The original Wii Fit was something quite revolutionary. Where the Nintendo Wii’s launch title Wii Sports brought games into the hands of those who wouldn’t otherwise touch them, with its compelling and intuitive motion-based gameplay, Wii Fit took this even further. With its cardiovascular and muscular exercises delivered in the guise of fun activities, it offered a real-world application for games that produced real benefits. Subsequently, the Nintendo Wii sold beyond the typical gamer’s household into locations as unlikely as classrooms, hospitals and even rest homes. With 21.82 million copies sold, it’s currently the third highest-selling ‘game’ in history.
For those who missed the revolution first time around, Wii Fit is best described as an interactive virtual fitness regime. Now Wii Fit Plus has arrived, including all of the same functionality and throwing in some noteworthy extra features. Using the required Wii Balance Board peripheral, the application allows you to monitor your weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), and set weight loss and conditioning goals achieved through partaking in the various activities on offer.
The Balance Board detects both your weight and your centre of gravity (COG), and the activities make use of these in different ways to deliver your results. The first thing you’ll do each day upon booting up Wii Fit Plus is undergo a body test – this is just a means of charting your progress, and also a facility to set goals. For instance, based on your BMI relative to your age and height, you may like to set weight-loss goals in order to bring you closer to your ‘ideal’ BMI. Thankfully, Wii Fit Plus is also a responsible application, and it will constantly discourage you from overdoing things. The intelligent interface will alert you if it’s concerned that you’re losing weight too fast, for instance, and it always provides helpful and encouraging feedback and suggestions.
The true beauty of Wii Fit Plus, though, is the effectiveness of the activities and the subtlety with which these ‘exercises’ are delivered. Before you know it, you’ll have spent 40 minutes hula hooping, riding virtual Segways, running 3D obstacle courses and, er… flying in a chicken suit – all of which utilise the Balance Board in different ways, working different muscles and generally raising your heart rate.
Best of all, you can actually feel it working in subtle ways. You may not notice it while you’re performing a step-aerobics dance routine on the Balance Board and it may not feel like you’re over-exerting yourself. But once each activity comes to a close, you’ll realise that you’re indeed working out, particularly after a few sessions. Nowhere is this more evident than the yoga and muscular exercises, where you’ll feel the burn in the appropriate muscles after each session.
The danger with an application like Wii Fit Plus is the loss of interest, but the game does well to ensure that you’ll keep coming back regularly. It contains all of the 40-plus activities from the original title and adds a host of new ones, bringing the grand total to 69. Not all of the playable modes are available straight away either, keeping with a well-paced regime that will keep you coming back.
Something that many reviewers decried in the original version was that there was no real structure or routines imposed on the player. Enter My Wii Fit Plus, which personalises your workout and suggests Wii Fit Plus routines based on your preferences. Overindulged at lunch? Wii Fit Plus will suggest, say, two appropriate aerobic exercises and one appropriate muscular workout. Want to tone your hips and behind? Then Wii Fit Plus will serve up three recommended muscular, aerobic and yoga workouts. Also new to Wii Fit Plus: you can even monitor your pet’s weight!
In turning basic daily exercise into something fun, Wii Fit Plus continues and improves upon the winning formula established by its predecessor. This is probably the cheapest personal trainer you’re likely to find.