Fitness that fits U.
In-between 2009’s Wii Fit Plus and 2013’s Wii Fit U, several landmark events befell upon my lovely life, among them my first foray into video game blogging and graduating from high school with honors. Also significant (though obviously relatively less so) is the I began regularly exercising for the first time, something I have always had a great interest in doing but lacked the motivation or know-how to do it. Therefore, while I was playing Wii Fit U for the first time, I found that my perspective on fitness and fitness games has changed.
Let me begin by telling you for whom Wii Fit U is not. It is not for people who wish to replace their daily trip to the gym. Wii Fit U, though a wonderful workout tool in and of itself, is not that type of game. Certainly, you will be able to find much more success by physically going to the gym and seeking advice from a professional trainer. That being said, I can confidently say that Wii Fit U is a workout supplement for one of two types of people – those who are looking for something light and complimentary to their current workout regimen, or those who want to begin exercising but at the comfort of your own home. I personally fall into the former, whereas before I did not fall into either.
One of Wii Fit U’s primary goals is to improve the player’s strength and balance. It does so by giving the user a series of tests to grade his or her performance, and recommends dozens of exercises to help the user improve. As with the past Wii Fit games, strength training and yoga poses make up the large majority of these exercises, and while they may initially seem like mundane tasks, you will soon realize e 36+ exercises are no joke; after several rounds, you will find yourself sweaty and sore, especially if you take up some of the extra “challenge” exercises. Of course, the game’s virtual trainer will supervise you through these exercises and does a surprisingly adequate job in motivating you, despite the fact that it is not, well, a real trainer.
Another feature of Wii Fit U – and perhaps the one that casual gamers may find the most appealing – is its balance and aerobic games. Most of the activities from the past games make their return here (among them my favorites “Bird’s-Eye Bull’s-Eye” and “Table Tilt”), but it is the new activities that left me most impressed thanks to their creative uses of the Wii U GamePad. For example, in “Dessert Course,” players are tasked with balancing a try of cakes and desserts on the GamePad while walking in-place on the Balance Board to wait food for your hungry guests. “Rowing Crew” requires players to site on the Balance Board and use the Wiimote as a row in an effort to cross the finish line first.
In addition to the balance games and aerobics exercises is a brand new mode, “Dance.” Do not expect anything much here; most of the moves are very basic and actually quite silly, and if you want a better dancing experience for the Wii U, just go out and buy Just Dance 2014.
However, say you are already familiar with all of these Wii Fit exercises because you, like millions of other people around the world, already own a copy of either the original Wii Fit or its sequel, Wii Fit Plus. You may be asking yourself, “What’s new in Wii Fit U? Why should I buy another Wii Fit game?” Aside from the new activities and minigames, Wii Fit U has to major new additions: the Fit Meter, and off-TV play.
Let me tackle the latter first. Although you may feel that off-TV play is not that major of a feature for a fitness game, you might be surprised by how convenient it is to be able to perform fitness exercises anywhere in your home. Additionally, if you live in a home with very little floor space, you may have encountered the same problem I had with the previous entries in the series – because my living room is quite small, I had to strain my neck up towards the TV in order to do basic exercises as planking and pushups. With the Wii U GamePad, I can actually comfortably look down and see my trainer do the exercises with me, even if it is on a tiny little screen.
The other big addition to Wii Fit U is the Fit Meter. For those who are unfamiliar with what it is, the Fit Meter is basically a glorified pedometer, which tracks both your steps and your altitude, statistics used to measure how many calories you burn every day. The, when you get home, you can scan the Fit Meter into your Wii Fit U profile, and track how many steps you have taken since you began using it. One thing I really like about this feature is that it compares the number of steps you have already taken with how many steps it takes to, for instance, climb Mount Everest, or run the Boston Marathon. It is totally impractical, I know, but they do act as a sort of preset goal for you to work towards, and in the end may make you decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator in order to get an extra dozen-or-so steps in.
There are several other things I feel I should touch on before I conclude this review. First, Wii Fit U introduces new online communities for you and your friends, if you want to share your fitness results with them. Second, if you are a hardcore Wii Fit player, you can set up your own daily exercise routine using the list of exercises mentioned above. Third, you can transfer all of your data from the old Wii Fit games, so everything begins where you left off (or you can start anew if you so desire).
In the end, Wii Fit U is exactly what you expect from another Wii Fit game: fun, intuitive, and convenient. Its numerous exercises and minigames, if taken seriously, can really give you an exhaustive workout. Perhaps the biggest obstacle the game faces is its $50 price point, which is a bit steep for just a few extra features. Then again, it certainly beats having to buy your own fitness equipment.