After watching Shaun White take gold at the Vancouver Olympics, I wanted to soar like the Flying Tomato. While I definitely don’t resemble Shaun White when I’m strapped into my actual snowboard, I figured I could make some headway towards my dreams with Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage.
This game, UbiSoft’s second installment with Shaun White for the Wii, can be played with just the Wii controller or the balance board and controller. Since I’m looking for games that offer a potential workout, I used both. With my game face on and my balance board ready to go, I stepped on to see if I could master the virtual big air competition or boardercross and maybe even burn some calories. It didn’t go so well on either account.
As a snowboarder, I tried to use the motion of switching between being on my heels and toes, although that just lead to my first rider, Francois, going all over the place. The movements in the game need to be much more subtle, and unlike real snowboarding, there is no real jumping on the Wii Balance Board (in fact the game pauses and reminds you not to jump if you do).
So plyometrics don’t come into play, but balance certainly does. I didn’t have to engage my core nearly as much as I would on a real mountain, but it helps if you want to master various tricks, including ones that involve balancing between being on your toes on one foot and your heel on the other foot.
Unlike some other Wii Fit games, you are not playing with your own Wii character. Instead there’s a group of boarders who are climbing their way up the world tour, chasing White, of course. To start, you’re ranked 100 and only have a few riders to choose from. White is no where to be found, he’s probably off riding his Red Bull halfpipe until the finals come up. You, on the other hand, are just trying to land a truck driver or figure out a front side rodeo to garner enough points to move up in the rankings (Full disclosure, I am currently ranked only 74.)
A 150-pound person will burn about 100 calories an hour doing a light activity while standing, and only about half that amount sitting. Recreational snowboarding, however, can burn up to about 600 calories per hour. If you take World Stage very seriously, perfecting your moves and engaging your core to shoot up through the rankings, you might burn some extra calories, but mastering tricks is more gameplay than hardcore workout.
Level of Difficulty
Next Day Soreness
Who’s It For?
Anyone who is a fan of Shaun White, or snowboarding in general, can have a lot of fun on this game. While doing tricks on the board isn’t exactly as intensive as single leg squats, it takes a fair bit of balance and some technique to master any of the tricks that will help you catch up to White.
The range of locations and different competitions keeps the game fresh as you continue to advance. If you use the Wii Motion Plus controller, you can also build your own moves. Face planting is also much less brutal when simulated on a video game instead of on a real ski mountain.
It would be nice to actually jump on the balance board to make it even more interactive, although obviously I can see how that could lead to a lot of broken boards.
Chasing Shaun White in World Stage is definitely easier than trying to match his talent on the real world’s stage. The game can be addicting and fun, although it’s not much of a workout. However if you’ve been playing the game with a controller, it’s a whole new challenge to try it on the balance board.