Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Following the success of Wii-Sports in getting gamers up off the sofa, Wii-Fit further establishes the Nintendo Wii as a lifestyle product. At GBP 69.99 it was an expensive addition to the Wii (and possibly a risky strategy for Nintendo) but one that was well received and widely adopted. This high attach rate means that new games will now make use of its balance board peripheral.
Fitness games are only recently becoming a genre in their own right. Previously, rhythm action games would cover these titles. With the release of the Wii and related peripherals however, a new Exergaming genre is emerging.
Games that motivate you to exercise by making it entertaining, and tracking your progress, are usually intended to supplement existing exercise routines rather than replace them.
Wii-Fit is the only game to provide a balance board peripheral. The board can record your weight, body mass index and centre of gravity. About the size of a large pair of bathroom scales, it aids you in activities from hulahooping to yoga poses.
While many other fitness games provide gimmicky games to get you moving around (Wii-Fit has these too), this game also provides a set of Muscle and Yoga exercises led by a personal trainer. Using balance readings from your performance enables the game to provide feedback on your performance and progress.
The variety of activities mean that people play Wii-Fit for a variety of reasons. Whether it is fitness, weight-loss or just plain fun for your nieces and nephews, there is something here to suite everyone. Because of this, players enjoy the experience of looking forward to their next exercise session. It even lets you start an activity, then watch a TV program while you play, the Wii-mote speaker keeping you in time with your exercise.
You should clear about 10 feet in front of your TV to play Wii-Fit, although when not in use, the Wii balance board can easily be stowed under a sofa or beside your media centre. The activities last about 5 minutes each, and you can tackle as many as you like in one session. To get the most out of the game you should play regularly at the same time each day for around 30 minutes. Of course, if you're not around your nieces and nephews that often, you can encourage them to do it on their own. But chances are, they'll look forward to it!
The nature of the game means that your nieces and nephews never really finish it, although after some 30 hours of play the majority of activities will have been completed.
The limits to sensitivity of the balance board mean this is not ideal for the very young (or indeed very heavy). Our three year old struggled to register on it. The game does assume a level of mobility so that some activities would not be suitable for less agile gamers. That said, the game does a good job of easing you in slowly to each event and players (or non-players) of any age should enjoy the experience.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: