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Family Ski Review

It's time to dust off that Balance Board - We're Going Skiing

Some people may well continue to use their Wii Balance Board throughout the summer. The chances are though, that for many people Wii Fit was just a fad and will be forgotten in the same way that so many New Year's keep fit resolutions have been broken over the years.

Those people who invested in a Balance Board and no longer use it, a) shame on you, and b) you'll be wanting something else to do with it. Well, here's the first in (hopefully) a series of releases designed to make use of Nintendo's peripheral.

Snow Patrol

Let's begin by taking a quick look at the name. It's called Family Ski because there's a four-player split-screen mode but the truth is that for the most part Family Ski is a solo affair. You create your character - either make your own or use any of the Miis created on your Wii - and then you're off to explore the game's ski resort.

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You can go anywhere you want on the mountainside and while the controls are initially quite daunting and awkward, you get used to them with time. Regardless of whether you have a Balance Board or not, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk still do the same thing - they act as your ski poles. So, to get going and pick up speed, simply gesture as if you were pushing off the snow with your poles.

Once you're moving, you can squat and gain speed by twistng the controllers away from each other. Steering with regular controllers is achieved by turning both 'poles' left and right. If you own a Balance Board however, you can simply lean left and right to manoeuvre your way down the slope. It does take a bit of getting used to, and the controls are by no means perfect, but it's good fun once you get into the groove of things.

Aprés Ski Déjŕ Vu

While the controls may be a laugh, the game itself doesn't quite live up to expectations. As you slowly make your way around the network of slopes and ski lifts you'll notice that everyone around you is doing their own thing. Some of these people have symbols above their heads, thus inviting you over to start a conversation. We say conversation, but they utter the same thing every time you see them and you'll soon discover that they're either challenging you to a race, just saying hello, asking you to photograph something, asking you to impress them with your stunts or asking you to find something for them.

The biggest problem with all this is that it soon becomes extremely repetitive and you quickly discover that the game itself offers nothing above and beyond similar games that appeared on older consoles. In fact, this is exactly the sort of content-poor, soulless offering that companies like Hudson, Namco-Bandai and Ubisoft have been fobbing us off with for more than a decade now. Enough is enough.

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If you're coming at Family Ski purely for a bit of multiplayer racing or for something else to use your Balance Board with then you will have some fun. The controls will have you in stitches if you have a few mates round. But the game's impressive technical achievements are far more exciting than the game itself. And that speaks volumes about the actual game.

Family Ski is by no means a terrible game but we expected so much more than a slightly above average Balance Board cash-in. Here's hoping there's better to come.

Comments

15 comments so far...
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  1. Anonymous Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 14:48

    It looks intruiging, but not something I'd want to dip into my wallet for.

    I'll wait to see what other uses for the balance board come up.

  2. Anonymous Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 16:05

    hang on 4 player, does that mean ill have to buy more balance boards? sounds like a good game, could be costly unless i am mistaken.

  3. dragon2s6 Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 16:59

    I'm either going to get this or Skate It. Skate It will probably be better though. The trailer looks alright and the balance board will be fun with it.

    And another thing...Why is there a screenshot from "Top Trumps: Doctor Who" on DS???

  4. james-8 Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 17:28

    I personally think that family ski should deserve more than 70% because the game uses the balance board with the remote and nunchuk perfectly to make a skiing game because is the closest thing to make you feel like you are actually skiing and in america they love the game. so I think it should get over 85% at least. :wink:

  5. james-8 Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 17:29

    I personally think that family ski should deserve more than 70% because the game uses the balance board with the remote and nunchuk perfectly to make a skiing game because is the closest thing to make you feel like you are actually skiing and in america they love the game. so I think it should get over 85% at least. :wink:

  6. james-8 Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 17:30

    I personally think that family ski should deserve more than 70% because the game uses the balance board with the remote and nunchuk perfectly to make a skiing game because is the closest thing to make you feel like you are actually skiing and in america they love the game. so I think it should get over 85% at least. :wink:

  7. james-8 Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 17:30

    I personally think that family ski should deserve more than 70% because the game uses the balance board with the remote and nunchuk perfectly to make a skiing game because is the closest thing to make you feel like you are actually skiing and in america they love the game. so I think it should get over 85% at least. :wink:

  8. Anonymous Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 20:39

    Wow, quad-post much? lol

    Does anybody know exactly if the Balance Board can be used with current games, because I heard you can use it in MK Wii like an Accelerator and Brake.

  9. Anonymous Thursday 12th Jun 2008 at 23:31

    Wow, quad-post much? lol

    Does anybody know exactly if the Balance Board can be used with current games, because I heard you can use it in MK Wii like an Accelerator and Brake.

    No.

  10. slappy.al Friday 13th Jun 2008 at 12:23

    Can someone tell me if you can use more than one balance board for multi player? If you could have two boards going at once I might buy this game, would be a laugh!

  11. Ryu5 Monday 16th Jun 2008 at 16:22

    hang on 4 player, does that mean ill have to buy more balance boards? sounds like a good game, could be costly unless i am mistaken.

    You are mistaken stupid! He mentions in the review that you don't necessarily need the balance board to play. Next time read the damn thing before you spam on the comments, noob.

  12. jakanddax Tuesday 17th Jun 2008 at 19:02

    aww i really wanted a good balance board game i mean 70% is good but its not really worth buying now wiv games like okami and ssbb

  13. jakanddax Tuesday 17th Jun 2008 at 19:03

    aww i really wanted a good balance board game i mean 70% is good but its not really worth buying now wiv games like okami and ssbb.

  14. Emms1035 Thursday 19th Jun 2008 at 06:33

    Can someone tell me if you can use more than one balance board for multi player? If you could have two boards going at once I might buy this game, would be a laugh!

    No, you can only use one balance board, it says so on the website.
    I got this game on friday and even without the balance board it is great fun - especially on multiplayer. It deserves a lot more than 70%, I'd say about 85%.
    Did you know that you can invert the controls on the balance board to make it like proper skiing?

  15. Jake 346 Sunday 2nd Jan 2011 at 17:39

    I agree, 85% at least. Not all games are about completing missons, and from someone who has done lots of real skiing, this is fantastic and mostly surprisingly realistic. And it's not supposed to be some novelty balance board thing, as you seem to describe it, I mainly use the 'mote 'n' 'chuk.

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