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Shaun White Snowboarding is a balance board game that aims to involve the whole family with smooth gameplay and novel controls. This Family Review lets our family writers loose on it - a Mum, a Dad, a Teen and a Twenty something.
Sporting games recreate a wide variety of real life competitive activities. Depending on the sport, these will either have an action or strategy focus. Popular sports games are often released on an annual basis, each year the game receives new player rosters and game improvements.
Writing the family gamer reviews and guides means I've played my fair share of Skiing and Snowboarding on the Wii. I've loved the open world freedom and BBC Grandstand style replays of Family Ski. I've worked my way through Ski jumping, Slalom and Snowboarding on Wii-Fit. But until now these games have always felt family friendly first, and video game second.
For me Shaun White's Snowboarding is the first time an in depth game and great balance board controls have come together in one package. The controls themselves follow the same simple approach of other skiing games. Using just the Wii-mote to carve, glide and jump your way down the course is easy enough for my two oldest kids (3 and 5) to pick up and play with ease. But for me it's the Balance Board implementation that gets me going. Not only is there a well integrated calibration that can be brought up at any point, but the onscreen readout shows you just what your feet are doing.
The kids loved being able to team up and try and get record times and scores with the co-op mode. In the evenings me and the wife got a little addicted to the Versus mode.
Best: Simple controls for all to enjoy.
Worst: Even the exploration levels limit you to one course down the mountain.
Having read Paul's review I was keen to see what I made of Shaun White's Snowboarding. Although I'm no expert in these sorts of things, the first thing to hit me was how good the game looked. By opting not to adopt the Mii's for the main characters the game takes the visuals in a more realistic direction. The sense of speed as you lean forward on the Balance Board and tuck in is just great.
Although I liked the Co-op and Versus modes, me and my daughter got really competitive over the hot seat mode. You each take it in turns to race down the course with a feint version of the fastest player's run super imposed on the screen. It makes trying to cut corners and find the perfect line really competitive.
What's more I was surprised to see you could include up to four players in this turn taking mode. Ideal for when my other half gets home and wants in on the fun.
Best: The Hot Seat mode takes the biscuit for me.
Worst: Having to unlock the Hot Seat courses by playing Co-op mode.
While Paul can Clare having been focusing on the multi player parts of the game, I really liked the bits you played on your own. It's great to figure out the best teams for the best slopes as each cameraman you select adds a different special ability.
Mum says I'm always emailing in real life, and I guess I have to admit that I did get a little buzz each time I got a new message in the game. It's great because that's how you find out which new courses you have unlocked. And I love the way they start out all clean like a leisure resort and end up all mountainy as you progress.
I also thought the cartoon story bits were pretty good. I never wanted to skip them, in fact it's a shame you can't watch the cartoons you've already seen as I wanted to show a good bit to my brother but couldn't.
Best: Unlocking new characters to ski with.
Worst: It gets hard quite quickly I think.
While the others seemed to take it slow with Shaun White's Snowboarding I blasted through it in a few (admittedly long) evenings. Having a proper game for the Balance Board is great, and it's good to see them invest in each and every course. There is always one more jump to hit, or crown to collect to get all the top scores. I made it a rule as I played through it with a few friends that we couldn't move on until we have hit the high score on a particular slope.
As you play on through the game you also appreciate the variety of different levels. At the beginning you are simply trying to get down the course in one piece. Then you are challenged to hit a certain time on the Downhill runs. The Big Airs set a point target that make you string together lines of jumps and tricks to come in top. Slaloms give you more time when you hit the gates and up the difficulty of the Downhill levels. Half Pipe levels let you really get creative and invent your own string of stunts for each run.
Add to this the double challenge of the Dare and Respect goals and you have a compelling challenge for (far be it for me to blow my own trumpet) the most expert of players. The Respect goals extend the main Dare events and provide side challenges to win souvenirs of the road trip.
Best: Decent challenge for expert games.
Worst: No online play in the Wii version.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: