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Games: ‘We Ski’ offers good game play, great views

By DANIELLE L. KIRACOFE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 29, 2009

I hate the cold. That probably means the closest I’ll ever get to skiing or snowboarding is the Bandai Namco game "We Ski & Snowboard."

The game, rated E, is a single-player or multi-player sports title for Nintendo’s Wii. It can be played using only the nunchuck and Wii remote or using that combination along with the Wii balance board.

After creating a character or suiting up your Mii, you can jump right onto the slopes or take lessons in skiing and snowboarding. (I admit, I prefer snowboarding because it makes me feel cooler.)

I started out with the lessons, which are incredibly helpful for a novice like me. (Lessons can only be accessed when you’re playing solo.) It instructs you using text and a "motion dummy" that demonstrates the exact motions you should mimic in order to carry off each skill or trick. Your "teacher" also demonstrates it for you before you try.

Nearly all of the time, my snowboarder responded the way it should have. I didn’t play very much with the board because I’m not too great at using it, but another person in my group loved it. He said it was really responsive to his moves. It also really gives your legs a workout.

Once you’re ready to play, you can choose to enjoy the resort, which has lots of courses to test. Or you can ride the mountain, which features natural slopes reached by helicopter. You can also try your hand at competitions — but you can do that at the resort or the mountain.

You can interact with other characters on the slopes. Some want to challenge you to a race, some want to talk and some are just odd — like the random ninjas and skiers in Santa suits. However, if you play with a group, and one of you interacts with a character, all of you will be forced to, no matter where you are on the slopes. Annoying if you’ve split up or if you don’t like the challenge. Great, though, if you find a game of tag — you’re it!

Playing solo is fun — you can add Miis as friends to tag along with you if you’re lonely. I enjoyed just sliding down the slopes and taking in the views and figuring out all the moves. There are also courses that don’t appear on the map.

Playing in a group is even better. (Not all the players need to have a board — only one of us in our group did.) It shrinks the screen a bit, too, if you play in a group.

Visually, the game is good at making you feel like you’re sliding down a mountain — pick up a little speed, and it tries to give you the feeling of wind in your face. My favorite part of the game — beyond the easy and fun play — are the views. This game is graphically intense. The views on the slopes are honestly breathtaking.

There are three times of day to play, but night on the Jamboree Snow Resort slopes is stunning. There are amusement park rides, trees decorated for the holidays, an observatory and ice sculptures that glow with light. Even watching other people play was cool because I could spot things I couldn’t spot coming down the mountain — like a lighthouse.

This game is a worthy addition to your Wii game collection.

Platform: Wii
On the Web: www.wesnowsports.com


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