What could have been treated as downloadable content, We Ski & Snowboard simply adds a few new elements to the same simplified and non-rewarding gameplay.
We Ski took credit for being the first third party game to take advantage of the Wii Balance board. Unfortunately, the game suffered from bland gameplay and an awkward control scheme, with or without the Wii Balance Board. Now, one year later, NamcoBandai thought it was important enough to add snowboards to the mix, and sell the game at retail for full price.
If you didn’t play We Ski, you probably won’t be too impressed with the extra content of We Ski & Snowboard. The newest, and most obvious, addition is the use of a snowboard. Placing the Wii Balance board perpendicular to the TV allows the user to mimic the performance of actual snowboarding. While this definitely is cool, the play control as a whole suffers due to lack of speed control. Instead of leaning forward or back to speed up or slow down your speed, the player must still rely on the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo to determine rate of movement. Only lateral movement is determine by the Wii Balance board. Does this really enhance the overall fun factor of the game…not really.
Instead of simply rehashing this game with the optional snowboarding, the developers crafted a couple new mountains to sled through. Much of the game is based around letting the player leisurely explore the mountain to open up opportunities to participate in side quests and missions. Just like the original version, the laid back atmosphere of the game is its biggest downfall. Instead of learning new tricks, growing faster, or unlocking cooler equipment, the player is pretty much rewarded with the fact that a mission was completed. Not having any RPG elements is really a missed opportunity and dumbs-down the game.
Besides having the most basic and casual gameplay around, there are other gripes with this semi-sequel. The game abruptly freezes when there is too much shift in the Wii Balance Board, unintentionally interrupting gameplay. The game does support 4-player split screen, but playing local multiplayer this way is reminiscent of the N64 days when you had to squint to see your quadrant of the screen. And the trick system is so mundane in comparison to any SSX, Tony Hawk or 1080 player.
We Ski & Snowboard is a better game than the original, but all the same nuisances still hinder and slowdown the game’s overall fun factor. If you already own We Ski, there really no reason to put up cash for this version. There is just not enough new content to be labeled as a true sequel. In fact, everything new in this game could easily be treated as DLC, something that the Wii does not support. So instead, Wii owners are forced to purchase a whole new game to get the same experience that the 360 or PSN could easily supply for a fraction of the cost. The simplified gameplay is too simple and never rewards the player for completing challenges. Players might want to check out Shaun White’s game instead.