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Old 01-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #118
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Nintendo Wii
1 Player
Developer - Nintendo EAD
Publisher - Nintendo

My Bias
-I enjoy new interactive ways to play
-I really wanted to lose weight

My Completion
-90+ days of daily use

This is a very hard game to review, as it’s not so much a game as it is an exercise tool. Therefore the usual categories like Story/Graphics/Music don’t have much weight on the overall product.

Like Wii Sports and Wii Play before it, Wii Fit is a simplistic “everyone” game without any kind of story, plot or narration.

Supports 16:9 Widescreen and Progressive Scan

Keeping with the tradition of the “Wii” line of games, Wii Fit has a simplistic style. Again this is not done because the developer is lazy or the Wii isn’t powerful enough, it’s done as an art style. It looks the way it does on purpose as to not scare away people who are intimidated by the complexity of traditional video games.

Simple, just like the other Wii games

I enjoyed how most of this game has a clean modern “grown up” look. A lot of exercise tapes or programs are either obnoxious or embarrassingly silly, but I have no problem with Wii Fit. The trainer that instructs you during the fitness activities looks like a manikin. They could have at least made their mouth move when they talk to you.

Nothing in this game is impressive visually but then again, none of it needs to be.

Most of the music is calm and soothing. There are some good little melodies in here that help break the silence when doing but don’t become distracting. There is a main theme which is kind of good, but not as good as Wii Sports theme.

For the dancing mini-game the music is pretty boring. It’s just the same song and it didn’t make me feel like I wanted to dance or “get into” the beat at all.

A lot of the music gets repetitive. Now to be fair for any traditional game this would not be the case, because even after 30-40 some days of playing the music did not bother me. But I have played this for 90+ days now and some of the music is really starting to annoy me. The Hula Hoop music especially drives me crazy now.

Wii Fit comes packaged with the Wii Balance Board, being an accessory I decided to review it separately. You can read about my overall impressions here.

Lost in the Forum Crash

I will not be going over my weight loss results in this review either. If you would like to see how well Wii Fit worked as a weight loss tool for me, please check out my 90+ day results here.

Lost in the Forum Crash
To sum things up quick, I lost over 35 pounds and went from gut to flat tummy

As far as how well the Balance Board is implemented in Wii Fit, it works pretty well. Most of my movements were picked up on the board, almost too much in some cases. There are several balance tests the game puts you through and the amount of minute precision the board picks up was pretty impressive. It even uses the board in subtle ways I didn’t notice at first, such as checking if you are doing push-ups on it depending on the different pressure levels of your arms.

After about 60 some days of use, I started to notice some flaws in my game readouts. At the end of every day I would use the board to weigh myself, and perhaps I never noticed it before but it would not give me constant results. I could weight myself, pick up the board and shake it, weigh again and get a different result, sometimes almost a pound in difference. I can’t tell you how frustrating this was to somebody trying to lose weight. I don’t know if my board broke after so much use or if the board just isn’t that accurate. Along those lines, it’s almost like one of the sensor feet on the left of my board stopped functioning, because when I would do Hula-hoops exercise it wouldn’t register perfect circles clockwise no matter how I swung my hips.

Oh look, I lost another 4.6 pounds since the last time I played

It did take a while to “learn” how to use the board properly though. When I first tried it I would try to adjust the weight on the board by pushing my feet down harder, instead of naturally leaning to adjust my weight.

Wii Fit is comprised of two types of activities, exercises and games. The exercises are split up into 3 categories: Yoga, Strength Training and Aerobics. There is also a favorite’s category that displays your most frequently used activities for easy access. However that is the only way to fill out this Favorites menu, so it isn’t very optimal for creating a daily workout routine.

The Yoga poses involve various stretches and breathing techniques. I have never done real Yoga before so I cannot comment on how well a job the exercises are to the real thing. The poses do stretch you out though, and I found some of the final poses to be near impossible. My favorite pose to do has you lie on your back, bend your knee in the air, and then cross it over your other leg. It cracked all the joints in my spine every time and felt really good.

Oh yes, feel that back crack

Strength Training
Most of the strength training exercises involve using your own bodies weight to work your muscles. Things such as push-ups, sit-ups, and lunges. These activities are designed to help you tone and define muscle, rather than bulk up. Don’t take it lightly though, the exercises found in this category will work you pretty hard. There is one exercise that has you grab onto the board with your forearms
The Aerobics are the bread and butter of the weight loss activities. Doing the few exercises in this category are guaranteed to burn calories. Strangely enough, the best calorie burning exercise in this category, jogging, doesn’t use the Balance Board at all. For jogging you put a Wii Remote in your pocket and follow an on screen trainer through an island course. When I first started using Wii Fit, I thought the runner was a great way to not only keep a steady pace but to help keep your mind off the fact that you were running. Eventually you can unlock Free Run which is the activity I used for the majority of my routine. In this mode you are given a time limit and you can see how far you can run before it’s up. The Wii Remote will also play sounds through its integrated speaker at different checkpoints, so you can watch TV & still know where you are at. My biggest problem with the running is that I could not find a proper was to carry the Wii Remote while doing it. I tried my pocket but it would bounce around too much and the game would think I was keeping an inconsistent pace. Because of this I eventually gave up caring about the score as the exercise was what I was really after.

Hula-hoops are another great exercise and not only got my heart rate going but also really worked my core muscles. This is one of the modes the game reads really well and so a lot of motivation can come from achieving a new high score.

The activity I didn’t like in aerobics is dancing. This activity works a lot like a slow Dance Dance Revolution, asking you to step on and off the board with the rhythm of a song. While it was fun the first couple times, I realized this exercise at its highest levels was still too slow to increase my heart rate.
Balance Games
Along with all the exercise activities, there are also a handful of games in Wii Fit. Overall I found them to be mini-games that lack substance a lot like what is found in Wii Play.

The Skiing game is the best one out of all of them. You control the player by leaning from side to side while trying to navigate through flagged checkmarks. It’s pretty fun and I’d like to see somebody make a full fledged skiing game based off this idea. There is also a Ski Jump but I didn’t think it worked very well. In this game you lean forward to pick up speed down the hill and then are supposed extend your legs to push off the Balance Board and jump. Perhaps it was just me and being afraid to break my board, but I couldn’t get this game to work properly. There is also a variation of skiing, snowboarding, which is the exact same thing but with the balance board twisted sidewise. I didn’t enjoy Snowboarding as much as skiing.

One of the better games

One of the much advertized games of Wii Fit is the Soccer Ball head butt. In this mode a bunch of Mii’s will kick soccer balls at you and you have to position your head to hit them by leaning back and forth. I found this mode to be incredibly difficult to play because I could find no happy medium to my leaning. No matter how much I tried my leans would be interpreted as all-or-nothing making me constantly miss.

The only other notable game I had fun with is the Marble game. Much like Sega’s Super Monkey Ball you have to move a ball across a course to the goal by shifting your weight. I found this mode to control really well and it starts to get really fun when they put multiple balls on the course.
As fun as all these games are, their biggest flaw is that they are all 1 player only. Wii Sports and Wii Play have competitive depth to them, so even though the games themselves are simple trying to beat another player makes for a fun experience. Since Wii Fit is 1 player however there is no additional depth to these simple games outside of getting new high scores. I think this is why they all lose their appeal so fast.

A big big frustrating part about this game is that most of the activities have to be unlocked. I cannot stand when videogames deny you from playing sections of themselves until you complete some mundane tasks that you may or may not have wanted to do in the first place. Because this is an exercise game it makes it even more aggravating. It takes hours to unlock everything in Wii Fit and in the mean time is tiring your muscles out. I don’t enjoy doing an exercise I hate over and over just to unlock the exercise that I enjoy. It feels like a complete waste of my time.

To give you an example, my girlfriend bought this game the same time that I did. When I would go over to her house I wanted do my daily routine over here. I thought about bringing my save file to her house but since Wii makes transferring save files a royal chore, I decided I would just start a new profile at her house. My new profile was like starting the game fresh, the game would not copy over all the activities she unlocked and instead was going to make me unlock them all again. Since at this point I was already well into my exercise routine, many of the exercises I had grown accustom to using were unavailable and was going to take a few hours to unlock. Very frustrating.

Along the lines of wasting time, the activities in Wii Fit take way too long to do. At first I didn’t mind because the game was fresh to me and my out of shape body was having trouble keeping up with it anyways. But as I got to be more in shape and moving further into my program the speed at which the game goes through the activities started to really annoy me. 45 minutes of actual exercises would take almost an hour and a half to complete. Once you get into a daily routine exercise is not exactly fun and I felt it was taking away from the little free time I did have to do what I enjoy. Because of this desire to get it over with as fast as possible I found when I did an exercise I would be ready to immediately start the next, and was really annoyed it took a full minute or two to click through the games menus, listen to the instructor, and wait for him/her to get into position, and slowly do the exercises. Many nights when I was pressed for time I would outright skip doing the exercises through Wii Fit and do them on my floor.

The woman will not shut up

I do not like the price of Wii Fit as well. The game itself is much like Wii Sports (A free pack-in game) and Wii Play (a $10 game), yet it costs $90 at retail. The balance board does not feel like an expensive piece of equipment and it will not be used in many other compelling games if any at all. Simply put, unless you are looking to get in shape with Wii Fit do not buy it.

At the end (or beginning) of your routine you can perform a “body test” which basically weighs you and makes you play some balance games. The game will try and determine a Wii Fit age from these results much like Brain Age does for the Nintendo DS. I did the full test a few times and could never hold consistent results. Some days I had perfect balance and some days I couldn’t stay steady at all. As I got more and more in shape my ability to do this didn’t improve and so I stopped caring. Luckily the game lets you skip doing the balance tests if you are just after your weight. From your weight and height the game will try to calculate your BMI, but that’s a horrible way to do so. It does not take into account different build types or the weight of muscle so the BMI number is completely useless.

Perhaps the best part of Wii Fit is the graphs that help you track your progress

Lasting Appeal
The games in Wii Fit don’t last very long at all. They are a lot like the games found in Wii Sports and Wii Play, but lack any kind of multiplayer appeal so playing them by yourself gets boring fast.

As an exercise tool it will last as long as you have the motivation to get in shape. After almost 120 days I am still playing it everyday.

Final Thoughts
Wii Fit is an exercise tool first and a game second. At its high entry price I can’t recommend it to anyone looking at it for the game aspects. The high price tag is especially discouraging since the included Balance Board is not used in any other compelling games.

However for exercise I cannot recommend it enough, both as a tool and a motivator. The changes Wii Fit has helped me make to my lifestyle was worth every penny.

Gameplay Video

Last edited by Seraph; 08-04-2009 at 02:02 PM.
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