For many years Tony Hawk was the only real skating contender on the block when it came to making videogames about skating. EA’s Skate which came out a couple of years ago changed all that and some people preferred their new ‘Flickit’ controls, which represented the moves on a skateboard more realistically than just pushing a button. I can’t skate and so I wasn’t a fan, preferring Tony Hawk’s simpler control method.
Well, now the game’s out on the Wii in the form of Skate It and this time they’ve taken the control system that bit further with flicks and shakes of the Wii-mote to get you doing ollies, nollies, shove its and grinds. You can also get on the Wii balance board if you want to truly get that feeling of leaning into your turns and applying pressure to your board to get it off the ground.
Of course, if you play through the career there’s a loose story of sorts. The city of San Vanelona has seen some sort of strange disaster which has effectively made it a ghost town. This makes a skater’s paradise as they’ve all free to use any part of the city as their skate park. So, you doing your tricks and your friend filming you on camera, you set about completing tricks and combos to get some really gnarly stuff on tape…dude.
I have a big problem with this game and it’s mainly because of the controls. Making a ‘proper’ game for the Wii is always tough if you’re using the motion sensor because it’s simply not accurate enough to do what you want it to do. Try to do specific combos and you’ll quite often fail due to some mistranslation between your wrist and the Wii. Try to use the Wii balance board and things get even worse. I can’t skate anyway, but transferring your weight from toes to heel to steer is nigh-on impossible and I ended up weaving left and right like I’d had far too many JDs.
I also can’t help wondering if this ‘city disaster’ was just a story to excuse the developers from having anyone else in the game world. It’s certainly weird skating round the grey ghost town. The graphics also leave a lot to be desired. You can design your own character from a limited set of options but they’re a really odd shape.
On the positive side, the game does have a good soundtrack and will still please fans of skating games who want one on the Wii. There’s also fun to be had by bailing on purpose from a great height to make sure you enter the ‘Hall of Meat’ by breaking every bone in your body.
If you’re going to get this game, my word of advice is to stick to using the Wii remote and Nunchuck. Don’t buy a copy of Wii Fit just to get the balance board – you’ll be disappointed. Skate It gets a disappointing 5 out of 10.