SKATE IT! Nintendo Wii Review

     December 20, 2008

Written by Anne Tully

Skate It! is a new skateboarding game for the Nintendo Wii. This new game from Electronic Arts offers plenty of features to keep all skill levels challenged and engaged, and has a quirky yet subtle sense of humor that will keep you amused throughout the course of the game.

The plot begins with your arrival in a town that has been destroyed by some unknown force, your objective being to skate this now abandoned and somewhat broken town. Your skateboarding does not go unnoticed- a guy looking for something newsworthy among the destruction recruits you, giving you stunts to perform as he films so that you can earn invites and get picked up by a sponsor as you become a professional skateboarder. Each area holds a list of objectives, and after completing a certain amount of those objectives you can move onto a new area.

Luckily, each objective has two difficulties- the basic ‘owned it’ difficulty which is needed to complete the objective and the ‘killed it’ difficulty, which takes the objective to another level, providing a bit of a challenge to those who master the basic objectives. Typically not every objective in a level needs to be completed to progress, which lowered frustrations on objectives that were rather tricky since you could just move on and come back later. The game offered plenty of objectives and playtime to keep one satisfied for many hours. At times the objectives could be very unclear, but usually you are shown what is expected of you first so that you just have to follow the first skater’s lead to complete the objective, balancing it out.

The controls are probably the most interesting part of the game since the use of the Wii Remote removed the need for complicated button combos. Instead of having to remember a button combination if you wanted to do an ollie you would flick the front of the remote up, sparing you from tons of memorization. The controls are pretty basic and an in-depth tutorial at the beginning of the game covers just about everything you need to know. While the tutorial was very long- and covered so much material my head was spinning trying to remember what they taught me at the beginning- it was also very helpful and allowed me to become familiar with the game before having to start doing tricks and stunts, making it very user friendly.

While they did shove a ton of information at you at one time, they made up for it in the use of a list of tricks that you can reference throughout the game which tells you the trick name and how to do it using the Wii Remote. Though they did not review all the button functions at the very beginning- like how to access your map and the other menus- once you do find them, these things are valuable tools that can greatly help with completing levels and objectives.

Though the use of the Wii Remote did eliminate much of the need for buttons, unfortunately it is not always reliable when trying to do a specific trick. Sometimes flicking up the remote will lead to an ollie, but not always. When you have a timer and you need to complete a specific move it can be very frustrating performing the wrong move because the tilt of the remote was slightly off or you did not flick it high enough. The game makes up for this, however, by typically making the objectives broad. For example, you might be asked to ‘do a grab’ meaning a simple nosegrab is just as good as a 180 grab. Thus, though the controls can be a bit unreliable, the challenges are designed to keep this from interfering with game play frequently.

Aside from game play, a lot of the features in this game definitely added to the value of this sports game. When you pick a file you get to customize your character however you want, from body form to clothing choices. As you unlock more items you’ll find more equipment and clothing to keep you satisfied. Though the body form choices were a little lacking, the accessories balanced it out and offered initiative to complete extra challenges. The graphics were okay, and attractive in cut scenes, but unfortunately the movement of this game brought about an annoying side effect for me- motion sickness. I am not really prone to motion sickness so this came as a surprise and forced me to have to take periodic breaks, but overall was not so overwhelming it would keep me from playing the game again.

I believe the best feature of this game was the music. The music itself is worth listening to and makes game play even more fun and upbeat. On top of that there is a selection screen where you can turn off songs you do not like, so that you only have to listen to what you want to listen to. The sound quality was good, with both music and voice-overs coming out clear.

The number of extras outside of game play were satisfying, with a fun multiplayer selection and free skate practice areas. Within the game extras like ‘the Hall of Meat,’ where glorified fails are displayed by number of sprained, bruised, or broken body parts you obtained from wiping out, can make even the worst fall seem amusing- though on levels where you wipe out repeatedly it can get tiresome.

Overall, I would rate Skate It for the Wii at a B . The game offers plenty of features, objectives, and is all together a fun game, but the shaky controls and somewhat disappointing movement and graphics bring it down. An added feature I was not able to review is the ability to use the Wii Fitness Board as your controller instead, which seems like a neat idea. If you like sports games or are looking to try a sports game, Skate It is a good place to start, whether a novice or a fan of the genre.

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