While generally a publisher known for releasing action games bearing the Tom Clancy name and platformers with slightly eccentric mascots, Ubisoft dove into extreme sports in 2008 with the release of Shaun White Snowboarding. This year, Ubi is back at it with the upcoming four-wheeled follow-up Shaun White Skateboarding. Back in May, we had a look at the PlayStation 3 version of Shaun White's foray into warm-weather board sports, but last week Ubisoft gave us a chance to see what's going on with the (mostly) different Wii version.
Who's Making It: Shaun White Skateboarding for the Wii is being developed at Ubisoft Montreal by the same team responsible for the Wii version of Shaun White Snowboarding. In an interesting turnaround from how cross-platform games usually fare, the Wii version of that game was actually reviewed quite a bit better than its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts.
What It Looks Like: Shaun White Skateboarding sports cartoonish visuals and caricaturized skaters. If you played the Wii version of the Snowboarding game, you'll have a good idea of what to expect. In fact, many of that game's central characters have been carried over into the story in this game.
What You Do: Your main goal in Shaun White Skateboarding is to bring color to a world gone gray. The mayor of the city in which the game is set has enacted some imposing new laws that have effectively robbed the place of all its life and color, represented by an initially dull and dreary color palette. As you move from neighborhood to neighborhood completing challenges and skating obstacles, you'll restore color to the world.
How It Plays: We played with the standard Wii Remote and Nunchuk control setup, which is a simple system where you press a button to kick for speed and flick the remote in various directions to do tricks with the board. For example, flicking straight up results in an ollie, while flicking up and twisting slightly to the side will do a kick flip. The development team at Ubi has purposely implemented simple, forgiving controls, where bails are infrequent and don't keep you off your board for long. (For the full rundown of how the game plays, see the embedded video above.)
Final Thoughts: Shaun White Skateboarding looks like a straightforward skating game that isn't trying to reinvent the genre. The controls work well, and the environments seem to offer a good amount of diversity (we played in a waterfront plaza and also raced down a giant drainage ditch). You can look forward to seeing the game arrive later this year.