While Nintendo’s money spinning Wii Fit with balance board usually spends less time on the shop shelves than overpriced tat at a Next sale, titles making excellent use of the handy peripheral have been thin on the ground. In fact outside the fairly dull Family Ski there’s practically bugger all outside all that tedious fitness stuff.
So here comes Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip to fill in this little gap for the holiday season. Unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game which are poorly realised with dull gameplay mechanics and repetitive visuals, this Wii iteration - for once - shows a heck of a lot of promise right from the off.
Firstly there’s the much hyped motion control. If you lack a balance board you can control your rider simply via the Wii Remote, but while that proves an adept handling system, it’s missing out on a large portion of what makes Road Trip such an enjoyable little title.
Just like real life snowboarding it’s all about weight distribution. Want to take off to ridiculous heights as you head down the slopes? Then lean back at the right moment and blast skywards. Want to force your rider to travel at breakneck speeds? Then crouch right down and feel the wind rush through your hair. Though not literally. Obviously.
Yes it’s really blooming tricky at first, and you’ll find yourself ploughing into drifts of snow more often than not on your first few tries. But give it a little time and you’ll find yourself enjoying an incredibly intuitive and intriguing method of control that only the Wii can offer at the current time.
The single player story sees you tearing around the globe attempting to keep up with the titular Shaun White, a man who can’t seem to stick in one location longer than a few minutes. Each of the five major locations has a handful of slopes to speedily head down, with completion opening up new features and areas.
To keep you hooked to this short-lived story, the higher you boost your respect meter via fantastic special moves and tricks, the more handy special abilities will be unlocked.
It’s certainly not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but here it simply works. The addiction to nudging your score for each slope ever higher is one right up with any online FPS you can think of.
Despite the Wii’s obvious lack of processing power, it can be argued that this is a much better looking title than the other console versions. While it may lack the detail, it packs nice chunky and colourful visuals that interact with each other with devilish accuracy. It’s more about the cracking art design rather than pixel pushing power in this one.
The Balance Board support helps nudge this one right to must-have status for those with a Wii Fit gathering dust. A cracking control method rounds off a fantastic all round package that anyone with a penchant for fun will absolutely adore.