Wii Fit (Wii)

Good: Balance games, many useful workouts, fun way to exercise

Bad: A few of the balance games and exercises leave a little to be desired

"I can't believe that the company that I've idolized for my entire life just called me fat."

That was the first response my friend had after his initial Wii Fit body test. It also told my 45 year-old mother that she had the body of a 61 year-old woman. When it's not insulting you, however, Wii Fit is exactly what we (and Nintendo) could have hoped for. It's a legitimately helpful workout and exercise tool that will appeal to both the casual Wii crowd and the occasional hardcore gamer like myself.

One of the first things you'll notice upon standing on the balance board is how incredibly precise it is. The tiniest shift in your center of balance is accurately represented onscreen, whether it's in a balance test or just the moving green blob during the loading screens. This isn't the track-and-field mat you played with on your NES, and it's not a "glorified scale" like some have called it. It's a true workout tool, and if you actually take the time to use Wii Fit every day, you'll see definite results.


Granted, you won't see "going to the gym for an hour a day" results, but in terms of improving flexibility, toning specific muscles, and cardio exercises, Wii Fit is more than a gimmick. I had never done yoga in my life, and the day after I did several of the poses in the game, my entire back was sore in areas I've never even noticed before. I can imagine that gamers who don't leave the house often are going to have a lot of problems doing poses like "The Tree" the first few times.

In addition to the yoga, Wii Fit offers strength and aerobic exercises, as well as several balance-based minigames. Some of the strength exercises are very easy, even with high reps, but some can be very taxing at first. The push-ups and side plank exercises are rough, especially when you're going head-to-head against your virtual trainer.

The aerobics are more hit-or-miss than the other categories. I enjoyed the hula-hoop and boxing minigames, but the step exercises and running leave a bit to be desired. The running is alright in theory (you put the Wii remote in your pocket and jog in place), but the execution is odd. In the early runs, instead of just running at your own pace through the virtual park, you have to stay behind a trainer the whole way. It would have been much better if you could just run as fast as you'd like. A "free jog" option is available, but not until later.

Many of my favorite activities are in the Balance Game area. Several of these are worth multiple plays, including the Ski Jump, Snowboarding, and one that involves feeding fish to a penguin by tilting an iceberg with your weight. Even on days that I don't have time to do a full workout on Wii Fit, I still play a couple of rounds of Ski Jump to try to beat my top score.

It's difficult to review Wii Fit the way I'd normally review a videogame. It's more of a tool than anything, and I don't feel the typical categories of "Graphics" and "Audio" should play into this. Therefore, the score below is representative of how well it accomplished what it sent out to do. It was supposed to be a fun way to work out, and accessible to virtually anyone, regardless of age or familiarity with videogames. It does a great job on all accounts.

Overall: 9.0


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