Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip «

Just look at Shaun White, with his wiry frame and long red hair. Couldn’t he be a Mii character? With those looks, the aerial acrobatics he performs and his life-is-just-a-crazy-journey persona, White seems larger than life, possibly even cartoonish. Maybe that’s why the Wii version of the new Shaun White Snowboarding franchise, Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip, is such a grand success. Not only have the folks at Ubisoft shown that the Balance Board will have a place in the world of snowboarding for the foreseeable future, but also that the game is still more than worthwhile without it.

Make no mistake: The Balance Board’s performance will be a major selling point. Setup and calibration were extremely easy. Even including the time it took to install the Board’s batteries, we were up and riding within two minutes. While we know you can’t turn your snowboard the same way you do while skateboarding (unless you want to catch an edge and end up with a face full of snow), the fact that the Balance Board’s steering was more like skateboarding didn’t hinder the experience a bit. For gradual turning, you only need lean from one side to the other with your back foot or lean with both feet in order to carve. Press down with both feet to jump, and with the Wii Remote you can press A, B or both while shifting your weight to different areas of the board to perform tricks.

The Balance Board is in a lot of homes these days thanks to the wildly popular Wii Fit, but we’re not sure snowboarders and Wii Fitters are in the same demographic. So it stands to reason that much of the potential market for a snowboarding game might not have Balance Boards in their living rooms. Luckily, playing the game with the Wiimote alone has its benefits. The only thing the Board makes easier is grinding; with the Wiimote, you need to pay better attention to the balance meter or you’ll bail. However, just about everything else is easier with the Wiimote, making it a valuable tool for more difficult mountains and challenges.

The Wiimote doesn’t offer the same sensory experience of twisting and turning on a plastic plank, but it does provide its share of vibrations and noises while riding. Jumping and tricks still require some wrist and forearm dexterity (but not too much), and carving on the Wiimote via the B trigger is easier than on the Board and even a little more satisfying at times. Speed is a vital part of Shaun White Snowboarding, and going fast is a bit easier with the Wiimote since all you have to do is press A. On the Board you must lean forward to increase your speed, which can make steering a little more challenging. Thankfully, it’s simple to switch back and forth from the Balance Board to the Wiimote, and you can do it virtually anytime.


looking for something?