Wii Balance Board Games Roundup

For the latest news on Nintendo Wii Board Games

Is The Wii Balance Board Honeymoon Over?

clock December 12, 2008 10:40 by author WiiBBG

Is it just me or does there seem to be a lack of any news of decent Wii Balance Board games for 2009? Yes there are titles lined up for next year (Kororinpa 2/Vertigo - variations of the same theme, Snowboard Riot and a few others) but to be honest nothing that really makes me go "yes - I have to have that!" Of course there's EA's Sports Active but then they're more interested in promoting their Wiimote strap thingy than the Wiiboard. So does that mean the Wii Balance Board honeymoon is over, certainly for third-party developers, and has Nintendo moved on to their next big thing, Wii Motion Plus?

A lot has been said recently about the inability of third-parties to capture any decent market share against Nintendo on the Wii platform and let's face it, that's not particularly surprising considering the amount of shovelware that third parties have been producing. Developers seem to be under the mistaken impression that since the Wii has attracted more casual gamers, this new market will be happy to buy any old rubbish. This is simply not the case. Unfortunately I think many developers have seen the balance board as an opportunity to deliver more of the same but when even the novelty of the Wiiboard fails to sell these games, where does it leave us.

Of course the exception to this trend and the real standout for me (although EA Skate It is pretty good) has to be Ubisoft and Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip which is currently my favourite game (apart from Rabbids TV Party when I feel like a bit of lunacy). In my view, Ubisoft did two things right with this game. Firstly they incorporated the balance board in a way that is both challenging and intuitive and secondly, although this is a multi-platform game, they developed a completely separate Wii version. And that's another gripe I have with developers of multi-platform titles. All too often, stunning graphics are used to distract users from lacklustre gameplay and while this might work for a while on PS3/360, the Wii’s graphics limitations end up meaning poor gameplay and poor graphics.

But the Wii's 'deficiency' can also be its greatest strength in that in order to produce a really good title, developers have to work much harder by being more artistic in their visual approach and concentrating on better interaction with the game. On both accounts I think Ubisoft got it right with Shaun White and the balance board (it doesn't feel like Wiiboard support was an afterthought). My only hope is that they can do more of the same in 2009.

So while I'm definitely no industry expert, here's my prediction for the balance board in 2009? I think you'll see less Wii Balance Board compatible titles produced as many developers realise it's just not worth the effort, and if sales of Shaun White and EA Skate It go as predicted, you'll see one or two new titles that will really make good use of the peripheral. Of course the unknown in all of this is the growing fitness/exergaming trend. Who knows, perhaps ResponDesign (Yourself!Fitness) will bring out a balance board compatible version of their title or someone else will try to capitalise on the trend. Whatever the case, let's hope that the Wii Balance Board is not doomed to becoming another dust-gathering peripheral.

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Shaun White Snowboarding: Target Exclusive

clock October 9, 2008 09:19 by author WiiBBG

SWSB target Good news Target.com shoppers. With the imminent release of Shaun White Snowboarding next month, Ubisoft has announced that Target will be offering a special version of the game with exclusive content.

Target has been a long time sponsor (since 2002) of Shaun White so it certainly seems to make sense. According to the Ubi press release:

"The special Target edition of the game, available on Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3 and Wii, will have exclusive extended content and features that consumers won’t be able to find anywhere else, including the Target Mountain – an entire mountain environment found only in the Target exclusive edition. Gamers will also be able to take advantage of exclusive jibs, additional scenes and more characters. Additionally, players will be able to cozy up in the game’s virtual version of the Target Chalet, the real-life mountainside home where Shaun and his fellow Target athletes hang out with friends and family at the annual Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. Among other exclusive features, the Taget Chalet is the only indoor environment anywhere in the game."

"Target guests are now able to purchase a $5 pre-sell card to ensure they’ll be shredding the mountain as soon as the exclusive version hits shelves."

Now it's just a matter of time until we see Target versions of the games for sale on eBay at ridiculously inflated prices.

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GC 2008: Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip

clock August 26, 2008 10:13 by author WiiBBG

As promised last week, here's a roundup of the latest game assets for Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip. First up, info from the factsheet.

  • Hit the Slopes with the Wii Balance Board
    Get yourself into the game like never before by using the Balance Board to control your rider. Control your jumps and tricks with the intuitiveness and fun of having a snowboard in your own living room.
  • Exclusive World Tour
    Everybody loves a road trip! You and your crew travel the world to participate in a variety of the fun and exciting events to become a world-renowned athlete. Hit the half-pipe competitions, race down the mountains, or just do some freeriding – there’s plenty of boarding action to satisfy all your needs.
  • Round the Globe with Shaun White
    Ubisoft worked in close contact with Shaun White in order to infuse the experience with the most authentic elements of his riding style, personality and sense of humor. Shaun will act as a good-natured friend and mentor to the player, hooking him up with the right friends to conquer challenges together, introduce him to new locales, or simply be around to share in a laugh.
  • Play Together
    Engage in a seamlessly integrated multiplayer experience for two to four players in both cooperative and competitive gameplay.
  • Get Your Own Crew
    In the world of snowboarding, it pays to have friends on your side. Your crew of friends will always be there to help you by offering you unique abilities to improve both your riding and keeping you grounded with friendly pranks; filming all the antics along the way.
  • Dare to Be the Best
    Undertaking Dares from your friends will lead you to snowboard in a variety of events such as Slopestyles, Big Airs, Half Pipes, Rail Jams, Slaloms, Bordercross and Downhill events. You can even chill in the backcountry with your friends and enjoy riding at your own pace.

Next up, some of the latest screenshots which are looking great.

SWSB

SWSB

SWSB

SWSB

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SWSB Vs Skate It Trick Controls

clock July 19, 2008 12:20 by author WiiBBG

ars technica's Frank Caron was lucky enough to get some game time on both Shaun White Snowboarding and Skate It at E3 last week. As you would expect, both games use the Wii Balance Board in the same way to steer but there is a marked difference in one crucial aspect - performing tricks.

While EA has chosen to use both the balance board and Wiimote to control body motion and tricks in Skate It, Ubisoft uses only the balance board to control body motion (no flicks of the Wiimote) and according to Frank, it just feels more natural. Read Frank's hands-on comparison of SWSB and Skate It, the lucky devil.

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Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip

clock July 16, 2008 16:37 by author WiiBBG

According to a press release from Ubisoft today, it seems that the Wii version of the game is now going to be titled Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip. In part I guess this better reflects the game in that you will be able to travel the world and participate in different events to build up your cred as a seasoned snowboarder. But I also think this is their way of differentiating the Wii version of SWSB from it's PS3/Xbox/PC counterparts. Here are some key features:

  • Hit the Slopes with the Wii Balance Board
    Get yourself into the game like never before by using the Balance Board to control your rider. Control your jumps and tricks with the intuitiveness and fun of having a snowboard in your own living room.
  • Exclusive World Tour
    Everybody loves a road trip! You and your crew travel the world to participate in a variety of the fun and exciting events to become a world-renowned athlete. Hit the half-pipe competitions, race down the mountains, or just do some freeriding – there's plenty of boarding action to satisfy all your needs.
  • Round the Globe with Shaun White
    Ubisoft worked in close contact with Shaun White in order to infuse the experience with the most authentic elements of his riding style, personality and sense of humor. Shaun will act as a good-natured friend and mentor to the player, hooking him up with the right friends to conquer challenges together, introduce him to new locales, or simply be around to share in a laugh.
  • Play Together
    Engage in a seamlessly integrated multiplayer experience for two to four players in both cooperative and competitive gameplay.
  • Get Your Own Crew
    In the world of snowboarding, it pays to have friends on your side. Your crew of friends will always be there to help you by offering you unique abilities to improve both your riding and keeping you grounded with friendly pranks; filming all the antics along the way.
  • Dare to Be the Best
    Undertaking Dares from your friends will lead you to snowboard in a variety of events such as Slopestyles, Big Airs, Half Pipes, Rail Jams, Slaloms, Bordercross and Downhill events. You can even chill in the backcountry with your friends and enjoy riding at your own pace.

Update: Ubisoft has now released a new trailer for SWSB: Road Trip and it shows the Wii Balance Board in use - it's looking great.

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E3: Ubisoft Gives Us Nothing New

clock July 16, 2008 08:21 by author WiiBBG

Ubisoft logo After the excitement of Nintendo's press conference earlier in the day together with a brief demo by Shaun White, I had high hopes for the Ubisoft press conference but it was a bit of a letdown, at least for balance board fans as we really got nothing new.

First off, Ubisoft US president, Laurent Detoc, launched into Raving Rabbids TV Party, and we got to see more Beestie Boarding and Ironing Board Surfing. They then went on to their FPS demos with Brothers in Arms, Tom Clancy Endwar and Far Cry which are undeniably great looking games but what I really wanted to see was some more of Shaun White Snowboarding (SWS).

After much talk of the "tween girl market" and a new brand focusing on girl sports, it was finally time for SWS as Louis Lamarche launched into a multiplayer demo .... on PS3. So no more balance board demos then although I have to say that the game looks awesome on PS3. Now I know that Wii fans like to defend the console by saying it's not about the graphics, it's all about the immersive gameplay but with such incredible graphics (PS3 screenshot below) and a huge open environment, even I would be hardpressed to choose the balance board version over the PS3. That said, let's see what Ubisoft delivers for SBS Wii over the coming months. Obviously the graphics will not be the same and features will be different as the Wii version is being developed separately from the PS3/Xbox/PC versions but there's still huge potential for a really great Wii franchise in SWS.

Shaun White on ps3

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Ubidays: Good News For The Wii Balance Board

clock May 29, 2008 09:11 by author WiiBBG

Watching Ubidays live last night, I just couldn't help being amazed by the Far Cry 2 and Brothers In Arms demos but the really exciting news for me was confirmation by Ubisoft that, as I suspected, Shaun White Snowboarding is coming to Wii and will include Wii Balance Board support. Up until now, EA Skate It has been my most anticipated balance board game but SWS trumps that. Check out the latest ign first look. The game looks awesome and while I know that graphics on the Wii will not match the Xbox, balance board support will go a long way towards making up for that.

The other news of course is that Rabbids will be back in the form of Raving Rabbids TV Party - with balance board support as everyone suspected.

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The Countdown To Ubidays Begins

clock May 27, 2008 06:52 by author WiiBBG

Uplay logo With Ubidays now less than 48 hours away, we should finally get some official word on the release of Rayman Ravings Rabbids 3 and confirmation on whether or not the game will indeed have balance board support.

But now, something else has caught my eye. On Ubi's teaser site, Uplay, there's a snowboarding teaser clip which I can only assume is news on the upcoming Shaun White Snowboarding title. That game's been tipped for a Winter 2008 release on Xbox but what I'm really keen to hear is news of a Wii version that includes balance board support - now that would be cool.

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