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Wii Fit (Wii) artwork

Wii Fit (Wii) review


"It would seem that Nintendo's master plan has finally come full circle. After fattening up their user base over the last 20 years, they've finally released their own antidote: Wii Fit. I was given Wii Fit for Christmas in a not-so-subtle hint that I need to lose some weight. Thankfully, demand for Wii Fit is still high, so I was able to sell it recently and buy a real game instead. "



It would seem that Nintendo's master plan has finally come full circle. After fattening up their user base over the last 20 years, they've finally released their own antidote: Wii Fit. I was given Wii Fit for Christmas in a not-so-subtle hint that I need to lose some weight. Thankfully, demand for Wii Fit is still high, so I was able to sell it recently and buy a real game instead.

Each time you start Wii Fit, the game selects some balance training tasks for you. One of these requires you to centre your balance perfectly. For me, that was leaning forward - unbalanced, and that felt completely wrong. It also weighs you, and uses a strict BMI to label you overweight or obese. If you've got lots of muscle, you're probably obese. But Wii Fit cannot help this - it is simply a machine, a program, and it does not know you, it does not care about you, and it will be incredibly blunt with you. Sometimes, bluntness is good. But for those overweight Nintendo fatties, it'll be a huge blow to their self esteem and motivation.

It also labels you a "Wii Fit Age", which is similar to the Brain Age from those DS brain trainers. This score depends on how well you do the tests. For me, at 24, I received Wii Fit ages of 20 (very good) to 36 (not so good), simply based on how well I could perform on the balance tests it picked for me that day. Definitely not scientific, and you'd be advised not to take any notice of it at all.

After you do this, you'll get to see graphs that track your Wii Fit age, your weight, and your BMI. You can also see a piggy bank which shows much time you've spent this day, or overall. And from here, you can begin your workout.

Initially, I thought it was good. The yoga and muscle routines were easy to learn, and I actually felt it do some good if I put the effort in. I worked up a sweat. The visual demonstrations made it easy to learn the various routines. And as I put more time into it, more advanced yoga and muscle exercises were unlocked. This was when I realised that Wii Fit doesn't help you to improve. If you're having trouble with a specific exercise, then you'll have to work at getting it right on your own. You might as well just use an exercise DVD - which is a lot cheaper.

You would be better off doing these exercises at a gym, where you can hopefully have a professional see what you're doing wrong, and help you to improve. Wii Fit gives you feedback in the form of a score. Each time you complete a specific exercise, you're given a rating, and you see where your score fits in with your previous performances. And this is where Wii Fit starts to fall apart.

The problem is, it's all about balance. It doesn't record whether you've stretched your muscles, or breathed in and out properly. It only cares about your centre of gravity and weight. In exercises that demand you stand on one foot, the less wobbling you do, the better you'll score - so grab hold of something for an easy 5 stars. The balance board isn't the most comfortable of places to stand. It is sturdy, and stable. There are plugs you can use if your floor is not carpeted. But it can be a bit rough on the feet.

Yoga and muscle training is only half of the package.

The next part is mini-games, including some jogging exercises. The jogging game doesn't use the balance board. You simply run on the spot, trying to keep a good pace. How does the Wii know how well you're doing? It measures the movement of the Wii-mote, which should be in your pocket or in your hand. Or, you could score 5 stars by sitting down and shaking the Wii-mote at a steady pace. If you want to go for a run, go outside. You're more likely to be honest with yourself if you don't have a machine to cheat, because you'll only be cheating yourself.

Other games in this section include a hula hoop game, where you need to keep a virtual hula-hoop spinning, which would be much easier with a cheap plastic hula hoop. There's a variation of the Dance Dance Revolution game in there, too. You step on and off the board as you're instructed. This mini game provided the most fun I had with Wii Fit, and that is actually saying something. But it's not really worth it. DDR is much more fun, and you could go to an arcade and play a better version of it there.

There are other balance games available, though none of them were good enough that I can remember them now. Like Wii Sports was a tech demo of the Wii-mote, Wii Fit seems to be a tech demo of the balance board. There's potential in this board, but Wii Fit itself leaves a lot to be desired.

I don't think technology is ready for something like Wii Fit yet. Until the game can see you and respond to you - and not just measure your balance, then you're better off putting the money into a gym membership than Wii Fit. You'll get a lot more variety, and some real help, at a gym. You'll also have access to weights, and you'll be able to do cardio workouts, which Wii Fit is sorely lacking.

I've heard of lots of people using Wii Fit quite successfully, but these people are already motivated. They have no problems exercising on a regular basis, and simply wish to do so in the comfort and privacy of their own home. The average overweight Nintendo nerd isn't going to have much motivation to spend half an hour on Wii Fit everyday. And it may be because, like me, they'll see it as a tedious, somewhat embarrassing way to exercise. And as a game, it just isn't fun.

Rating: 5/10

jerec's avatar
Community review by jerec (March 15, 2009)

On very rare occasions, Jerec finds a game that inspires him to write stuff about. The rest of the time he just hangs around being sarcastic.

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bloomer posted March 16, 2009:

Oh, how could it be that this game is no good! Those ads with Olivia Newton John made it look so cool!
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draculasrevenge posted March 16, 2009:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iYBmAVuBns
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jerec posted March 17, 2009:

^ awesome video. Pretty much sums it up better than my review just did.
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wolfqueen001 posted March 17, 2009:

Haha. I was going to blog about that video once... and then make fun of EmP with it. But then I realized that he and everyone else had probably seen it by then so I didn't bother.

I'm just glad jerec wrote another review!
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zippdementia posted March 17, 2009:

Sounds like someone's feeling ornery about having to lose some weight!
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jerec posted March 17, 2009:

Yeah, and I've realised that Nintendo can't help me with this one. =/
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honestgamer posted March 17, 2009:

Fortunately, Nintendo has helped a lot of people around here to lose weight. It's pretty amazing, actually. It doesn't seem like such a simple bit of software would work, but I hear additional success stories all the time.
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zippdementia posted March 17, 2009:

There are times when I miss the Wii and its active gameplay. My sister has a Wii here at the house, but after selling all my games I can't quite bring myself to play it. It just feels wrong, somehow. Like if you gave away your child and then years later ended up being neighbors.
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joseph_valencia posted March 17, 2009:

Wii Fit blows.

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