On board with ‘Skate It’
It was the first time anyone had ever told me, "Just don’t break your leg," after hearing I was going to test a video game.
The game was "Skate It," Electronic Art’s skateboard simulation that relies on the Wii balance board to control the action.
The E-rated title is the successor to "Skate" — last year’s innovative title that moved skateboarding controls away from simple button mashing. Those who played last year’s game will notice a similarity in the graphics and presentation. However, the addition of the balance board changes the game play dramatically.
The controller does a reasonably good job of simulating a skateboard. A gentle lean to the left, moves your on-screen character left. Leaning backward, activates a manual. Quickly pressing down with your back foot activates an ollie. More complex tricks, such as a nollie shove-it, take a bit of practice to accomplish – but that’s realistic, too.
You still need the Wii remote for a few things. For example, the A button activates a kick to get you moving and the B button activates a grab.
And if the balance board sounds a little too scary, you can control all the action using the Wii remote — twisting and turning it like it were a miniature skateboard.
Whether you use the balance board or remote, you can go free skating or tackle the campaign. You play as a skater who’s one of the few people left in the city of San Vanelona after a disaster forces its evacuation. The disaster has created a truly unique cityscape with interesting topography and challenges. You’re free to skate anyplace you can reach.
You and a camera-toting crony check out various venues and run errands for famous skaters who call on your cell phone. Along the way, you tackle various challenges to unlock new clothing, boards, sponsorships and venues. And if you don’t like the layout, you can customize your own spot.
There’s no online play, but the game does offer several multiplayer challenges.
This all seemed good to me, but I thought I should consult some experts — or at least some local teens with skating experience. Daniel and Ted found the controls fairly realistic and the game play fun. Daniel even suggested: "This might be, like, the next ‘Guitar Hero.’"
That might be overstating the case, but it is one of the best games for the Wii balance board so far.
On the Web: www.skateit.ea.com