Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wii Games

We Ski and Snowboard

Wii first came out with a game called WE SKI, or as it was known in European release, FAMILY SKI.

I bought this game and enjoyed it immensely! But as soon as they came out with the improved version, called WE SKI AND SNOWBOARD/FAMILY SKI AND SNOWBOARD, I lost interest in the original.

The new version just runs better. The controls are more responsive, the gameplay is smoother, and the action is out of this world.

You can create your own character, called a Mii, for those not into the Wii thing, or choose from various pre-created characters. Choose outfits, hats, and brand name skis or snowboards. Then you hit the slopes!

You can ski the resort or the mountain, called Mount Angrio. The park is a series of hills and slopes geared to resemble regular ski resorts, with runs ranging from easy to stomach dropping. There is a stunt park, with snow piles, half-pipes, rails, and boxes for the shredders. And there is a monstrous ramp where you can learn aerial tricks and earn points as you advance in skill.

Elsewhere in the resort are scenic, groomed trails for those who just want to relax and travel, forests to test your navigation abilities, and even lookout points where you can stop to admire the scenery! Ski in the daytime, evening, or dead of night, when the trails are lit up with very realistic lamps! The snow crunches and swooshes under your skis, and you can choose music from the extensive soundtrack of tunes!

Mount Angrio is a brutal, untamed wild venue with nail-biting, narrow ledges, ice caves, rocks and slaloms, designed to test your virtual skiing skill.

Whether in the resort or on the mountain, you can choose to play games to earn gear and to unlock secret courses. You can run races against friends or computer characters, take ski or snowboard lessons, participate in scavenger hunts, or go on guided tours with computer characters who will show you around and tell you how the various areas can best be handles.

It's best to take the lessons - the virtual instructor teaches you how to start and stop, how to control your turns and moves, etc.

To participate in lessons, races, tours and games, you just look for labelled characters who stand at various stations at the base of the resort/mountain. As you near a certain character, it will be revealed as to its job - ski instructor, tour guide, a fellow skier who wants to challenge you to a race. Once you click on it, it will reveal what it has to offer, and you either accept it or move on.

In the resort, there are chair lifts and gondola lifts to take you to your chosen starting point. Out on the mountain, it's a helicopter ride! Whether in a lift, gondola, or helicopter, you get a panoramic view of the park as you ride up the slopes. Or if you'd rather just get to it, you can skip the ride and just appear at your starting point.

Once your run is over, you can hit the replay button which will show you a movie of your run, from a variety of camera angles.

To play, you use your wii-mote and the accompanying nunchuk, and you move your hands as if they were ski poles. You steer with turns of the wii-mote/nunchuk, left or right. The buttons on both controllers perform various functions and it is through these buttons that you perform your stunts, jumps, flips, wedelns, etc. Combinations of shaking, jerking, pressing buttons, etc will give you a remarkably invigorating ski or snowboard experience!

You can't die in the game, but if you fall off the mountain ledges into the yawning crevasses, your guy gets renewed back where you were, and you continue on. If you are in a challenge, and you keep failing, the game will reload you past your failure point and just count the challenge as a loss - the idea is that the game doesn't allow you to stall in perpetual limbo if you can't beat a challenge. It allows you to fail and back out of that particular event.

The views as you descend are breathtaking! You really feel as if you are hitting the slopes! The ledge drops make me gasp and reach for something to hold onto!

There is so much to do in this game that you have to go from what I've said and try it yourself. It's good for up to four players - but each player has to have their own wii-mote and nunchuk so a team of skiers or snowboarders can be expensive, accessory-wise. If you're playing alone, you can have a posse of AIs as your team mates. They will follow you on your run. Heh,'s fun to try and lose them on the slopes!

I use a wireless nunchuk, because the corded variety can limit your movement in very elaborate stunts. The wireless nunchuk gets its signal from a dongle attached to the wii-mote and acts exactly as a wired one. Just make sure you get a quality product.

You can also play using the Wii Balance Board, which is a pad-thing that you stand on to move your character. Instead of turning, slipping, and shaking the wii-mote and nunchuk, you stand on the board and actually make the turns and motions with your body, as you would if actually on the slopes.

I have used the balance board a couple of times, but I find I prefer the hand controls. To each his own. some people hate the hand controls, and prefer the more immersive play you get on the balance board.

I'm including some YouTube videos of gameplay and trailers so you can see what's what with WE SKI AND SNOWBOARD, but if you have a Wii, I seriously recommend taking this one home to try for yourself. It is - bar none - the most intense Wii game I have and I enjoy playing it as often as I can!



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