With the holidays, kids (and adults) tend to focus on that one big gift. Maybe they want a new game console or a fancy new toy. Yet, they may have forgotten about all of those expensive gifts from the past… like Wii Fit. You know, the $90 scale that’s collecting dust in the corner. With the tough economy, parents want to save money. Yet, they don’t want to disappoint their loved ones either. That’s why I think Wii Fit Plus should be considered as a stocking stuffer gift… or for Hanukkah… or just for fun. If you have a Balance Board that’s lacking attention, Wii Fit Plus can give new life to an old toy.
Now there may be some people that regularly use the Balance Board. That’s not me. Every now and then I use it to check my weight, but the hassle of firing up the Wii and waiting for the game to load is a serious deterrent. The Balance Board is not as easy to use as a conventional scale. As for the exercises, I think traditional routines work better. I’d rather jog at the park than run in place with a Wiimote in my pocket. So let’s be clear, I don’t think Wii Fit is about hardcore exercising, I think it’s about motivating you to get off the couch.
So there I was, in Toys R Us, waiting to buy Super Mario Bros. Wii. There was a sale – buy one game and get a second for 50% off. While standing in line, I carefully pondered the possibilities. Which game would it be? I didn’t want to spend too much money, but I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. That’s when I picked Wii Fit Plus. I purchased the game for $10. You might want to keep that in mind while you read this review. I think that this is a great $10 game. But for $20… I don’t know… it could be iffy.
For starters, some of the new music sounds really goofy. While the Balance Board avatar was explaining the new features, I wasn’t filled with excitement. Fortunately, I wouldn’t have to listen to it very long. I quickly headed over to Multiplayer. But again, I was filled with disappointment. This isn’t true multiplayer. This is taking turns. If this is multiplayer, you could consider Windows solitaire to be multiplayer. I would have preferred online exercises and activities. That would have been fun and it would have added to the replay value of this game.
Perhaps my Miis illustrated the situation perfectly. Wii Fit Plus picks up your old Wii Fit data. My Miis were excited about this. They clapped their hands in excitement… hooray, new features… and then they yawned and went back to sleep. The game is definitely not boring though, the new games are a lot of fun. I quickly got past my initial gripes and I played each of the 15 new activities.
Perfect 10 – “Shake your hips and do the math! This tests body and mind coordination.” It’s similar to the old hoola-hoop game, except this ones with math, You move towards the number-labeled mushrooms in a side-to-side or front/back motion. I’m not sure why Nintendo wants to encourage people to thrust in a somewhat sexual manner, but the game is actually quite fun. This one seems to work out the mind more than the body. You might find yourself just standing there, trying to quickly figure out which numbers add up to fifteen.
Island Cycling – “Step on the Will Balance Board to pedal. This will help work your lower body.” Nice to watch, but it doesn’t feel like a good exercise. My bike was motorin’, but I really wasn’t working that hard. I’d just tap my heals on the balance board. I’d rather ride a real bike. But for those snowy/rainy days, parents might feel better with their children safe at home.
Rhythm Kung Fu – “Mimic kung-fu moves to the beat. This tests your sense of rhythm and coordination” It also hurt my left elbow. This is like a slow version of kickboxing. It was fun, but I don’t enjoy punching at the air. I did enjoy the kung-fu theme. I also found myself swaying to the beat. When I saw my fellow Miis moving to the rhythm, I naturally joined in.
Driving Range – “How about some golf? Use the Wii Remote as your club and we can analyze your swing.” I didn’t like this, mainly because I wasn’t very good at it. All of my shots had a wicked slice to them. Even though the Balance Board Avatar tried to analyze my swing, it didn’t make any sense to me. I had more fun playing Wii Sports Golf.
Segway® Circuit – “The Segway® x2 activity can help you work on your balance and agility.” This reminded me of the old days of gaming, where many games were simply a clone of Pong. After playing the Cycling activity, I didn’t see too much of a difference with the Segway Circuit. Basically, I had to run over the beach balls and avoid the gopher. This wasn’t much of an exercise for me. It seemed more geared for small children or players unfamiliar with the Balance Board.
Bird’s-Eye Bull’s-Eye – “Flap your arms to fly. This trains your upper-body strength and sense of balance.” While this may look silly, it’s a lot of fun to play. Seeing my character move in 3D, it created a good sense of depth and immersion. It reminded me of Pilotwings, an old Super Nintendo game. This is one of those games where it’s a lot of fun to play with other people. Watching friends and family members flap their arms could be quite amusing.
Snowball Fight – “This will help train your judgment skills and reaction time!” Snowball fight is basically a cute shooting game. You avoid getting hit by hiding behind a protective barrier. Although, you end up throwing snowballs at family members. Nintendo, that’s such violence. I thought you were the makers of the family friendly games. I’m kidding. I really enjoyed this game. Also, it starts out a little on the easy side. I unlocked Advanced and Expert with ease. But once I played the expert level, it became a real challenge. Your aggressors will lob giant snowman heads at you, taking you out with one hit. However, you can stop those projectiles by shooting them with your own snowballs. It’s tricky to do, so it’s probably better to dodge. For decades video game players would move their heads and their bodies in reaction to what they saw on the screen. Such feeble gestures were a vain attempt to avoid being shot or killed. But here, your movement matters… and it makes the game a lot of fun!