Less than a year after We Ski successfully opened its slopes for business, the aptly named We Ski & Snowboard remedies its predecessor's lack of snowboarding and also offers two brand-new mountains for you to play on. Snowboards don't change the game the way they should, and there aren't many new features to be found on the slopes, but there's plenty of fun to be had here for players of all ages.
Turns out the lack of snowboards in We Ski wasn't such a big deal after all.
After opting to play as either a Mii or one of the game's customizable characters, your first move from the main menu will likely be to attend the snow school. It's a slow process to play through the numerous lessons, each of which cover only a single move, but by the end you'll have mastered the mostly uncomplicated controls for everything from stopping and turning to landing huge jumps and performing spectacular tricks. New ground tricks that can be used to be string together high-scoring combos are a welcome addition, and they're easy enough to perform that, even when they're necessary to complete challenges, the difficulty level doesn't ramp up too significantly.
There are separate lessons for skiing and snowboarding at the school, but if you go there expecting the two disciplines to offer different gameplay experiences, you're in for a disappointment. The animation and the names of the moves and tricks are different, but the controls and the performance are not. In fact, the only noteworthy difference is that if you choose to play using the Balance Board, you need to rotate the peripheral 90 degrees from its regular orientation when you use it for snowboarding. Regardless of how you choose to go downhill, the Balance Board's functionality is again limited to shifting your weight to steer left and right. It works just fine, but it's disappointing that you can't control your speed or tricks in the same way.
After settling on a control scheme and learning how to play with it, you can choose to enter races, slaloms, and various trick-related contests directly from the main menu or to explore one of the mountains and participate in those events when you find them. The Jamboree Snow Resort is a lot like We Ski's Happy Snow Resort, but its busy slopes offer more varied challenges than those in last year's game. Artificial ramps, halfpipes, and grinding rails that look like the remains of roller coasters appear alongside mogul runs and winding slalom courses, and an impressive network of lifts transports you between slopes if you want to take in the view rather than use a map to move around the resort instantly. Relatively speaking, Mount Angrio is an untamed wilderness where challenges come in the form of wooded areas, rocky outcrops, huge drops from cliff faces, and even avalanches in a couple of spots. The only way up the mountain is inside a helicopter or UFO, and the only way down is on your skis or board.
The ride to the top of Mount Angrio is well worth the effort.