Don your wet suit wax your board and dive right into this penguin filled thrill ride that is Ubisoft’s Surf's Up for the Nintendo Wii.

Surf’s Up is not what I expected from another game based on an animated movie! To my surprise Ubisoft pulls off Surf’s Up by straying away from the movies plot line and solid gameplay mechanics. The videogame version of Surf’s Up shines on its own as quite a decent gaming experience. On the movies end you have Ash Brannon Co-Director of Toy Story 2 behind the helm along with Chris Buck (Tarzan) and the talent of Sony Pictures Animation.

In Surf’s Up you can play as Cody Maverick (the lead character), Lifeguard Lani, Rory and even Jon Heders character, the stoner chicken, Chicken Joe complete with corn cob surf board. There are ten unlockable players to unlock so you can find your penguin (or chicken) alter ego. The game itself consists of two modes of play either play in championship mode where you will enter as your chosen surfer into Reggie Belafonte's Big Z Memorial Surf Up.........try saying that ten times really fast. Or you can opt for the multiplayer option and hang ten with your friends.
Once in championship mode you and your surfer will be thrown into a series of levels where you are essentially guided along by a persistent wave from which you perform the majority of your tricks which in turn earn you points in your energy bar. I must add that diving right into surfs up can be a little crazy right off the bat but give it 15 minutes and you will soon be ripping up those waves and pulling off some righteous tricks like a pro.

As you pull off more and more tricks you will notice your energy bar filling up this bar is used for two things firstly as long as you have something in the bar you can wiggle your Wiimote to gain a speed boost to enable you to smash through ice and other obstacles. Secondly and more importantly once the energy bar is full you will be able to enter stoke mode which in turn enables you to pull off stoke tricks earning you large points to help you with your progression of the game. Each level has its own set of challenges and if you succeed in these you will unlock cool new items, movie clips, unlockable characters as well as advancing in the game.

The controls can easily be mastered by young and adults gamers in no time. Since Surf's Up is more of an arcade action game then a surfing emulation, the surf feeling is less impressive then I expected. Surf's Up does have good flow, but the lack of innovation with the Wii motion controller and game concept hurts the potential of the first Wii-born surfing game. Beyond this, the water physics are simulated and feel natural in each of the locations. Surf’s Up certainly didn’t take the back door of being a tacked on product even though its slightly misguided. If you're considering picking up Surf's Up and have the long list of consoles that Surf's Up was released on, the Wii version of Surf’s Up might be the most appealing version of this multi-console release, simply because of the added fun of the Wii-mote.

Visually, Surf's Up is a treat with some great looking characters which closely mimic the motion picture, and even better levels to explore. Usually the Nintendo Wii is often lacking when it comes to graphics, not so in Surf's up! Sound wise the voice over's are pretty good but can get a little repetitive at times with only a 10 song playlist. The sound tracks really can be .........well a bit naff to be honest. It's the graphics that save Ubisoft this time which isn't a surprise given the talent pool in the french connections hub. What more can you expect from a movie based game?

Surfs up will almost certainly be a hit with the younger gamer, especially if they enjoyed the movie. For the more seasoned gamer, Surf’s Up might not heed enough of a challenge considering the main game can easily be beaten in a couple of hours. Never the less Ubisoft’s Surf’s Up is a nice game and certainly worth a look for those of you who like talking penguins and stoned chickens.

Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 6.5, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 7. Final: 6.5 / 10

The Good Great Graphics and Gameplay, Fun and Entertaining, Creative Characters
The BadWii-Mote Innovation is Lacking, Limited Soundtrack Can Be Annoying

Reviewed by Paul Evans | 06.15.07


  • Innovative arcade and surf feeling with players performing a variety of impressive tricks in the air and learning to surf inside a tube.
  • Win the championship in the single-player mode or challenge your friends in the multiplayer mode with easy pick-up-and-play game controls.
  • 10 playable characters with their own tricks and characteristics. Impressive water simulation and physics. Surf in a variety of locations, each with its own waves and obstacles.
  • Train in the calm water of Shiverpool, ride your first tubes in Pen Gu Island, and try to surf on the explosive waters of the volcano area.
  • Tons of unlockable content.
  • Awesome game soundtrack for carving waves featuring 10 licensed music tracks.


Surf's Up

May 2007
Wii, nDS, GC,
GBA, PS2, PS3, X360, PC