Game Review

Winter Sports 2012: Feel the Spirit Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Mark Reece

Winter blunderland

Another month, and yet another collection of motion controlled recreations of various sports rears its head on Wii, a console that already has sports-based minigame collections in unparalleled abundance. The latest contender to make a foolish bid to overthrow Wii Sports Resort as the undisputed champion of must-have titles for casual Wii-owning sports fans? Winter Sports 2012: Feel the Spirit, courtesy of PQube and DTP Entertainment.

We’re not going to beat about the bush here: Winter Sports 2012 is terrible. Right from the off, it assaults players’ unsuspecting eyes with bland, garish visuals portraying the usual powdery snow of the pistes as nothing more than a solid mass of white. Character models don’t fare much better as they jerkily lollop their way down ski slopes or around ice rinks in some of the most unconvincing animation routines ever pressed onto a disc. Rounding off Winter Sports 2012’s woeful production values are a few pieces of irritating music — looped constantly — that will likely lead you to jam knives inside your TV’s speakers just to put an end to the unrelenting audial torture

That might sound like we’re being overly critical; after all, graphics and audio should always come second to entertaining gameplay. Sadly, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with Winter Sports 2012’s control schemes, its front end nonetheless surrounds controls that are so woefully unresponsive and give the player such a miniscule amount of tactile feedback or feeling that they’re actually governing what their on-screen character is up to that they sap away any of the potential enjoyment that might have been found.

This applies whether you're using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo or the Wii Balance Board, which Winter Sports 2012 supports in all of its ski-based events; for example, attempting to traverse the twisting, winding slalom while standing on the Balance Board is a bona fide lesson in futility. The only exception is the ski jump event, which Winter Sports 2012 manages to pull off with relatively few blunders.

The ten disciplines on hand for players to lurch their way through — slalom, downhill skiing, ski jump, ski cross, curling, giant slalom, Super G (a mixture of downhill and slalom), short track (ice skating race), ice speedway (motorcycle race) and snowboard freestyle — can be played as either singular events or within cups, of which there are a handful present, each one containing a predetermined set of sports. In addition to being cumbersome and unwieldy, the majority of the events are plodding and unexciting; it's most apparent during the ice speedway and downhill skiing segments.

Alternatively, Challenge mode presents players with over 30 challenges spread across all available activities. The objective of each is seemingly designed to help hone skills in each discipline, though the lethargic responsiveness of the controls makes doing so utterly pointless.

All told, there’s not a tremendous amount of content included. Therefore, should you be masochistic enough to tumultuously slog your way through every cup and challenge and somehow coerce even a glimmer of enjoyment out of what’s there, it’ll all be over before you know it. Following that, Winter Sports 2012 supports multiplayer for up to four players, with races taking place via split-screen while the remaining events employ a play and pass mechanic, forcing the people that you claim to hold in high regard to sit and watch as you oafishly and helplessly attempt to perform well, perhaps crying a little inside while they do so.

Conclusion

Had the accompanying nine disciplines proven to be as inoffensively playable as the ski jump event, Winter Sports 2012: Feel the Spirit would have been a serviceable and adequately entertaining collection of sports minigames. As it stands though, what we have here is nothing short of a travesty. It’s an ugly and uncompromisingly detestable assemblage of poorly recreated winter sporting events that has no business even existing. If you purchase and subsequently subject yourself to Winter Sports 2012, then you have nobody to blame but yourself. You have been warned.

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User Comments (21)

AutumnShantel

#2

AutumnShantel said:

"We’re not going to beat about the bush here: Winter Sports 2012 is terrible."
I like the straight forwardness.

eviLaTtenDant

#3

eviLaTtenDant said:

Can't say this wasn't expected. Still a shame though.
I think there's quite some potential in fleshing out a few disciplines and giving them a RPG-like career mode with different tracks / ski-jumps. As a download or budget priced retail game this could sell decently imo.

warioswoods

#6

warioswoods said:

I love the skiing games in Wii Fit Plus, once you get the hang of steering with your weight. I guess I'll stick to those for my balance board exercise.

Dodger

#7

Dodger said:

Looks like Wii Fit Plus still is your best bet for winter games on Wii. I've tried M&S @ tWOG, it just isn't fun. At all.

Seriously, this genre is horribly underrepresented. We need a good winter sports collection.

Mok

#8

Mok said:

that will likely lead you to jam knives inside your TV’s speakers just to put an end to the unrelenting audial torture

Or you could, y'know, just mute the sound? This sounds like a terrible game anyway so I don't think I'd torture myself with it. Muted or not.

Edgy

#9

Edgy said:

Vonseux: the Nintendo Seal of Quality is Nintendo's guarantee that the product will work with the system it is designed for, not that the product is enjoyable...

Once again a top quality review of a poorly made game. I'm sure if it did what it was supposed to by having tighter controls it would likely be more enjoyable and could then be forgiven a little for its graphical torture of the eyes. But seeing as the developers haven't got that right they only have themselves to blame if the costs of making this game aren't outweighed by the sales figures...

Mr_Reece

#10

Mr_Reece said:

Going by what I saw and experienced, I estimate the cost of development to be somewhere around the region of thrupence eightpenny.

Nilkad_Naquada

#11

Nilkad_Naquada said:

@Mr_Reece: can you tell me what "thrupence eightpenny" is worth in american currency please? i'm just kinda wonsering. also my cousin who is a huge winter sport fan bought this game and having played it i can say that i wholeheartedly agree with everything you said in this review. were the gameplay better i could suffer through the graphics and audio, but if they aren't gonna bother to make the gameplay decent then just forget it.

Mr_Reece

#12

Mr_Reece said:

@Nilkad_Naquada lol I couldn't tell you mate. We don't use currency like that anymore. In fact, I made that statement on the basis that thrupence eightpenny was a small amount of money, when it could very well be a shedload of money.

That's your homework for tonight: find out the modern value of thrupence eightpenny in both GBP and USD.

theblackdragonAdmin

#14

theblackdragon said:

@Mr_Reece: if you meant 'thruppence', that's three pennies, and then 'eightpenny' would be pretty much what it says, so we're looking at eleven British pennies. everything i've read on the internet while trying to figure this out seems to suggest that (decimal) penny coins are still being minted and are in circulation in the UK, so i'm not quite sure what you mean, lol...

@Nilkad_Naquada: eleven British pennies is currently about 17-ish of our own pennies. :3

Mr_Reece

#15

Mr_Reece said:

@theblackdragon yeah but we only used that terminology when we were still using the old version of our currency. So 11 pennies back then would have been a vastly different sum to 11 pennies in the decimal currency we use now.

theblackdragonAdmin

#16

theblackdragon said:

@Mr_Reece: If we're talking pre-decimal value, the penny was apparently worth 1/240th of a pound (and i'm not taking it any farther than that, there was a lot of squirrelly BS with silver amounts and whatnot going on before the 1700s and such, eff that). if the current British penny is 1/100th of a pound, eleven of the old pennies are roughly 4.58 decimal pennies, which is a tad over 7 US pennies atm. :3

MattL

#19

MattL said:

You can tell a game is really crap when the conversation turns to decimal values and old english pennies :) Don't think I'll be popping out on t'old penny farthing t'pick this up from ye olde shoppe anytime soon.

Iggy-Koopa

#21

Iggy-Koopa said:

Such a shame, I actually like Winter Sports in general and would love to see a decent game come based around the concept. I might check out the 3DS version, thanks @andypqube.

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