A first look at the games and play modes of Wii Fit.
My first thoughts when I saw Wii Fit running is how similar the concept is to Brain Age. It’s also obvious that Wii Fit is ideally intended as a unit for a multiple-person household in which each member can use the system at different times of day. Data for each person is stored in a profile, and you enter information including height and age so that your BMI can be calculated. This health metric is used to measure your daily progress. Graphs show the statistics for each person such as BMI, game time, and goal BMI if you choose to set one. Your Mii is used to represent you in each game and the size of the Mii's body changes depending on BMI score.
The Wii Remote is required to navigate menus when you are playing, so you'll find that you're holding the Wii Remote the entire time. Otherwise you'd be picking it up again every minute or two since the games are quite short.
Once you've finished admiring your calendars and graphs, you can choose between body test or training options. I never saw body test, but the training section has all of the games. Within training, there are four modes: aerobic exercise, yoga, muscle workout, and balance games. These each have their own page and you can change between them with the – and + buttons on the remote. There is an additional “favourites” page for frequently-chosen games. Only the first few games in each section are unlocked at the start, but your game minutes are added to a total as you play and more games unlock as the total increases. Different difficulty levels for each game are also unlocked as your playtime increases. Games are usually worth one or two minutes each, as they are all mini-games.
I played four of these mini-games and observed several more. I had seen others before me play the ski slalom game, leaning left and right to weave between flags, so I chose ski jump. With the ski jumping exercise, you need to bend your knees and stay forward to align your weight with a dot within a small rectangle in the upper right of the screen. The rest of the screen shows your Mii careering down a ski jump run with instructions to extend your knees at the right so that you can jump as far as you can. I tried this four times with no success, but realised later that it was probably due to the weight being set incorrectly for me.
Next I tried a game of goalkeeping. With all of the Wii Fit games, you need to be consciously shifting your weight from left foot to right foot to have the best results. Movement above the waist doesn't help you very much. For goalkeeping, shifting your weight forward also helps you to return the ball. Successive saves multiply your score, while being hit by the other items reduces it.
Tightrope walking was an interesting game that I hadn't seen before. You stand normally on the balance board but step each foot up and down to move forwards. Often you'll find your Mii is leaning too far in one direction or the other and you'll have to remedy that before you fall off. At the half-way point of the rope there is a snapping bear trap you need to jump over. For any of the games with jumping involved, you don't actually jump on the balance board. You bend and extend your knees to make a weight shift.
I watched several people try the jogging game in aerobic exercise. This mode does not use the balance board; you either hold or put the Wii Remote in your pocket. On screen, a Mii runs in front to pace you, and your own Mii is transparent in the foreground. Then you just jog on the spot, with the Wii Remote picking up your movements. This game doesn't require you to watch your television; you can easily change to another television channel or jog around the house, within range of the Wii Remote of course. There is also a two-player mode, the only game to have such a mode out of the ones unlocked.
The final game I was able to try was step aerobics. I found this to be like DDR but not fun. On easy mode it wasn't very tiring either. I think that the only time I saw someone exert themselves the entire evening was when one person tried to beat their pacing character in jogging. And that game doesn't even use the balance board.
You really get the idea that this game is made to be played at different times of day by each member of the family. There is not much point in playing together as the tasks are relatively simple, and you must change your profile otherwise games won't function correctly due to the difference in weight. There doesn't seem to be support for multiple balance boards.
For me, the games aren't interesting enough to hold my attention for a long time. It's the family interaction aspect and getting everyone active on the balance board that will be the appeal of this title.