D3Publisher had a good concept going with Winter Fun: Bring all the fun, athletic activities winter has to offer into the warmth and comfort of our homes. Unfortunately, this low-priced, variety sports game blunders right out of the gate. Thanks to poor control schemes and a lot of boring down time, youíre better off layering the winter clothes and going outside for some sledding.
Winter Fun does not suffer from lack of variety. Quite the contrary, actually; everything from snowball fights to rappelling is included, making the game less of an Olympics simulation and more of an oddball mash of winter activities (some of which arenít even usually associated with winter). A serious sports game this is not, but it does do a good job of offering plenty of variety, and there is something to be said about that for a game with such a low price.
In order to get the maximum enjoyment Winter Fun has to offer, itís important to come at it with the right mindset. The developer clearly intended it as a group game. But even in a living room full of family members and dear friends, thereís more frustration than fun here. Usually, itís the control schemes that hold these events back from achieving high replay value, which is what they would need to succeed. Too often, the control schemes boil down to an assortment of shaking and waving the Wii-mote and nunchuk in motions that donít prove to be very responsive. Whether you are skiing the giant slalom or speed skating the short track, the inaccuracy of the controls will likely lead to your movements devolving into lackluster thrusts to try and get your player back on track.
For all of the bugs and glitches with the controls (and there are many scattered throughout the 30 events), Winter Fun does hit its stride at certain moments. These moments come more frequently in the events that must be unlocked and are not available the first time the game is played. Some of the more playful activities like snowball fights, footprint, and Santa Claus have a novelty that might be right for certain family settings; however, Winter Fun then steals its own thunder by forcing players to wait while the AI players take their turns. Itís easy to stop paying attention during these sequences and lose focus on the game entirely. The events are also broken up by several screens of instructions regarding what comes next. Players must read and understand the controls before moving forward. Since games are usually played one after the other in quick succession, this can result in a lot of reading and a lot of different motions that blend together over time. Given the gameís family-oriented, playful nature, it seems that a quicker rate of play and less responsibility to memorize would have made sense.
Not much needs to be mentioned regarding offensive material. Other than snowball ďfightsĒ and cartoon-style characters wearing sleek, form-fitting clothing, there is little to nothing that could be construed as inappropriate for any member of the family. Players will occasionally fall to the ground in some of the events, but these circumstances easily fall into the ďcomic mischiefĒ category rather than violence.
Though D3Publisher may have made too many missteps to make Winter Fun a recommended title, several of the events they bring to the Wii have great promise. And should we see the developer try something similar in the future, letís hope that, from controls to pacing, the kinks have been worked out and resulting product can offer a more enjoyable experience.
Ľ By Devin Wieland, Plain Games. Published 6/29/2010 9:43:22 PM.