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5 Reviews

SSX Blur

Review: Ice cool snowboarding fun

SSX Blur is one of the first Wii games to demonstrate how, with a little extra thought, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk can be used to control a conventional game in an unconventional and intuitive way.

If you read all about the controls in our in-depth hands-on preview you'll already know what we're talking about.

SSX Blur uses the tilt-sensing capacity of both the Remote and Nunchuk to enhance the visceral feeling of the game to brilliant effect.

It doesn't have you mimicing the movements of a snowboarder like Wii Sports Baseball has you mimic a batter, which would be silly anyway. It instead puts you more in touch with the boarder.

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As you twist the Nunchuk left and right to steer, the tilting of your hand feels satisfyingly connected with the leaning of the on-screen boarder.

Admittedly, it's awkward at first - after years of normal pad usage you'll find your thumb occasionally tugging on the analogue stick, purely through force of habit. But the analogue instead handles acceleration and braking, by pushing up and down. Once you get used to this - which took us about 20 minutes - you'll start to really get stuck into what is a great control system.

While on the ground your other hand, holding the Wii Remote, has very little to do. The other half of the controller only springs into action when you launch yourself into the air.

While airborne, you use the Wii Remote to perform the all the extreme flicks and spins that the SSX series is known for. Again, it's at this moment that the motion controls really allow you to get stuck in, flicking the Remote left and right to perform spins, or up and down to do flips.

Throw your wrist in a combination of different directions and you can have your boarder spinning in all angles, while doing grabs by holding Z and pushing the analogue stick in a direction.

Performing some crazy mid-air tricks and landing smoothly boosts your Groove meter. Fill the meter and you're able to pull off Uber tricks - the biggest and most daring stunts in the game, as featured in past games in the series.

Only this time, activating an Uber trick requires you to make more complex motion gestures with the Remote and Nunchuk, like moving the Remote in a large circle or a figure-of-eight as you're boarder soars through the air. Do it right and the game enters slow-motion, as the camera zooms in on your boarder to allow you to admire your ninja skills.

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Performing all these trick takes some getting used to. Speaking to people at press events gave us the impression that the stunts were near impossible to pull off. But on the contrary, we found that within an hour we were competent enough to consistently pull off Uber tricks, and that's when the fun really starts.

With this mastered you can start using tricks and insanely high jumps to reach secret routes and take sneaky shortcuts on the wide open race courses. Or rake up thousands of points on the half pipe with well-timed flicks of your wrists.

And as an added control bonus - something that's new for Wii - EA has added ability to throw snowballs, too. Hold B and your boarder will grab some snow, then loft the Remote forward in a throwing motion to make your boarder hurl it at a nearby opponent. Dirty tactics.

But it's not just the controls that make SSX Blur satisfying to play, because EA has done a great job with the sound and visuals in the game, too. You only need to look at the many screenshots here on CVG to see that this game packs some pretty sweet visuals, and it's even better to see in motion.

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