Game Review: We Ski (Wii)

Hey parents! Want to take your family on a ski resort vacation, but can’t afford it because of high gas prices? Then bring the ski resort home for only 30 bucks with We Ski for Nintendo Wii.


We Ski is a fun, pick-up-and-play skiing game simulation. First, make a character of your own, or use your existing Mii. Dress them up with tons of different ski gear, but keep in mind that Mii characters can’t use all the gear that We Ski specific characters can. Now you’re ready to hit the slopes.

Beginners are recommended to stop off by the Ski School first to learn the control basics. We Ski is compatible with the Balance Board (sold separately with Wii Fit), but the play control is so responsive and intuitive that you don’t even need the Balance Board to have fun. Pump the Wii remote and nunchuck downwards and toward you like how you would hold and move ski poles to pick up speed. Tilt the remote and nunchuck to turn left and right. Twist the Wii controllers inward to crouch for a speed boost. You can even tilt the Wii remote and nunchuck together in a point to snow plow. Little brother Jeff, who went on a band ski trip this past year, called this the ‘pizza formation.’

If you have a Wii Balance Board, then you just shift your weight to the left or right to turn instead of just tilting the Wii remotes. I don’t have a Balance Board myself, but luckily a friend from work let me borrow his to try out for this review. While using the Balance Board enhances the immersiveness of the experience, I ended up preferring playing We Ski without it. Turning with the board felt a little too sensitive (although I may just not be used to the board since I don’t own Wii Fit). Plus I have a vision disability that throws my balance a little out of whack, so leaning one way for too long made me feel a little dizzy. But either way you ski is fine and there are picture cues that let you know exactly how to move the remote to control your skier.

Once you’ve made a character and familiarized yourself with the controls, you and up to three other players can jump right in and compete in races, or hit the slopes at the ski resort. This mode is called Freestyle Mode and it simulates being at a real ski resort. Ride ski lifts to different slopes on the mountain, and on the way down you might run into a few people you can talk to. These other skiers usually have challenges for you, like a race, stunt request, or scavenger hunt. Fulfill requests and challenges to earn stars which unlock even more ski gear for your character. Up to four people can play in Freestyle Mode, too. Find a photographer while on the mountain and you can take your picture and send it to friends via the Wii message board.

The visuals are simple and cartoony but they do the job. Play control is super responsive and easy to learn. If there is any problem with We Ski, it’s that the game doesn’t offer a very deep experience. But it’s fun just to mess around. We Ski makes a perfect companion to Wii Fit, or just a fun stand alone game. We Ski also does a great job keeping with the Wii’s family friendly themes. It’s the best Wii sports game since, well, Wii Sports. Five out of five stars!

We Ski…With Children
That title’s a little bit of a misnomer because most of my little brothers are nearly grown up and are teenagers now. Not exactly children. However, their age is a good example of how good We Ski is. Usually when little brother Jeff and his friends come over to play games, they opt to play their Halos and Call of Duty games over my cute and ‘old’ games as they like to put it (hey, what’s wrong with Pac-Man and Time Pilot?). But the last time they came over, they played nothing but We Ski and really enjoyed it. Jeff went on a ski trip with the school band this last spring, and he says the only thing he doesn’t like about We Ski is that it makes him really want to go back and ski again for real! And of course, I like We Ski oppositely because I don’t have to get out in the cold to ski (I hate cold weather!). I think Jeff has put about twice as much time on We Ski as I have!

Namco Fanboy Alert!
If you’re really busy, you can just skip this paragraph if you want. I’m a big fan of classic Namco arcade games (Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, etc) so one thing I like to do with new Namco games is look for classic game references and cameos in them. Jeff said that the ski resort he went to on the band trip had loudspeakers all over the place for announcements and music, and We Ski has that, too. But the background music they played in We Ski was from other Namco games like Ridge Racer and Katamari Damacy. It was especially cool when I first visited the We Ski resort and they played “Baby Universe,” which is the default song on the ski resort snow level from We Love Katamari. Some of the skis you can unlock also have Namco characters on them. There’s Tamagotchi skis from the Bandai side of things, and also Taiko Drum, Mr. Driller, and Klonoa skis! Man, I’d love to have some Mr. Driller skis in real life. I wonder if there are any Pac-Man skis?

Kid Factor:
We Ski is perfect for almost any age. There’s little to no violence. Skiers do run into each other and crash, but they just hop right back up again and nobody gets hurt. Reading skill is helpful for the text in the challenges and events, but there are also usually picture cues to show how to move the Wii remote to ski. Young players can just have fun messing around, or playing with an older gamer. The ESRB says there is an “Alcohol Reference” in the game, but I have yet to see it. It’s probably just a small reference in text somewhere. We Ski is a fantastic game for the whole family.

One Response to “Game Review: We Ski (Wii)”

  1. Cool review – I’d love to grab Wii Fit for the family, and then this as well.

    It is interesting reading about the ‘older kid’ side of things. I am glad that while my kids are getting into T-rated age territory, I have tried to help them appreciate the fun in games of all ages. Kids are always trying to grow beyond their years, which is natural, but it is nice that there is actually a fair amount on the Wii to allow them to have enough fun to play a ‘family game’ without rolling their eyes 😀

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