Wednesday 24 May 2006
The basic premise of most Wii games is 'simplicity'. Therefore the trick-heavy, fully customizable Tony Hawk series may not be the best way to introduce people to the motion-sensing Wii wand. That's where Downhill Jam comes into play - it's a dead simple, all-downhill racer that's easy enough to pick up, but may still be hanging on to too many elements of the regular series.
So you're a punky skater kid rolling down the absurdly hilly streets of San Francisco. The wand is held sideways like a steering wheel (as with Excite Truck) and you tilt it as if you were driving. Sounds simple enough, but doing this while pulling off indy nosebones, grinding on awnings and looking for secret paths is awfully confusing.
Above: He's downhill jamming. Neversoft hopes you'll like jammin' too
The two surface buttons of the wand make your racer crouch, jump and whip out easy mid-air moves. The problem comes from the B trigger underneath the wand - the one your index finger snuggles up to when you're holding the wand normally. That trigger is used for grab moves... but with the wand on its side, it isn't easily accessible. Keeping track of the wand's location, plus cramming your fingers around the buttons and trigger makes watching the downhill path troublesome.
That's not to say you can't get used to the setup - it's just not very intuitive from the start. But with intuitive control being one of Wii's biggest draws, perhaps this isn't the ideal introduction to Wii.