Shaun White Skateboarding for the Wii draws its basic inspirations from the versions on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, utilizing some of the same general mechanics in a scaled-down experience for the motion-controlled console. Whereas the story for the next-gen iteration of the title casts your skater as a lone figure in a lifeless world controlled by the Ministry – adding color, music and personality to the environment through the sheer awesomeness of your skating – the Wii version finds Shaun White and his skater buddies in a colorless town controlled by an authoritarian mayor. The former feels like a more adult-skewed FU to Orwellian dictatorships while the latter feels like a group of Goonies harmlessly rebelling against some heavy-handed parent, perhaps a more appropriate context for the Wii’s younger audience.
At the core, however, the two games work hand-in-hand, building upon the same fundamental idea: bring life back to the streets of an otherwise dead city. Making this considerably easier is the fact that the skating itself is relatively intuitive. Basic momentum and direction is controlled using the nunchuck while the Wii-mote takes care of your jumps, rails, verts and tricks. Flicking the Wii-mote quickly upward while moving forward triggers a jump perfect for grinding rails. When skating up a wall or ramp, a similar flick of the wrist will pump the board to increase your height. Holding the A button or the trigger in conjunction with the placement of the Wii-mote – held up, down or sideways – will determine your grabs, rotations and forward spins as you tumble back toward the earth.
Each environment is populated with a number of different challenges required to move forward into the next stage. While you don’t play directly as Shaun White, you will run into the title figure throughout the game as you attempt to overthrow the local governments and figureheads, completing smaller objectives along the way. Unlike the other versions of the title, the Wii release is a less open-world experience, driving you forward through the self-contained sections of each level. As players complete the challenges, higher scores will be rewarded by more and more unlockables to customize your player – boards, designs, fashions, hats, etc.
Thus far, the game has proven relatively simple to control and fun to play. While the visual presentation isn’t necessarily up to par with the title’s next-gen counterparts, the more cartoonish style and the colorful graffiti that emerges as you effect the environment seem fitting for the console and its audience. The nunchuck controls could use some tightening, as lining up a straightforward jump can sometimes be problematic, but there’s little about the title that doesn’t seem poised to entertain any of Shaun White’s younger fans.