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Nintendo Wii Fit Balance Board review

Miyamoto and co. are about to get aerobic on your ass…

Our Verdict

For

  • Great fun
  • For all ages

Against

  • Novelty product
  • SOlo play is boring

Update: check out our first impressions of the new Nintendo Wii U console here: Hands on: Nintendo Wii U review

From the cheesy ads and the mocking YouTube parodies, you could be forgiven for thinking that Nintendo's Wii Fit and Balance Board would be overly-worthy, not very entertaining, or just plain silly.

But, of course, it's made by Nintendo, a company which is fast becoming a master of turning mundane of tasks into fun activities (accompanied by vast amounts of profit).

The Wii Fit pack contains the software, the balance board and four AA batteries. Set-up is dead simple: load the Wii Fit disc, sync the board with your Wii (as you do with Wiimotes, switch the board on and you're good to go).

Body Mass Index

When you first use Wii Fit, it works out your body mass index (BMI) and then suggests what your ideal BMI should be based on your weight and height. This becomes your new target BMI, giving you something to aim for over the course of your Wii Fitting, with various graphs enabling you to follow your progress.

This portion can also be stored as a Wii channel so you can perform daily measurements without constantly having to load the Wii Fit disc.

Wii Fit's activities are split between Aerobic Exercise, Muscle Conditioning, Yoga Poses and Balance Games. The Balance Board is neatly integrated in that it monitors your stance during yoga, for example, and measures reps during exercises. You could perform most of the training without it, but it wouldn't be quite as engaging.

But naturally it's with the games that Wii Fit really shines. Mastering a ski slalom with your feet is way harder than it sounds, and provides a challenge the whole family can enjoy. It also levels the playing field: teen joypad junkies are just as likely to be rubbish as Mum or Dad who've never touched a videogame before. (And if the old man's a keen footballer, he'll probably have better balance and control than his rotund rug rats.)

Ski jump

The Balance Board is used ingeniously, too. Alongside the obvious balance-related games – steer the ball across the wobbly platform, walk a tightrope – there's a ski jump game. You have to crouch as the skier starts his descent, then stand up sharply at take-off. By maintaining your balance, you remain airborne for a greater distance. It's bizarre, you look an idiot doing it, but it's totally effective and maddeningly addictive.

Ultimately, how much you get out of Wii Fit depends on how much you're willing to put in. Some people get utterly addicted to Brain Training, for example, while others tire of the repetition after a week or so. And this is supposed to be exercise, remember.

Certainly a family playing Wii Fit together will have more fun competing for a lower BMI rating and higher game scores than the solus player simply going through each workout.

But the short answer is: it works, it's fun and after building up a real sweat jogging round a virtual park, there's no reason why it shouldn't help to make you fitter and slimmer – assuming you don't celebrate every session with a bar of Cadbury's finest.

Footnote:

In all honesty, the score is of little real relevance because you either already want Wii Fit – in which case you've pre-ordered – or you've no real interest. Which is fine, because on launch day there won't be any stock anyway.

Despite going up against GTA IV, Wii Fit is pretty much already sold out. At the time of writing, of 17 major retailers only four were still taking pre-orders; the rest were out of stock. And analysts expect stock to be in short supply through till 2009. The Nintendo Wii: license to print money.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSoftware
ESRB RatingE (Everyone)
Multiplayer SupportedYes
Software Main TypeGame
Brand NameNintendo
Software Sub TypeAction/Adventure Game
Platform SupportedWii
Minimum Number of Players Supported1
Maximum Number of Players Supported8
Release Date2009-10-04
Features
  • Workouts combine the original Wii Fit activities and selections from 15 new balance games and six new strength training and yoga activities
  • Users can input the amount of time they want to spend on their workouts or select an area for personal improvement, and Wii Fit Plus will suggest a number of diverse activities for them
  • For the first time, users can mix and match which strength and yoga activities they prefer on a given day. The seamless exercise flows make it easier than ever for users to maintain their daily workout routines
  • Users might be asked to run an obstacle course across a series of platforms, zoom across a beach on a Segway x2 Personal Transporter or flap their arms to help their hilarious chicken-suited characters aim for targets
  • The range of games and customization options will make players want to play every day. They'll be having so much fun that their workouts will seem to fly by in no time at all
  • Players also can see estimates of calories burned and can even activate a feature that lets them weigh their dogs or cats
ManufacturerNintendo Co., Ltd
Product NameFit Plus With Balance Board
Software NameFit Plus With Balance Board
Manufacturer Part NumberRVLRRFPE
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nintendo.com
Marketing Information

Wii Fit attracted millions of new players to the world of video games. Now Wii Fit Plus offers a range of new features and enhancements to help players reinvigorate their workouts, along with exercises and balance games designed to keep them fun.