Wii Fit First Impressions

   04/12/2007 at 17:42       Nick H       16 COMMENTS.
My resistance is always weak in the face of another novelty controller, this coupled with my despair at my ever expanding gut made Wii Fit too enticing a proposition to resist.

It took a while to find as Nintendo have drummed up some serious public awareness with their TV ads appearing regularly at prime time spots. This lead to all my usual spots being sold out. Slightly worryingly the guy who served me at the department store I eventually found a copy in was checking that people buying Wii Fit actually had Wii's, so perhaps the ads weren't quite succeeding in conveying all the right info to the masses.

Your time with Wii Fit starts off with you choosing your Mii and inputting your height and age. Then it's onto the board to find out how fat you are. The Wii Balance Board is also a fully functional scale, and uses your weight and height data to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). It can then let you know how much weight you should be looking to lose to reach the recommended BMI for your age/height. You can also set targets for how much you'll try to lose in how long, and the game will then keep track of your efforts to reach your target.

To save you finding the disk and starting up the game each time you want to check your progress, the game can install the Wii Fit channel to your Wii menu, though the channel doesn't include any of the training or games needing the disk to access them.

As well as weight related info the game also finds out where you balance your weight whilst standing. The game says that getting this balance central can improve your posture and help with back ache etc. Each time you play Wii Fit it will test your balance with a random pair of balance tests, to give you a balance age which you'll be aiming to improve through practice.

Once the game has all your details you're free to go and get fit. The game gives you four options to choose from, each with pretty different feel to it.

The most traditional game like moments are found in the Balance Games, there's a variety of games include skiing, tight rope walking, heading footballs and a monkey ball like puzzle game. Initially there are 4 or 5 games to play, and there's more to unlock along with harder levels of each as you train, all focusing on improving your balance,

The games don't seem to have the depth of Wii Sports, being more along the lines of Hajimete no Wii (Wii Play in the UK I think) but are good fun and are nice as a breather or warm down form the more serious exercising. The balance board performs very well in controlling these with very precise movements possible with practice. The Skiing is my current favorite among these with quite a nice sense of speed and tension, but none of the games seem to go far enough to justify the price tag if you're looking to buy Wii Fit purely for a game like experience.

Outside of the balance games there's a large focus on actually getting fit. Yoga, Training, and Aerobic Exercise sections do pretty much what they say on the tin. Aerobic Exercise section has some clever ideas where light exercise over a longer period is dressed up nicely in very simple games. Jogging (which doesn't use the Balance Board) has you sticking the Wii remote in your pocket and running on the spot whilst your Mii jogs on screen around a park in time with your steps. It does a great job of approximating your pace on screen. Having the park to look at as you run is a nice touch and you start to recognize land marks as you run, this combined with a marker on screen helps you keep track of how far you've gone around the course, and more importantly how much more is left. Other Miis (from your collection) appear in the park and keep things light hearted with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder waving me on as my wife's Mii zooms past me and trips over. Longer tracks become available as you get used to running, and there's also a 2 player mode, though I've yet to try it.

A dancing game version of step aerobics is another nice touch. The game keeps track of how well you step in time with the music and on screen prompts, tracking perfect, ok and missed steps before giving you a score at the end.

The last of the Aerobic Exercises currently available to me is the Hoola Hoop. Where you swing your hips as fast as possible, and occasionally lean to catch new hoops as they're thrown in.

Muscle Training and Yoga are more serious in tone with a trainer (you can choose male or female) waiting to demonstrate the different poses and exercises. Press ups and a variety of squats, and stretches line up with some of the games harsher exercises in Muscle Training. The game offers advice and encouragement as you do the sets of each, and where it can it tells you what you're doing wrong. For example if your favouring your stronger leg it will let you know, often with a handy meter on screen showing you how much weight you have on each leg and a marker showing the optimal amount which you can try to match. Yoga's more gentle exercises gauge your ability by giving you a target area to keep your bodies balance point within whilst in a pose. At my skill level keeping the balance point in the right place proved to be a secondary concern, with avoiding falling on my face being far more important, but after a few days I'm starting to get the hang of a few of them.

All the different games and exercises score your performance, and record these to high score tables for you and your friends/family to go back and beat. A clock like character keeps track of how long you've exercised each day, and when you hit the magic 30 minutes does a little dance, and that normally sends me crawling to the power button.

So far I've managed to do at least 30 minutes a day since it's release on Saturday, and have woken up the next day with an interesting new ache. Even so I'm kind of looking forward to playing it again tonight, so Wii Fit seems to be doing it's job so far. I'll have to wait and see whether it can continue to motivate me to keep coming back for more, but so far it seems like a fun and interesting tool to help get you exercising. Those looking for a game in the vein of Wii Sports will be disappointed, come to it looking to do interesting way to do exercise though and you can have some fun.
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d0ugi3 - on 04/12/2007 at 19:42 wrote:

peej - on 04/12/2007 at 19:53 wrote:
Oh gawd, the missus is going to love this!

Nice review Trip!


evilashchris - on 05/12/2007 at 03:02 wrote:
Cheers Trip, now i must buy!

Trip SkyWay - on 05/12/2007 at 04:55 wrote:
Gone 4 days of 30 minutes a day now and unlocked a boxing rhythm game, plus a snowboarding downhill mini game last night. Both are good fun.

The snow boarding one has a real nice feel to it, quite impressed, but again not too deep in terms of where they go with it.

Syrok - on 05/12/2007 at 20:57 wrote:
Hmm, interesting...That does sound a lot better then I was expecting.

Trip SkyWay - on 06/12/2007 at 02:54 wrote:
One thing I didn't mention was the reasonable pricing of this over here, it's only 8500yen here which works out at around 38 quid including the board.

peej - on 06/12/2007 at 10:21 wrote:
Call it 85 quid then :)


ilmaestro - on 06/12/2007 at 14:01 wrote:
Yeah, you can't import it for less than about £90, it seems.

Trip SkyWay - on 06/12/2007 at 15:33 wrote:
It is pretty heavy, shipping must be a killer.

I'm not sure I'd be buying it at that price.

d0ugi3 - on 06/12/2007 at 18:58 wrote:
Anybody know of the UK release date because im wanting one of these for my Christmas pressies : )
Can't wait to play it!

strangeed - on 07/12/2007 at 09:53 wrote:
good read there.

Hmm tempting, but the missus says we can't have two consoles, and I have kind of been eyeing up the xbox 360 recently. Sigh, decisions

Salaman - on 07/12/2007 at 11:56 wrote:
Keep it up and let us know if you've lost any weight after a month.

Trip SkyWay - on 08/12/2007 at 12:35 wrote:
The fact the game keeps track of your progress with graphs showing your weight and how much exercise you did each day is a real strong point, and a decent incentive to keep going. It's a high score that effects your world outside the game which is new to me.

I've unlocked most of the Balance Games and Aerobic exercises now. Most interesting of the new ones is "Nagara Jogging" meaning do something whilst jogging. Here you start it off and jog on the spot for a set amount of time whilst watching TV etc. and the remote's speaker lets you know when to stop.

NewYork - on 11/12/2007 at 01:06 wrote:
Neat preview!

It sounds so fun :)

Legion - on 12/12/2007 at 11:33 wrote:
Great read - are you still using it?

Trip SkyWay - on 12/12/2007 at 15:16 wrote:
Yeah, done 30 mins everyday except the days I go to play 5 a side.

Brings you in with the fun games and then keeps you there with weight, BMI tracking where you can hopefully see improvements.

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