Wii Fit bulks up with new features and activities.
Reviewer's note: This review focuses on the new features and activities of Wii Fit Plus. If you would like more in-depth information on what's included in Wii Fit, please refer to the original Wii Fit review.
Last year, Wii Fit was released and it was not only critically acclaimed, but it was also a huge blockbuster success. Even though it received great reviews and praise due to how advanced the software was when compared to earlier attempts at fitness games, there were some issues. Critics primarily cited its somewhat misleading focus on BMI and its lack of exercise routines. Luckily, Wii Fit Plus fixes some of the complaints lodged against last year's title, and adds new exercises and activities at the same time.
Wii Fit Plus is more of an expansion pack than a sequel. It includes everything from the original Wii Fit. While adding new yoga and strength training exercises, new balance games, an improved interface, and a couple of new features. If you are an existing Wii Fit owner, Wii Fit Plus will carry over all your data from Wii Fit so you won't have to start from scratch. If for some reason you did not unlock a specific exercise or activity in the original, Wii Fit Plus unlocks everything for you so that all the activities from both Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus are immediately accessible.
The interface is largely unchanged from Wii Fit, featuring a virtually identical menu system with only a few changes. You can now perform a simple body test, which measures your weight and center of balance in about one minute. The regular body test is still available, but your Wii Fit Age is now calculated differently. You have to complete a balance activity and mental activity chosen at random, and your performance from both activities is judged in order to generate your Wii Fit Age.
The two new menu sections are Training Plus, which conveniently has all 15 new balance games in one location, and My Wii Fit Plus, which includes a whole assortment of items. You can create your own custom workout routine, or even chose from a series of suggested routines that are divided up by different themes. The game also keeps track of which activities are most frequently performed, the activities you performed recently, and the activities that you rarely perform.
The most impressive addition is the calorie counter. After every exercise the game estimates how many calories you have burned using a METs (Metabolic Equivalents) calculation. Low-intensity activities have a low METs value, while intense activities have a higher METs value. In My Wii Fit Plus you can also compare how many calories you burned to the caloric equivalent in food. For an example, if you burned 410 calories then you burned the amount of calories typically found in 12 onion rings. You can also set a daily calorie goal by picking one food item; each food has a calorie count associated with it. If you surpass your daily goal then the game will notify you. Unfortunately, only one food goal can be assigned at a time, so you have to change your existing goal if you want a new one.
There are some minor additions like the ability to weigh your baby, dog, or cat. The Miis for your pet or baby are adorable. If you want to weigh them then you have to hold your baby or pet while stepping on the balance board (while this sounds like a nice feature to have, it will probably be largely ignored or quickly forgotten, unless you are a person that always wants to know how much your pet or baby weighs). There is also a multiplayer option that allows you to play a couple of different activities in an alternating order, and compare each person's score to see who did better at a game.
The biggest addition to Wii Fit Plus are fifteen new balance activities which range from a couple of enhanced versions of balance games from the original Wii Fit, to brand new ones such as skateboarding, riding a Segway, and skateboarding. All the new activities control well and are very fun.
My two personal favorite activities are Bird's-Eye Bull's-Eye and the obstacle course.
In Bird's-Eye Bull's-Eye, your Mii dons a chicken suit and you must flap your arms in order to fly and land on specific platforms, ultimately trying to reach the goal within the time limit. In the obstacle course, you try to conquer a gauntlet of courses that progressively get harder within a time limit. All the courses seem to be inspired by Super Mario games, considering how you have to navigate through moving platforms, having to jump to other platforms while avoiding hazards such as a huge ball on a chain and huge rolling pins. The obstacle course mini-game proves that a platformer title can be theoretically played with just a Balance Board.
In terms of new exercises, Wii Fit Plus provides three new yoga exercises and three new strength training exercises. These new exercises are more intense when compared to most of the other exercises; each of them has a disclaimer stating that the exercise is more suited to advanced users that understand how to do the exercise properly. Fortunately these new exercises are a great addition to your workout routine. Sadly, there are no new aerobic activities.
While the additions in Wii Fit Plus are excellent, there are a few issues. The most disappointing aspect is the limited scope of the custom routines. You are only allowed to select yoga or strength training exercises; it's disappointing that you can't add an aerobic activity or any balance games to the routine. You are also only allowed to have one custom routine at a time; if you want a new one you have to delete or alter your current one. Wii Fit Plus still uses BMI in a similar fashion to Wii Fit. If you weren’t a fan of the BMI system in the original, you won't be a fan of it now. Finally, the trainer feedback is very repetitive to the point of annoyance. It would have been nice if the trainers had a larger pool of feedback to give to the user, or simply feedback that was more meaningful.
Wii Fit Plus is ultimately a better product than the original Wii Fit. While Nintendo did address some of the first game's shortcomings with Wii Fit Plus, there are a couple of lingering issues. Fortunately they aren't overly detrimental. For owners of the first game, this $20 upgrade is worth it because you get a good amount of new content in addition to all the refinements found in Wii Fit Plus. For those who skipped the original Wii Fit, the Wii Fit Plus bundle is an excellent deal since you get the Balance Board and all the activities from Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus.