SSX Blur - Nintendo Wii
While the SSX timeline is filled to bursting point with hastily put together sequels, the series has been constant about two things.
First, it’s always been about speeding down a snowy mountainside with a thin board strapped to your feet. Second, doing it in the kind of flamboyant manner you thought you’d seen the back of until Dancing on Ice skidded on to our screens.
While that was never likely to change for this Wii release, the control method obviously has to. Packing the Wii Remote and Nunchuk instead of the PS2’s much loved Dual Shock controller, it’s time to learn how to slip and slide your way down a hillside all over again. Let’s just hope it’s not a rocky ride.
If you think this is just another sequel to speed through, you’re much mistaken. No matter how good you think you are, you’ve got a whole heap to learn. As for you Amped 3 fans, just forget you’ve ever played a snowboarding game as it’s time to go back to the nursery slopes.
The levels haven’t changed much, but the Wii control method makes this a whole new ball game. To control speed and direction you need to clasp your left hand around the Nunchuk – twist your wrist left or right and you’ll pull off all manner of sharp turns. It’s called curving if you want to get all technical.
The Remote takes care of pretty much everything else. It manages everything from spinning and flipping your character in mid-air to chucking snowballs at your competitors. Now that ought to be a Winter Olympic sport.
Then there’s the appropriately named Uber Tricks. These flamboyant manoeuvres are unlocked by performing normal grabs and flips to up your "groove meter". Reach a certain point and the new trick is yours – not that you’ll be pulling them off too easily. Holding down the "A" button while struggling to draw a specified shape on the screen feels more like doing a Rubik's Cube than slip-sliding your way down a hill.
Be ready for a fair few hours of crashing into trees and missing jumps as you get used to these new controls. Thankfully there are extensive tutorials to show off every possible move so you won’t be scratching your head too much.
Alongside the single player mode, there’s also a career challenge. You pick one of twelve ski dudes and get points for Uber Tricks and winning races. While things start off nice and easy, it won’t be long before you’ll be upping sticks and retiring to the après party. Even yours truly struggled with the tricky Slalom challenges.
VerdictInvite your pals for a game and it’s more of the same. It’s diverting enough while it lasts but it doesn’t have the all round fun factor of, say, Wii Sports. There’s only so many times you can chuck a virtual snowball at your mate.
One for all racing fans, but expect the controls to cause you many a problem in the short term.