Sometimes it's the simpler things that end up better off. Take Shaun White Snowboarding as an example. The bigger, brasher PS3 and 360 versions promise to be huge, online-integrated, free-roaming simulations. The Wii version, conversely, doesn't try to be any of that.
Usually, that would give Wii haters another reason to mock our streamlined console, but this time its Wii owners that get the last laugh. That's because Shaun White Snowboarding on Wii takes a more straightforward, light-hearted approach, and ends up being much more fun than the other versions.
Check out the art style of the characters and you'll get an idea of Road Trip's more arcadey approach. While the other versions get all bogged down in being realistic, this game lets you throw yourself off huge jumps, perform suicidal tricks with a stunt system that really works, and use boost energy and other powers to enhance your performance.
Let It Snow
The set up of the game's challenges is nice and straightforward. Missions are laid out on simple menu screens - one for each of the game's locales, which takes you from Canada to Chile and all the way over to the French Alps.
This means you're never more than a few clicks away from a challenge, which can range from a straight up race or a stunt trial, to a timed challenge or having to grab a certain number of items scattered around the course. Most of the challenges combine two of these objectives, so you have two possible chances of completing a challenge.
Gameplay is just as simple, but at the same time, very satisfying. You don't need a Nunchuk as the entire game can be controlled with just a Remote. Tilting it left or right handles steering, and although you'll slide down the slope automatically, holding A speeds you up at the expense of your turning agility.
Run up to a ramp and an upwards flick of the Remote performs a jump. In the air, tilt the Remote left or right and you'll do rotations. Combine this with holding A or B to perform grabs, and if you're really brave you can flick the Remote left or right, along with a button press, to perform more advanced tricks.
The best thing is that it's all so very responsive and playable. It took us all of 20 minutes to get used to this trick system, and start pulling off crazy stunts at every jump. It's accessible and fun - the essence of Wii gaming. Of course that does mean a lack of real challenge if you're a hardcore player looking for a meaty trick system to perplex over for a long time. You won't find that here.
If you're lucky enough (and rich enough) to have a Balance Board, you can connect that up and control your boarder with your feet. You turn the board side-on to the telly, and then lean your weight forwards and backwards to steer.
Keep Your Balance
Lean towards the TV and you'll speed up and a little hop (without actually jumping) keys the on-screen man to leap through the air. With the Remote still in hand, you use A and B to tweak spins and tricks that you otherwise perform by leaning on the board.
Some say a game like Road Trip is a reason to buy the Balance Board but to be honest we think it's just another example of a game that the Balance Board just makes hard work. It's just not as playable, or accurate a control system.
It's confusing at times, and you'll find yourself failing miserably at challenges you'd breeze through with the Wii Remote. So that's what we ended up using.