As a skier, snowblader and snowboarder, I love the slopes. However, a young family has kept me away from the slopes for a couple of years and as soon as I heard of We Ski (as this game is known outside Europe), the sooner I had to purchase a Wii Console and Balance Board (of course, I had to get Wii Fit to get one of those!)
I pre-ordered Family Ski and awaiting in anticipation for its release. Luckily it arrived a day early so I've had chance to get to the slopes and take the game for a spin.
Overall, I'm impressed. Is it the same as skiing down a mountain? No, but it's as close as you're likely to get without leaving your living room.
The game loads pretty quickly but be aware that if you have a balance board, you'll need to click the 'balance board' on the loading pages for it to sync. As soon as you're asked to press 'A' and 'B', it's too late.
Once the games loaded and the Balance Board is sync'ed, it's time to choose your Mii and ski-gear. There's a range of gear to choose from and more can be unlocked as your skiing technique improves.
Having donned some untrendy gear and some carving skiis, it's time to hit the slopes. With the use of the WiiMore, Nunchuk and Balance Board, skiing with Family Ski is a breeze. The game is responsive to movement on the balance board and although you can't carve an edge, it's still as close enough to the real experience to make skiing enjoyable.
With a choice of freestyle, races and moguls, there's enough to keep the casual ski-loving gamer happy for a while. You can 'talk' to fellow skiiers and be challenged to races, have your photo taken and sent to friends via Wii Message Board as well as improve technique at the ski-school.
Subtle features like hearing the ice as you travel over it, 'feeling' the slowness of melting snow and tannoy announcements all add to the experience. Graphics are pretty good and do immerse you in the resort. Seeing trails as you carve through the snow looks good as well as the powder spray as you are the first to hit some virgin snow.
With Family Ski, don't expect a virtual realistic skiing experience, if you want that, get on a plane and get to a real slope. If that doesn't suit your pocket or the snow's not great, spend £30 and make the most of the slopes on your Wii.
If I could improve Family Ski, I'd suggest:
* having a larger resort - although the terrain and features cover many that you'd experience on the real slopes, the resort is quite small and can be covered quickly
* allow you to break out of conversations with fellow skiers and photographers
* allow more Balance Boards to be connected - currently only one balance board player can play at a time (this is a limitation of the Wii Console though so hardly the fault of the game). In multi-player mode, players each use the WiiMote/Nunchuk.