There are approaching 20 games that support Wii MotionPlus, Nintendo's precision-enhancing add-on. But none of them, I'd wager, do so quite as disappointingly as Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage, the sequel to last year's fun Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip.
The only feature to make use of it is the new create-a-trick mode, which, according to the back of the box, is all "thanks to the MotionPlus". It's a perfectly usable and accessible way of customising your tricks, but why can't MotionPlus be used in events? It seems silly that it's not, when you can design tricks with it, tricks that can be used to replace established tricks already included in the game. What we have here, puzzlingly, is a tool we can use to create, but not to play with our creations.
One of the first ports of call when reviewing sequels is to check out what's new. In World Stage case, this was an incredibly difficult job: without full MotionPlus support, it's essentially the same game as last year's effort. The Trick Machine is home to the Cosmos Brothers - sci-fi Buzz Lightyear lookalikes who ride Hover Boards (eat your heart out Marty McFly). They act as crash test dummies that fly off of ramps for your editing pleasure. The first step is to add rotation, then a grab, then make sure you land properly. Once done, you can add an icon and name it. It's a basic editing tool, but one most will actually be able to use. I was particularly proud of PAP, a trick that involved a full forward 360 while holding the board with both hands. I doubt, however, that Shaun White would think much of it.
The Trick Machine, it seems, is all that's genuinely new. On the snow the controls are once again simple, but almost exactly the same; the Saturday morning cartoon graphics are no better, but still give an impressive sense of speed; and the career mode is as bare-bones as before, but breezy fun.
To board, you point the Remote forward and twist it left or right to turn. Holding down the A button makes you go faster, and B slows you down. The game's so simple, that leaping onto ledges to grind is automatic. Similarly, the trick system is basic. Just before you hit ramps, flicking the Remote up causes your boarder to crouch then launch off of it, allowing for plenty of air time during which the Remote can be twisted and shaken to trigger different tricks in combination with presses of the A and B buttons. All that's left is for you to make sure you're aligned properly before you land.
There's a smidgen of strategy. Before each event you're asked to select a friend from the crew. It's an important decision, because each friend offers a unique special ability that can be used when your Respect (sigh) Meter is full. Each boarder has a different respect power. Gordon, for example, gives you a speed boost. Smart friend selection is often required when you get to the pro events; a speed boost comes in handy during the straight up races.
Advanced play, however, is more about chaining tricks. If you land correctly (a tough skill to master), the points multiplier kicks in. If you perform another trick within eight seconds, you'll keep the multiplier active. It's harder than it sounds - sometimes there isn't much to trick off, especially in the race-driven events. It's normally not a problem in the trick based events though, where half pipes and rails are plentiful. World Stage isn't a sim, but it poses a gnarly challenge.