|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
We Ski released in May of 2008 to solid if not overly-enthusiastic praise. The simple, family-friendly skiing title did a surprisingly good job of capturing the essence of cruising downhill right from your living room. The biggest draw was the excellent implementation of the Wii Balance Board into the control mechanic. It was also possible (and fairly enjoyable) to play the game with just the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo. But, stepping on the glorified scale made the experience much more pleasing.
As nice as that skiing game was, leaving out snowboarding seemed to be a curious decision. Fast-forward a mere ten months and Wii owners can now pick up We Ski & Snowboard. While there are some interesting additions (including the obvious ability to be a snowboarder) and some wholesome fun to be had, I can't help but feel We Ski & Snowboard is little more than a well-laid plan of the marketing minds at Namco to release the same title twice in one year.
We Ski & Snowboard takes up to four players down a virtual mountain while taking full advantage of the Wii's motion controls via the Wii Remote, Nunchuk, and Balance Board. The virtual skiing and snowboarding won't appeal to a lot of core gamers, but families and youngsters should get a fair bit of mileage out of the title. As with We Ski, Namco Bandai did an excellent job of bringing a glimpse of the mountains to the confines of the living room. Playing with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk is surprisingly enjoyable, and taking advantage of the Balance Board compatibility is a hoot. In fact, the controls offer both simplicity and depth, making the game accessible and rewarding for the casual sect.
We Ski & Snowboard has an indistinguishable interface from We Ski. That's to say, it's very user-friendly and pleasant to navigate. This time around, players will be able to choose between two distinct mountains with lots of terrain, and they will be able to pick from either Miis or a chibi-like set of skiers and snowboarders. Once registered, players can then decide to hit either of the slopes - one featuring resort conditions, the other opting for an untamed, unspoiled outback experience. Both mountains are very well designed, offering a lot of new looks and new challenges for players. They are also amazing mountains to behold. In fact, both games in the franchise are about as graphically pretty as we've seen on the Wii. The environments are filled with great textures and impressive vistas. Also, players can choose to tackle the slopes at day or night, providing for another layer of content and visual stimulus. Getting around the mountains is a breeze, as players will appreciate the ability to enjoy the scenery from the chairlift or quick-travel via the mountain map.
Gameplay in We Ski & Snowboard consists of meeting innumerable denizens of the slopes, challenging them to races, having them join up with you to guide you around, unlocking new gear, and pulling off tricks. All of these objectives are available at your own pace - you never are railroaded by the game. The open world feel provides for a malleable experience that each player can tailor to their liking. If you don't like races, simply take on trick challenges, or skip structure altogether and cruise around the bowls and mogul runs.
If you're not familiar with the ins and outs of the basic controls or how to pull off aerial tricks, it is best to head over to the Ski School. This tutorial is very complete and, like the original, will get anyone ready for the game in about 20 minutes. Experienced players can skip this tutorial if they plan on skiing, as moves are the same as they are in the original. However, it's still a good idea to take the lesson if you plan on slapping on a snowboard, even though the maneuvers are nearly identical to those performed while skiing.