I hate winter. I hate everything about it; the cold, the salt, and the idiot drivers who can’t drive in it, but mostly I hate the snow. So, as a kid, I never did really get to go outside and play in it. I also don’t know how to do all the skiing, skating, and all the other games winter has to offer. So if you’re like me, D3Publisher has something just for us. In honor of this miserable season, they bring us 30 Great Games: Winter Fun. This is a budget title for the Wii that lets you play all the winter games you can think of in the warmth and comfort of your home.
With this title, you get (as the name implies) 30 winter games that range from things you can do in your own backyard like snowball fight, to things you might never do like ice canoeing and everything in between. Whatever winter games you can think of and ones you simply can’t even fathom are in this game.
Starting out, this game was meant to be played with a full house. If you sit down and play this game by yourself, it’s just not that fun. The majority of the time, once you finish your turn, you have to sit and wait for the computer AI do its thing. This gets a really tedious and boring. Sometimes, however, you can press the A button on the longer events and skip the AI’s turn. Also, if you just want to sit down and just play your favorite event, sorry, that option isn’t in this game. The only options you have are Challenge, Co-op, and Battle. All of these are pretty self-explanatory and all support up to four players.
In challenge mode, you pick a room that you want to compete in and go through five different events with each room having different games. In Battle mode, you can pick from up to ten different events and try to beat your friends in a less than epic showdown. And co-op is, well co-op, you and a friend playing nicely together. Of course, not all the events are unlocked from the outset. The ones that are already unlocked are the ones that I didn’t really enjoy. I mean, there were a couple I went back to just to see if I can do better, but for the most part I didn’t practically care for them.
The one that sticks out in my mind is The Giant Slalom. This event was not fun at all. And what killed it were the controls. You hold up the nunchuk and the Wii-mote vertically and move them left or right at the same time to move in that direction. This is where the problem comes in. For those of you that don’t know what the giant slalom is, you have to ski between flags that earn you points. And skiing through those flags is a pain. I would barely move the controllers to the left and my little dude would turn a full 90 degrees and ski into the wall. It took me over two minutes to complete this game while the AI beat it in less than a minute.
Not every game’s controls are that bad, some actually respond pretty well even with no WiiMotion Plus support. This game was meant to for players of all ages to play but I can’t for the life of me justify this in the controls and that is where the Wii usually shines. You don’t know if you need the nunchuk until the game tells you by putting up a box saying to attach it. Once you finish the event that does need it, you move on to the next event and chances are you won’t need it. So you now have two options: leave it on and risk it impeding your game or take it off and then reattaching it later. Both of these options are bad. There really is no rhyme or reason to knowing what games need the nunchuk. This is a poor design decision, and one that hinders the enjoyment.
With every different game comes a new control scheme you have to learn. This might be a problem for the younger kids because that can be a lot to retain. I even had to read the tutorial that you can access before each game at least three times before I felt I was comfortable with the controls. How can any fun come out of a game that you don’t know how to play? Well, honestly, you have to just play the game over and over until you are comfortable with all the controls. It’s not like they are hard and have you pressing a lot of buttons, it’s just a lot of different schemes to memorize.
The look of the game is what you would expect but it is colorful and at times can be pleasant to look at you know, when you aren’t crashing into the wall. But the good thing about the plain look is that there aren’t any pesky slow-down or frame rate problems. Something I noticed which just boggled my mind was no Mii support. I thought this would be pretty standard by this time in the console’s cycle. So, not only can’t you use Motion Plus, you also can’t use your Mii!
In all 30 Great Games: Winter Fun has potential. If you hate the cold and don’t want to go outside to skate or bombard your friends with snowballs, this game might let you release those demons but with thirty different control schemes and, at times, very touchy controls, maybe its best that you brave the bone chilling cold and start pegging your neighbor’s dog with some white balls of fury. It is definitely a lot more enjoyable when playing with multiple people. However, be prepared to hear little Johnny scream as he probably will struggle with the controls more often than not.
Review copy provided by publisher.