We Ski Review

We Ski can be viewed as yet another “quasi-game” to grace the Nintendo Wii; something meant to appeal to a broader audience than much of the modern catalog of videogames. For those not seeking a deep, engaging experience, however, the game will provide a small and simple sandbox to play in, as well as the next worthwhile usage of the Wii’s motion controls, not to mention its newest input device, the Balance Board.

Playing We Ski calls to mind another 2008 Wii release, Endless Ocean. The two share the premise of relaxed and lightly guided play, with few highlighted goals or big, motivational incentives. The difference lies in the fact that We Ski features a traditional gameplay mechanic (racing) that gamers have grown accustomed to over the years. Otherwise, We Ski is a game designed for players who are more interested in spending time using the game to create their own unique experience. In that regard, it is very faithful to the sport and pastime that it aims to recreate, as most skiers hit the slopes with no more specific goals in mind than to simply enjoy what they are doing – skiing.

We Ski’s main focus is its freestyle mode, where players’ custom geared (and Mii-headed) skiiers are tossed onto the mountain resort to do as they please. There are multiple “hills” there, which are each marked off by a starting gate, and can be accessed by taking one of the many lifts, warping directly to the start via the pause menu, or navigating the place on your own. The hills are alive with cpu-controlled skiers, some of whom will challenge you to races and stunt/mogul competitions, and others who will ask you to find and rescue people or items from any of the idividual courses on the mountain. There are indeed pre-defined tasks to complete in We Ski, but most of the game boils down to just doing your own thing.

There are also regular, slalom, and mogul races available directly from the main menu and playable by up to four people. Oh, those late night We Ski scenes…classic. There is fun to be had here, for sure, but I would contend that it has less to do with the game itself than with the player interaction and general tomfoolery that ensues.

Unfortunately, GamerNode did not have a Wii Balance Board available at the time of review, so I am unable to give a proper evaluation of its functionality with We Ski. Theoretically, turning is achieved by simply shifting weight from one foot to the other, as if carving into the slope of the mountain, but I can’t say how well this actually works in practice. What I can say is that the Wii-mote/nunchuk motion controls are generally very responsive (and make for a really funny-looking pair of dudes trying to race each other).

Players move forward by motioning as if pushing off the ground with ski poles, and turn by tilting the Wii-mote and nunchuk in the direction of the turn. Sharper turns can be achieved by holding down B and Z (or C) while tilting the controller, and midair tricks can be pulled off by gesturing accordingly. There is a bit of a learning curve to all this, and even though things smooth out after a while, the controls can still feel oversensitive at times.

Graphically, the game ranks somewhere in the Gamecube 1.5 category, with minimally detailed character models and backgrounds, and basically low-res everything. The art style is on par with the typical casual Wii game, but it still would have been nice to see something a little prettier, especially given the small scope of the game world. As for audio, there is a nice, laid-back blend of tracks, including a remixed version of the Pac-Man intro theme and an instrumental Katamari on the Rocks. Other Namco remixes serve as ambiance, as well. The game’s sound effects leave much to be desired, however. They are generic and stereotypically electronic.

As I mentioned earlier, We Ski is a game that seems to have been designed not with the “hardcore” gamer or racing enthusiast in mind, but more for someone who is interested in exploring a virtual skiing experience at his or her own pace. There are few real motivational goals in this sandbox-style game, and while that might be great for some, We Ski’s biggest downfall is that it lacks substance. Try it out if you are interested in chillin’ out on the ski hill, but skip it if you need more to drive your gaming experience than your own whims.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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