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Review: Wii sports hit and miss

  • Story Highlights
  • The 'Wii Balance Board,' which comes with Wii Fit, can be used with other games
  • Namco Bandai's 'We Ski' is a simple yet fun skiing game with more than 12 courses
  • 'Summer Sports: Paradise Island' offers up a collection of summer-themed games
  • 'Paradise Island' sports finicky controls, and sometimes awkward animations
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By Marc Saltzman
Gannett News Service
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Thanks to its innovative wireless controls, family-friendly games and relatively inexpensive price tag, the Nintendo Wii is hotter than the dancing flames in Donkey Kong.

'We Ski' includes more than a dozen runs ranging from simple bunny slopes to the most challenging Black Diamonds cliffs.

It's no surprise then that everyone is trying to cash in on the craze, though some game publishers tend to do a better job than others.

Case in point: Two new sports games are now available for the Wii, one that proves to be a fairly good time as you slalom down a snowy mountain, while the other, a collection of summer-themed recreational activities, is a complete mess.

Here's a closer look at each.

'We Ski'

Those who purchased Nintendo's new Wii Fit -- a collection of fitness routines and minigames for the Wii console -- might be surprised to learn that the included Wii Balance Board, which looks like a bathroom scale, can also be used with other video games.

Namco Bandai's 'We Ski' is a simple yet fun skiing game that supports the Wii Balance Board peripheral, so you can stand on the wireless doohickey and use your body to shift weight as you navigate down the hill.

Up to four players can hit the virtual slopes on the same television, though gamers will need to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers to slalom down the mountain.

Game Info: 'We Ski'

Score: 7.0 stars (out of 10)
Rating: Everyone
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Price: $29.99

'We Ski' includes more than a dozen runs ranging from simple bunny slopes to the most challenging Black Diamonds cliffs. Other activities available include freestyle challenges, race modes, moguls, and a ski school for beginners.

Speaking of newbies, the game's cute graphics add to its charm, but older players might write this off as a kiddie game. You can also import your custom-made Mii character before outfitting the skier with new clothes and accessories including poles and goggles.

'We Ski' is a fun winter getaway for families, but much of the novelty lies in standing on the Wii Balance Board, therefore those who don't yet own Wii Fit might want to wait before hitting the slopes.

'Summer Sports: Paradise Island'

Not only is the Nintendo Wii considerably cheaper than other video game consoles, but you also get five sports games in the box. Destineer wants to add seven more, all of which are set in a tropical resort.

Play against the game's artificial intelligence or with up to three friends in a collection of summer-themed games, including minigolf, volleyball, badminton, croquet, lawn darts, horseshoes and outdoor basketball.

You can swing the Wii Remote like a badminton racket or spike a volleyball, or use the controller to toss a basketball into the net for familiar street ball games like Around the World, Shot Clock or H.O.R.S.E.

Game Info: 'Paradise Island'

Score: 4 stars (out of 10)
Rating: Everyone
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Destineer
Price: $39.99

While this might sound like a fun collection of digital diversions, the games in fact range from boring (lawn darts and horseshoes) to annoying (basketball and badminton) to fair (minigolf and croquet).

The issues mostly relate to finicky controls (in basketball, for example, there doesn't seem to be a way to accurately aim at the net) and awkward animations (especially badminton and volleyball). You also can't import your own Mii character.

These shortcomings are a shame because the game's presentation is nice, with attractive venues and decent music, but this overpriced summer sports collection isn't worth the trip to the island.

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