That aside, the control system works well and the game is rewarding if you're willing to learn the various tricks and techniques at the Ski School. It's best to get this out of the way first then explore the Happy Ski Resort, which is jolly pretty and has lots of things to do. It's fun to ride on the ski lifts, using the nunchuk stick to move the camera around and take in the view from the air. When the novelty wears off you can just access the map menu and skip straight to the top of runs you want to tackle.
At first the course map seems to show a complicated network of lengthy courses. As you start exploring, though, it becomes apparent that these courses are actually quite short, and Happy Ski Resort is in fact quite small. It's possible to make your way down all the runs within less than an hour. You're rated on your performance each time you ski down a course, the idea obviously being to improve your ranking through repetition. But it's a bit of a shame there isn't a more structured career mode.
At least there are plenty of sub-quests to complete. These include racing against AI opponents, finding and rescuing lost skiers, pulling off specific tricks and slalom challenges. There's lots of variation and the quests are mostly enjoyable, though the endless text-based conversations you must have before you get to go on them get tiresome.
If you can't be doing with all that you can skip the Freestyle mode and go straight for a race. There are three types to choose from - straightforward downhill burners, slalom races where players take it in turns to ski between sets of flags, and mogul events, where you traverse a lumpy run that's ideal for performing tricks. Up to four players can compete, or you can race AI characters.
Once again, it's great at first. There's the novelty of using the controllers as ski poles to enjoy, and much hilarity to be had thanks mainly to all the crotch flaying. However, the problem of speed comes into play here too. The winter sports games in Wii Fit are instantly accessible but also challenging over time; practice improves your performance as you perfect the art of controlling your speed and balance, and that adds an edge to the competitive element. In Communal Crotch Flaying, it's all about how fast you can pump your arms up and down. The multiplayer races are entertaining, and they're perfect for playing with inexperienced gamers who just want a go on a Wii for an hour. It's just a shame there isn't more depth here.
So is Communal Crotch Flaying worth a purchase? It is if you live in the US, where it's titled We Ski and costs USD 24.99. At that price it's a good buy, especially if you're wondering what to do with that balance board now you're thinner than an Olsen, or still fat but bored of being told how to do stretching by an albino gym trainer. Even if you don't have a board, the game is good enough to entertain non-gaming friends who are fed up with Wii Sports tennis.
But in the UK, isn't it always the way, Communal Crotch Flaying has an RRP of GBP 34.99. Yep, more than twice the price. For that you get an entertainment experience that's initially a lot of fun. The game is nicely presented, with smart, appealing visuals and lots of neat extras, like the two-player split-screen option for Freestyle mode and the option to take photos of your characters as they ski (you can also share them online, if you really have nothing better to do). There's plenty to do and the game is well-structured so you can quickly get on with the business of skiing if you don't want to muck about with all the other stuff.
However, the game-world is pretty small, the gameplay is relatively shallow and there's not quite enough challenge and reward on offer. Not to mention the crotch flaying. It's worth buying if you can find it at a bargain price, and works as a decent alternative to Wii Fit for balance board owners. Just don't expect too much.