For those of you the without a balance board, either because you’re already super-buff or are just too lazy to play Wii Fit
, you’ll be pleased to know that Skate It!
doesn’t absolutely require the Balance Board to play. It’s just the best way, in our opinion.
Playing with the Wiimote and nunchuck is a less intuitive system for playing with, but it does work. In fact, there are some areas where the Wiimote actually handles better than the Balance Board.
“When you’re using the remote, the idea is that’s the board,
” I was told. “The remote is the board, so your movements relate closely to the moves you’re trying to do.
Sure enough, using the Wiimote to control your skater is a slightly move intelligent affair than just pressing buttons and flailing like a honey-covered toddler being attacked by killer bees. It’s a skateboarding game after all and though the core mechanics of the game have been loosened up and made a little more forgiving than the other versions, timing is still everything.
The controls then are a lot easier to get to grips with, thanks mainly to the fact that you don’t have to keep resisting the urge to jump on the Balance Board. You jerk the Wiimote up in the air to make your skater jump, tilt forwards or back to manual and make simple gestures to perform different tricks, while steering is handled on the nunchucks C-stick.
Since we’ve mentioned that the game is slightly different to Skate 2
in terms of balancing, we may as well explore what else is different about the Wii version of the game on the content side of things.
The story for Skate It!
is pretty much the same as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game; you’re an amateur skater who gets spotted by a photographer while taking advantage of San Vanelona’s ruined landscape after a huge earthquake and you career starts there. As you start exploring the areas of San Vanelona, you’ll start unlocking new equipment and threads, as well as mastering your board skills.
Exclusive to the Wii version are also a fair few extra levels that span the globe – with London, Paris and Barcelona being notable highlights. We didn’t get to go hands-on with these levels, but we were left pretty impressed by the fact that the Wii version of the game is expanding on the feature-set of Skate 2
to such an extent.
Obviously with Skate It!
being a Wii game, it has suffered a bit when it comes to the graphics and that’s something that no amount of new content and unlockable T-shirts can cover up. As you can probably see from these screenshots, the experience is a bit blurrier and more jagged than we might have hoped.
The good news though is that the game is at least running at a stable and satisfyingly high framerate – it’s one of the benefits of running on the well-optimised engine from the first Skate
Our time with Skate It!
on the Wii was rewarding and enjoyable, which is probably one of the first few things anyone should really look for in a game. Though we struggled to get used to some of the Balance Board controls (jump, damn you!), the game quickly opened up and we were easily able to bust out some pretty decent moves.
There’s been a tendency in the past for big publishers like EA to release Wii games that are little more than gimped versions of the ‘normal’ version with ‘family appeal’, but that’s a trap Skate It!
thankfully doesn’t fall into despite the new party and multiplayer modes. It may be well-suited to casual gamers and multiplayer but, y’know what? There really is some depth buried in here too.
isn’t going to topple Skate 2
in the eyes of most hardcore gamers, nor should it, but there’s still a lot more to like here than you might suspect and Skate It!
is sure to go down a storm with those who prefer their consoles more active, but graphically challenged.