Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 05/19/11 | Genre: Sports
Wii Fit and the balance board have generated a lot of interest lately. Ranging from YouTube videos of girlfriends hula-hooping to researchers hacking the balance board to work with World of Warcraft. More people appear to be getting up off their couches and getting into the game.
Initially, we purchased Wii Fit for my wife, but like most Wii games it has turned into an entire family affair. Let me say right off the bat that I’ve woke up a bit sore the next day from spending some time with the game (I think my wife almost hurt herself from laughing at me when I was trying to do one of the push-up based exercises). The kids prefer playing the balance games and the island run. Our one year old son even tries to get into the act.
The first thing you need to do is clear some space for the board and yourself (I read an article online yesterday that millions of dollars worth of home damage have been claimed in the UK already). After that you can import one of your Mii’s over, or create a new one. Next the game goes through a body test where it judges your balance and B.M.I. (body mass index). The balance board also acts as a reportedly very accurate set of scales, but your weight is hidden unless you click on the button to view it. When your B.M.I. is shown, the size of your Mii changes to correspond to that figure. At the end of the test, you are given your Wii Fit Age. If you have already played one of the Brain Age games, the Wii Fit Age should be very familiar. You can also set goals for yourself such as losing 4lbs in 2 weeks or maintaining your current weight.
When you begin your training, you are given a robot piggy bank. As you complete games or training sessions, you earn an amount of coins roughly equivalent to the number of minutes that you spent on the activity that are deposited into your piggy friend. Collect enough coins and additional games or exercises are unlocked. Some of these unlocks could be an advanced version of a current activity or something entirely new. It seems like the first thing that gets unlocked is a tight rope walking game. Two of the unlockables also let you exercise while flipping over to watch something else on TV. For instance on the long island run, the Wii remote’s speaker continues to mark out your time and give you cues about your pace while you are catching up on something on Tivo or watching music videos.
The activities are broken into different categories: balance games, aerobics, strength training, and yoga. Of course there are games. As the name implies, they tend to be more fun than say the aerobic or strength training exercises. Don’t let the label fool you though--you’ll end up getting a workout without even realizing it. Most of the exercises have some balance aspect to them where you will need to try to keep a red dot that signifies your center of balance within a certain accepted range. The yoga section of the game was the most difficult for me. A few of the exercises just require you to hold a certain pose, but a couple of them seem down right torturous for someone who has never done any yoga before.
The game also lets you pick a virtual trainer. It would have been nice to be able to unlock some additional trainers with wacky personalities, but you’re stuck with either a generic female or male avatar. For the most part they give you a visual aid for seeing how the exercise should look and something to pace yourself with. They also offer you praise when you do something well and encouragement when things are going badly.
Overall, it’s a fun game that can get you motivated to chance your lifestyle towards becoming healthier. I found myself wanting more exercises, but the game allows you to enter physical activities that you have done on your own away from the game. The fact that it appeals to a wide range of people from kids to grandparents makes it a great addition to most homes.