Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wii Fit Reviewed - Is It as Good as a Real Workout?

I am perhaps a little late in talking about the Wii Fit, which has been quite a craze since its launch a few days ago. And that's probably because I prefer going to an actual gym rather than a simulated one. But intrigued by what I saw and the reviews that I read and heard, I had to find out for myself whether the Wii Fit stands the test of fitness or not! And luckily for all of you who bought it, this latest Nintendo game sure is a nifty addition to your workout routine, but don't think you can replace your workout with this!!

Wii Fit takes the whole concept of games as exercise to a new level with the inclusion of a balance board peripheral that can tell you on the fly exactly how well you are doing with its various activities. Nintendo is heavily marketing this new addition to Wii Games as a mixture of fitness and fun, which is perfect to lure Nintendo fans, and also compete with Xbox Games or other DS games! Going to a gym, especially on work days can be boring, time-consuming, and sometimes plain impossible, thanks to an already hectic routine. At times like these, the Wii Fit sure comes in handy for a quick yet efficient workout. However, you have to remember that this in fact, is just a video game after all, and cannot replace your 1 hour spent at the gym!!

After creating your Mii, you have to input a date of birth and height, then step onto the balance board for a weigh-in (all guided onscreen by a cartoon version of the board). From the height and weight data, a user's BMI is calculated, with the user tagged as underweight, ideal, or overweight depending on the BMI score. A simple balance test then occurs (usually involving having to shift your balance to certain areas within a time limit) before your Wii Fit Age is displayed in large numbers on the screen. However, even if we believe the BMI calculations are correct, the Wii Fit fails to account for variables such as muscle mass and age that can significantly affect a score (giving an otherwise healthy person with more muscle an overweight rating, for example).

The Good
It offers several exercises split into four different categories: yoga, muscle, aerobic, and balance. With 15 yoga poses and 15 muscle-toning moves to work through, the Yoga poses range from simple to difficult, while the muscle-toning section focusses on basic lunges mixed in with more strenuous activities such as the parallel stretch and push-ups. Virtual trainers guide you through the yoga and muscle exercises, offering praise or criticism depending on how well you're doing. The aerobic and balance activities include hula hoops, Wii Sports-like boxing, step dancing, jogging, and more. The balance activities are the simplest from the lot and include ski jump, ski slalom, snowboarding and more!

The presentation and graphics are amazing, as you'd expect from a Nintendo DS! The addition of virtual fitness trainers barking at you as you perform, and the fun, foot-tapping audio keeps you on your toes, and does provide much more than I'd expect from a game. Clean, friendly and easy-to-use, just like the Wii Sports, you'll be ready to start exercising with the Wii Fit in no time, and it can actually get addictive, at least for the first couple of months or so. And cool features like the extensive Activity Log, giving you a full overview of your daily fitness regime, scoreboards to encourage some friendly competition between registered users and even the standalone Wii Fit Channel, enabling you to check charts and compare results do make this a compulsive & rewarding experience!

The Bad
Wii Fit initially locks most of the exercises; new activities are unlocked roughly every 10 minutes of use, which means you'll need five or six hours of Wii Fit play time before you get full access to all of its activities. Also, you don't have an option to create your own workout program!! Instead, you have to select each individual activity using the Wii Remote, perform it, jump back to the main menu, select another activity, and so on., which wastes half of your workout time for nothing! Another thing that I detest is the fact that there are hardly any multiplayer options, except like two-player jogging, and frankly, I'd rather jog outside with my partner in fresh air than side-by-side in a 2 ft space! Also, while the board is extremely sensitive when it comes to weight, it can't actually track what you're doing with your upper body, which means you can easily "cheat" your way through most of the exercises (though it wouldn't help you in the long run!:))

You are left to blindly follow exercises on the screen, and it does not explain the benefits or side-effects of what you are doing. So unless you have some knowledge about exercising, yoga, and the general moves, do not attempt to imitate all of the Wii Fit moves! Unlike a trainer at the gym, there's no one here to answer your questions or clear your doubts!

There's no right and wrong with the Wii Fit; it excels as a video game, but it aims to provide you with certain fitness features, and if you are looking for just thrill and excitement from a game, don't waste your money on Wii Fit. At the same time, abandoning your gym and relying on Wii will definitely not make you fit; this is just a supplement to your workout, for boring days or raining evenings. That said, the Wii Fit with its unique Balance Board, is surely a step forward from the makers of Wii; with arresting presentation, great graphics and something that gets you into the mood for fitness, Nintendo's Wii Fit does not fail to impress its fans!


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