be on the front of your skis). You never lean backwards unless you want to crash badly. So I guess the game could simulate that too, but then people would probably complain that it's too hard and tiring to maintain the correct skiing posture for so long :p

And about the whole casual/hardcore thing, this game is perfect for just everyone, just like real skiing. You can go easy, just going down trying not to fall on the easier slopes, or you can go on the harder ones and believe me, you'll need some practice before you can do those without falling, and then go to the slalom challenges and try not to miss any gate (with the balance board if possible). Last, try to go to the slope with all the crazy rails and go down the whole path without falling from the rails... The game does have its serious challenges, if you bother looking for them!

LEGEND_MARIOID

#9

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I never bought the first game and i've been told this is a better version of the first. I bought it and it serves a multi-purpose well. You can be completely casual in your approach or you can try and complete various aspects in the game. Its shallow, but its also a sim-style game to a certain degree. Your being harsh I think as if the 1st deserves a 7, so does this. I prefer snowboarding to skiing anyway ;-)

EpicMegaman64

#11

EpicMegaman64 said:

Although this game does have some small problems, this is actually one of my favorite games ever made. There are so many things to do and secrets to find. It's too bad not many people share my opinions; A Wii U We Ski game would be amazing!

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