If you have tried any snow sport, you would probably describe it as cold (obviously), expensive (think of all those layers of clothes you have to put on, not to mention put up with, Ugh!), and short (you certainly couldn’t prolong winter, and you absolutely can’t stay out in the cold for long either).
For those who don’t want to miss out on the “fun” of winter sports (if only to show that you know something about it) but hate to be out there in the cold; here’s some good news. Three cheers for Family Ski and Snowboard video game. You don’t need to go anywhere except in your living room or playroom, all warm and comfy, while skiing and snowboarding. Cool! Here’s the crucial question: Is it any better than its predecessor, Family Ski? This, I’ve already established, would have been better off with a title such as Collective Crotch Flailing – or something similar. Let’s find out.
To play Family Ski and Snowboard, you have to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk much like you would the ski poles. You need to wag them in an up-and-down motion to gain speed just like in real skiing. However, you could also gather speed in other ways by simply twisting the controllers and then tucking in your arms. This sometimes present a problem as you may have a hard time twisting the controls you’re your arms all tucked under. Possible solution is to just use the Wii balance board. You just place the board parallel to the TV set if you want to ski; or perpendicularly if you go for snowboarding. Both require you to tilt your weight so you can steer.
It might look a bit intimidating but don’t get too anxious; the balance board is totally responsive. You would probably need to train a bit, though because it can be very sensitive to the slightest movements. The board can actually sense when you do jumping motions along with the shifts from a crouching position to a standing position. A word of caution…never do a real jump; it could damage the technomagical innards of the board. Using the board is definitely more fun than just using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Though for fancier moves you might want to perform some extraordinary twirls and spins using the remote and the Nunchuk. To feel the real vibe of skiing, however, using the board is a much better option.
Similar to the original game, there’s a free-roaming resort that you can get to explore. You can play in the slopes at your own pace, or you could join in races, trick competitions, mogul races and much more. You also meet a lot of characters including ski instructors and random people whom you can ask for help. All these stuff contribute to the game having a more realistic feel to it. Still, it’s easy to notice that it’s actually a bit unstructured. For players who are used to having linear progression in playing, you can’t find that in this game. You just randomly play without even getting to unlock new stuff as you successfully finish a game. For the most part, it’s just a lot of maneuvering in flat stretches of slopes to get to the event you have chosen. If you want to join some competition with your friends, lucky for you; there’s a Competition Mode and you can flaunt your skills in skiing or snowboarding there.
Family Ski and Snowboard in Wii can be fun, especially for those who play it for the first time. What it lacks is some progression from previous version. But if you definitely want to experience the tediousness of snow sports, then by all means; give it a try. You can always stop when the boredom becomes unbearable.