Wii Fit carries that Wii baton by introducing the Wii Balance Board. With a little more than an inch of plastic between you and Terra Firma, the board can judge slight shifts in pressure across the surface. From your two socked feet, the Wii Balance Board knows where you’re placing your body’s center of balance or when you shift it. It’s this shifting balance which works up a little Wii sweat. If only all the menus could keep my heart rate up as well. The Balance board is physically sturdy and regardless of how much intense strength training we did, it never slipped out of place. Unfortunately the batteries run out too frequently which is frustrating for a peripheral you are unable to charge back up.
As you begin, the game checks your BMI, weight and virtual age using Nintendo magic. Quote frankly, I thought testing BMI levels involved dunking yourself in water and lots of science, but actually Nintendo has found a way around that. Once in, the player chooses from Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics and Balance games. Within each of the categories there are assorted exercises ranging from stupid, like stand and breathing, to much more involved, such as the Downward Facing Dog. At the start, a set number of activities are available, and as you progress through the game you unlock more activities and extra reps for the ones you already have access to. We are not fitness experts, but the ability to choose the number of reps from the start would be helpful for those that aren’t already rendered completely immobile. Each of the activities is demonstrated by your male or female trainer, and as you are working out, the trainer will encourage you to keep going or congratulate you on your progress. The incentive actually works, although we find it a bit distracting when the female trainer instructs us what button to press to ‘view her from behind’.
Once you ‘play’ each game, Wii Fit scores you on the leader board against your fellow Mii’s on the console. This can be a challenge to try to beat your previous scores or ones others have left. Conversely, it is an evil tool used to make you feel bad about how much you suck at virtual hula-hooping. After the leader board, the game lets you know if unlocked anything while sweating. The amount of time it takes to receive your results, click through the following screen and then choose another activity from the menu is far too long in order to keep your heart rate up. Some activities don’t even involve the Wii mote and the player is forced to pick it up again just to click through the leader board.
My biggest complaint, other than the lack of Richard Simmons, is that there is no way to create a playlist. If there was a way to create a playlist you could string together activities which would create less downtime, and would ultimately allow for a better workout and cool down each day. Without a playlist we strung together activities that potentially had no business following each other. Should I do yoga before skiing? Maybe I should end my hearty regiment with a light jog? Help me Wii Fit, you know better than I do. Playlist aside, Wii Fit did build our endurance and balance after a few short sessions. If you were performing some of the poses in a gym, the instructor may not tell if you are leaning a little bit too much to the left, but Wii Fit knows. The ability to see visually onscreen where your weight is concentrated and how to correctly perform an activity makes Wii Fit useful for anyone that might be thinking about losing a few pounds.
While Wii Fit may be apart of a well-rounded exercise rudiment, you shouldn’t start cancelling your gym membership anytime soon. There’s a definite hands-off approach to fitness when it comes to the games but we would have liked to have more structure and information about my fitness progression. At the end of the day, I can truly say that I worked up a little Wii sweat. If you’re looking for a way to get a gamer into shape, Wii Fit is a great start. Anyone who has picked up a controller will quickly get into this game by trying to beat the high score and pounds in the process. While the game may have its flaws, Wii Fit is a good warm-up for anyone looking to start working out.
• Skinny people have more sex
• Balance board feels sturdy and responsive
• Engages the participant
• Lack of the ability to create a playlist
• More could be unlocked from the start
• The music (or lack of) during jogging
• No information on an out of game exercise regiment