Tricks... are a bit trickier. Once the tutorial has you cruising around with a small degree of proficiency, it sets you to jumping and grinding. Steering feels pretty natural – you just have to shift your weight one way or the other like you'd expect, fine-tuning your movement a little to make sure you're getting it right.
Jumping as you go off a kicker, however, requires this strange half jump-half pushing motion that I can't really describe. The problem is, neither can Ubisoft. My mate Bunney, also a snowboarder, took about three runs to get anything like a reasonable jump going on. Telling someone to press [A] is easy; explaining to someone (without any feedback from them) how to subtly shift their weight around a flat piece of plastic is not so easy. It doesn't help when the game tells you to do a trick then doesn't offer much of any explanation on how
to do it.
In brief – tricks involve shifting your weight on the Balance Board to initiate a spin or a flip, then adding grabs and whatnot with the Wii Remote and trying to string together combos. Ubisoft Montreal hasn't made the exact details startlingly obvious, so you'll need to engage in a bit of trial and error.
So... learning how to ride in Shaun White
is a bit of a pain. You do get it after a bit of practice, however, and once you do it feels great. This, fundamentally, is where the fun in Shaun White Snowboarding
on the Wii lies. It's not faultless, but it's good enough to make for a really enjoyable experience.
As a side note, some people might find that the control system suffers from being a bit too close to the real thing. Occasionally you feel like you're playing a one-to-one simulation and start to move accordingly. You're not, and doing this won't go well for you. But, again, you'll figure it out, so it's not a major pitfall.
The challenges offer a decent amount of depth and variation to keep things interesting. There's a fair amount of difference between different runs, while switching from pulling off tricks as you careen down a slope to picking up trash cans as you go is enough to keep things from getting boring when you do repeat chunks of the mountain. For the more dedicated rider there's also the option to complete a run with added points/crown pickups/speed, as well as mementos (achievements). It's not the massive open mountains of the next-gen versions, but it's enough.
It's all packaged with some really slick presentation. Thankfully, Ubisoft Montreal opted to go for a charming, cartoony art style for Road Trip
rather than a second-rate attempt at realism. The characters are all likeable, with their own look and animations.