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Wii-Fit Plus is Nintendo's upgrade of the original that brings several new aerobic, muscle and balance training exercises to the table. In this sequel calories can also be counted thanks to the new MET value and the added training plus mode that brings some fun and often hilarious new games to make Wii-Fit Plus something very special indeed. You can either buy Wii-Fit Plus on its own if you have the Balance Board already, or opt for the full pack if you are new to Nintendo Wii-Fitness.
Adding to the original premise of get fit at home, this Wii console title expands its audience by appealing to a slightly more serious crowd. It does this not only by promoting fitness, but by adding a calorie counter to its tool kit, making use of a Metabolic Equivalent (MET) value. This is defined as 'the ratio of the work to resting metabolic rate'. This allows those with a more fat-burning attitude to focus on that, instead of general fitness.
Extra core workouts and stretches have also been included, with three new yoga and strength training exercises. The spine extension stretches your torso out brilliantly, and the balance bridge really pushes your legs as you kick them out and hold them in position for an extended time.
Despite the slightly more serious additions, Nintendo definitely took into account that the balance games were the most fun in the first iteration of Wii-Fit. Thirteen of these novel activities are included this time round. These range from the hilarious to the insane. Rhythm kung fu for instance is similar to the step aerobics but involves punching and kicking. Then there's golf which sees you turn the balance board sideways and essentially provides a much more detailed version of the golf mini-game seen in Wii-Sports. There's also skateboarding and snowball fights.
Talking these through with a personal trainer colleague of mine, his tips were that while these are no doubt more fun than the slightly stricter training exercises, they definitely don't burn as many calories or work your muscles as hard. His advice was to use these activities for winding down at the end of your session, and be sure to include the more carido stimulating challenges in the main mix.
However, not all exercises are so polarising. Some of the activities provide a nice combination between burning calories and having fun. Bird's Eye Bull's Eye is a game that sees users hold their arms out sideways, and flap them up and down to make an on-screen chicken flap its wings. Using the balance board to steer and your arms for height and propulsion, you must guide your feathered friend to certain targets dotted around the ocean level. This is easily one of the more fun games despite without doubt being the biggest energy burner, and shows a lot more thought has gone into the activities found in Wii-Fit Plus than the original.
After a tough time flapping your arms though, you can check out one of the best features of Fit Plus, the METs calorie counter. This allows you to see real progress from all the waving and balancing you've been doing, and is a great way to end a workout as you get a real sense of achievement as the tool puts into context what you've burned off, be it a glass of juice, or a bit of chocolate cake.
Being a fan of the balance games of the original Wii-Fit, I'll admit I spent most of my time on these, though I did dabble in the yoga a little more than I had before. Over time it definitely does get easier; though certainly not any less embarrassing if you happen to have an audience. I also couldn't help but keep attempting to beat my high score at the flying chicken game, and while feeling a little silly, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Nintendo have done an excellent job with Wii-Fit Plus, with the new games and exercises being a welcome addition to the title, and simply making it a much better rounded package. I hate to say this is what Wii-Fit the original should have been, as it was a real breakthrough game in its day. But Wii-Fit Plus clearly understands what attracted us to the original and creates a sequel that hits all those notes again and again. The fact that the game can be bought singly under the Wii-Fit Plus - Solus moniker is fantastic, as it allows those with the balance board already not to spend too much. All in all a great game that helps you stay fit and have fun while you do it; what more could you ask for?
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