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Skate It - Hands on with Wii and DS

Natural disasters have turned San Verona, Skate's concrete paradise, into wreckage. The populace has been evacuated. So what's a skater to do? Answer: Carve a pinewood path through the scattered remains of all our favourite Skate spots, drops and jumps in EA's Wii and DS spin-off, Skate It.

Skate's best feature - the Flick It trick system - clearly won't transfer directly to Wii or DS. So developer Black Box has had to think of other ways to innovate. Returning to Tony Hawk's style button taps is simply not an option. So on DS we have stylus control over our tricks and jumps, while on Wii you simply take the Wiimote and, well, flick it.

Our hands on began with Wii. Effectively, the Wiimote is your board. We weren't entirely convinced, but once we'd had more than a few minutes with the controls they felt as natural as using an analogue stick. Skate It will work with the balance board (for turning, powerslides and manuals) but Black Box are still deciding how exactly to use it, and wouldn't let us play. Not that there wasn't enough to keep us occupied with the motion controls.

Here's how it works: If you want to ollie, you lift the Wiimote - keeping it level - and to nollie, you dip it. To kickflip or heelflip, you slightly twist the controller as you lift it up, while performing pop-shuvits see you carving a semi circle as if drawning on a blackboard with chalk, or a full circle for a 360 shuv. It might not sound natural, but you soon get into the swing of it.

All the tricks from last year's Skate are included (from Salad grinds to 360 Flips) so there's going to be a hell of a lot of gestures to learn. It'll be crucial, then, that we get the same 'Now I get it!' moments that we did with Skate on Xbox 360 and PS3. A good sign then that, while the controls aren't instantly comfortable, it didn't take us too long to start tricking in and out of long, smooth grinds or leaping neatly over obstacles while pulling grabs with the B button.

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