Introduction: I guess Nintendo observed that the majority of the population tends to stay home close to their TVs and/or computers, and lacked exercise. So to promote good health and well being, they threw Wii Fit at us to tempt us to get into shape! Well, whatever its origins are, Wii Fit is an interactive fitness game that uses the Balance Board that comes packaged with the game. This magical board can sense weight, pressure, balance and direction, and implements these these features/functions into the game.
Controls: The wiimote and the balance board are used to play Wii Fit. The wiimote is mainly used to make selections, pause, and for a few of the exercises. You can tie the wiimote to your wrist, but it really just gets in the way. For some yoga exercises, it's inconvenient to hold the controller while doing some of the poses. Some poses will require you to reach both hands up towards the ceiling, so if you have the wiimote hanging from your wrist, it will just hit you on the head and dangle in front of you while you try your best to keep balance. Yes, very annoying.
The balance board is roughly 2 ft by 1 ft. It's very sensitive to weight, balance, and motion. It also serves as a scale to measure your weight and BMI. Most of the exercises will be performed on the balance board. You'll want to make sure you that you have enough room around you so that you're not knocking things down, or hitting something. In case you have really thick carpet, the Wii Fit bundle also included extra supports (legs) to increase the height of the board, to get more accurate readings.
I estimate the accuracy and sensitivity of the balance board at about 95%. It may take some getting used to standing on the balance board and finding your center of balance.
Gameplay: Wii Fit is divided into four categories: yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance mini-games. To unlock more exercises, or add more reps to an existing exercise, you will need to fill your piggy bank. For each minute you work out, you get 1 coin. These coins are added to your piggy bank after each exercise.
When playing for the first time, you will need to take a test to determine your fitness age. It's the same concept as the brain age check for the Brain Age games on Nintendo DS . The computer selects two random tests to check your balance and your ability to maintain balance. The game also takes into account the weight of your clothes, from light clothing, normal wear, to heavy clothes. After the test, you will see your weight, and your body mass index, and finally, your fitness age. Don't be shocked if your fitness age is higher than your real age. It's normal. Afterwards, you can setup a goal of how many pounds you want to lose, and over what period of time you plan to lose it in. A cool feature about this game is you can add privacy to your game file by securing it with a password. That way anyone can play the game without finding out how much you actually weigh.
Yoga - This is great for warm up. Yoga stretches your muscles, increases flexibility, and tone muscles. I'm no yoga expert, but according to the game, it also helps align your spine and hips. I guess that's always good! It's also a good breathing exercise. It's a refreshing workout.
Strength Training - Time to tone those muscles...Just to name a few of the exercises: push up + side plank, twists, leg lifts, triceps extensions, jackknife, lunges, squats and more. You'll need a lot of room to do these exercises. Yes, that means move the coffee table out of the way. Some are easy to do, like the leg lifts and twists, but others can be painful and take some time to get use to. To get more out of your work out, you may want to consider using dumbbells, or leg weights. Doing the triceps extensions with the wiimote is a joke.
Aerobics - These exercises increases your heart rate to help burn fat. When you first start, you can choose from hula hoops, step aerobics, and jogging/running. As you add fit credits, you can unlock another hula hoop game, intermediate step aerobics, free step aerobics, 2-player run, and boxing.
One of the better feature of Wii Fit is the jogging/running exercise. The Wii balance board is not used for this exercise. Instead, you will need to keep the wiimote in your pocket, or hold it in your hand during the duration of your run. The run takes place in a park and town filled with your own Mii creations. When you pass by, they smile and wave at you! You'll have to keep a steady pace while following (behind) your guide. If you pass up your guide, a dog will run ahead and replace the guide. If you pass up the dog, then the game starts yelling at you...so don't. It takes some practice to keep at a steady pace. I averaged 45% my first couple of times, but scored 115% on my most recent attempt. Keep at it!
Step Aerobics is fun, but there's no challenge to it at all. The balance board is only about 2 inches off the ground, so you barely have to lift your leg to get on and off the balance board. Sure, you can add the leg extensions, but does it really help???? (No). You might want to place some textbooks UNDER the balance board to build up the height to make this exercise more challenging. Leg weights help, too. The unlockable intermediate level introduces kicks and horizontal side steps. You can also unlock a free step mode, where you set the duration of either 10, 20, or 30 minutes, and begin your exercise while listening to the tempo and instructions from your wii mote. You can watch TV or do something else during this exercise.
Boxing - This is the only exercise where you will need to use the balance board, wiimote, and nunchuck all at the same time. Use the wiimote and nunchuck to punch. Your resting position is standing on the balance board with both feet. Step forward when attacking, step back to block. The coach will give you a sequence (i.e.: left foot step forward + left punch, right punch, left punch, left foot step back), and you'll have to repeat the sequence after the sound of the whistle.
Balance Mini Games - These games aim to improve your balance. To do this, you'll need to have a good center of balance first, then you'll need to learn to shift your weight from one direction to another. For example, the tight-rope walking game teaches you to walk steadily and balanced on both legs. In Balance Bubble, you have to guide your Mii, who is trapped in a bubble, to safety by shifting your weight on the balance board.
Graphics: The graphics compares to Wii Play and Wii Sports. Don't expect breathtaking graphics. The personal trainers, one male and one female, are somewhat realistic looking, except they're gray all over. What's interesting is their appearance changes over time. For example, I selected the male trainer, and his hair has been growing longer. It's now in a pony tail!
The are few colors during the yoga and strength training portion of the game. The most you'll see is gray, green, blue, and most importantly, yellow. You'll want to keep your balance inside the yellow circle/oval.
The mini-games and the aerobics exercises are filled with vibrant colors. The hula hoop and step aerobics are particularly "flashy".
The music in Wii Fit is very calming and relaxing. It's what's expected when doing yoga, of course! The music in aerobics and mini-games are more quirky and upbeat. In the basic run, there is no background music, only the sound of nature and your shoes crunching into dirt and gravel.
You should get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, so anyone who is trying to monitor, maintain, or lose weight, Wii Fit is a great tool to help do all these things. Wii Fit is not a conventional game that you play just for entertainment, instead, it is more of a tool that you can use to strengthen your body. I've had Wii Fit for about 2 months now, and I use it whenever I can. Although it can never fully replace the gym, the advantage of Wii Fit is that you can work out in your living room with all the privacy you want.