(Wii)

Wii Fit Plus (Wii)

Game Review

Wii Fit Plus Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Sean Aaron

A worthwhile upgrade or just Nintendo milking its new cash cow?

Wii Fit's runaway success seemed to take even Nintendo by surprise given the number of times Satoru Iwata has publicly stated he never thought he could sell millions of bathroom scales as a new kind of fitness product. It's probably not much of a surprise to see them testing whether not lightning can strike twice with a title that's basically a slight upgrade to the original rather than a full-blown sequel. It's replacing the original Wii Fit program as the Balance Board pack-in title, so if you haven't purchased Wii Fit already this is the one to get, but if you already have Wii Fit is this upgrade worth your time?

The original Wii Fit was groundbreaking both by the degree of its success and the inclusion of a peripheral that can measure your weight and balance. Purchased as a separate piece of software, Wii Fit Plus completely replaces your original Wii Fit disc as it includes all of the activities from the previous game and automatically converts your original Wii Fit save data into Wii Fit Plus data. Visually it's not much different, though there is a decent amount of new content in the form of games that have more of a fitness angle than those found in the original as well as a handful of new yoga and muscle-training exercises.

Those with Wii Fit save data will be provided a quick intro by the anthropomorphic Balance Board showing what's new in this edition and then highlight other new bits on the way. The first thing you'll notice are a couple of new icons in the "lobby" area for registering pets and children under 3 (apparently the two are equivalent) and a multiplayer icon for playing the balance games with more than one person, rather than simply giving someone else a go using your profile. These new icons also feature in the new Wii Fit Plus Channel which replaces the old one and is one block larger (121).

Cosmetically the game is much the same, but the entire experience is a bit more streamlined. If you just want a quick weigh-in or to play with the balance test mini-games on their own you can do so without going into the main game menu. If you click "START" you'll still be asked if you want to hear fitness tips, but if not, simply click once and go straight to the main menu without having to click through another screen of text first. The character models for the trainers have been changed a bit and both are now wearing green outfits instead of blue (they change to yellow when the activity is part of a custom routine). The manual makes reference to Wii Fit Plus events taking place on Wuhu Island (in a nod to the setting of Wii Sports Resort) and includes a handy map, though it makes little difference where you virtually jog.

You'll now find six options in the Training menu: Training Plus, Yoga, Muscle Training, Aerobics, Games and My Wii Fit. Training Plus features a decent mix of games with a fitness component and ones that are just for fun. The only purpose of having this separate category seems to be drawing attention to these new activities, but they really should have been placed in the existing Aerobic and Games categories instead; certainly newcomers to Wii Fit Plus won't see any sense in this arrangement. There are also two new graphs in the personal data recording area, Waist and Steps, so you can track your waist measurements and number of steps you're taking (though there's no direct reference, this is presumably a tie-in with Nintendo's DS walking program).

By far the biggest change is the new My Wii Fit menu. This is where you'll find the Favourites selection which now allows you to view lists of activities that have been most-played, most-recently and least-recently played; as well as a couple of options for training routines and viewing the calorie content of food items (data sourced from the Food Standards Agency in the UK). When playing through events individually you'll find not much has changed; you still need to calibrate the balance board before every event, though afterwards you will no longer be told about other activities that can be performed to complete a "workout." Instead you can try one of several set routines combining different activities which are accompanied by a total time and estimated number of kcals (calories) burned.

The major benefit is a more streamlined approach. You'll only have to calibrate the Balance Board once at the start of the routine and the only advisory screens seen will be those for one-legged activities, which will automatically dismiss themselves. Yoga poses that used to take 3 minutes, like Sunrise Salutation, have been shortened by reducing the number of breaths per pose, allowing for more activities to be performed in a routine of minimal length. The set routines aren't that easy to sift through due to putting them into arbitrary categories like "Lifestyle, "Youth" and "Form" that seems to be a step backwards, but overall this is a welcome improvement over the original Wii Fit release. Even better than the canned routines is the ability to create your own workout — a major omission from the first edition. Disappointingly, it's compromised by restricting your choice of selections to yoga and muscle training exercises; given the presence of aerobics and games in the pre-generated routines it's a complete mystery why Nintendo chose to limit user choice in this way. Nevertheless, being able to create a routine of varying length from 5-60 minutes makes doing your regular routine easier and you can always bookend it with some of Nintendo's canned routines for variety.

Whilst it's nice the issue of routines has been partially addressed, it's quite disappointing that Nintendo hasn't sorted one of the more public complaints about the original Wii Fit: limiting long-term goals to achieving an ideal BMI based upon height and weight rather than allowing players to set their own. Your short-term weight-loss goal can now be adjusted week-to-week, but it's not the same as having a weight-based long-term goal, which would also be a draw for people on programs like Weight Watchers. A more minor issue is that people in the UK are still limited to Imperial measurement for height/weight — more user choice is a good thing, Nintendo!

On the technical front, the left-right Balance Board sensitivity seems to have been adjusted a bit so you'll find some of the yoga poses a bit more forgiving than before. The new and old activities still have some technical issues though, with motion detection issues in the new skate park event and punching in the boxing aerobics being the biggest issues. Taken in the context of 65 activities on offer those problems are minor and fun new events that see you wearing a chicken suit to fly between different islands or the platforming obstacle course demonstrate the Balance Board technology at its best.

Conclusion

Whilst the failure to fully address issues from the original Wii Fit is a bit of a disappointment, Wii Fit Plus is still a good exercise program with a large array of fun activities that will appeal to a broad range of Wii owners. If you already own Wii Fit, it's definitely an upgrade worth getting.

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Game Trailer

NINTENDO bring another dose of Wii Fit into our homes this year with Wii Fit Plus, an updated version of the original Fitness game with new games and features, check out Nintendo Life for a full review as always.

User Comments (30)

Strofan7

#2

Strofan7 said:

perfect, i was hoping for this review for awhile. said exactly what i wanted to hear!

Token_Girl

#4

Token_Girl said:

I was wondering about the "training plus" category. That is annoying that they couldn't have just added them to the aerobics and minigame sections. I'll probably upgrade anyway when I get back home just for the calorie counter, but I'm wondering if I'd be better of with EA Sports Active.

pixelman

#5

pixelman said:

Can someone list all of the minigames in this? I googled a bit online but I couldn't find anything.

Stuffgamer1

#7

Stuffgamer1 said:

@cheetahman91: Yes, it is. Quite a nice deal, I think.:)

That multiplayer button alone is worth the upgrade for some friends I have who often use the game in a group setting; I'll just need to convince them of that. Given the low price of the upgrade, I don't think it will be too hard, though.:D

Sean_Aaron

#11

Sean_Aaron said:

I didn't mention it in the review, but the muscle training activities that have varying numbers of reps will have the lowest number available when used in a custom routine. You also don't get rated on performance in them, so if you're trying to get those stars you'll need to do them on an individual basis. I'm personally happy to be able to just focus on doing the activity without worrying about how well the game thinks I'm doing it!

Having the routines does make it easier to stick with the program; previously I'd do maybe 10min. at a time, but now that I can just hit the A button once to start and go straight through them back-to-back without picking up the remote again I'll be able to stick with the Wii Fit program more easily. I sort of like the fact that the old stuff is included, but in some ways I wish not all of the content was there from the first one -- what do they think we're supposed to do with all the old Wii Fit discs? I Ebay'ed mine before Wii Fit Plus came out, but how much of an after market is there really? If the old mini-games weren't there at least you could justify keeping the old disc, but now it's completely redundant (unless you really fancied the old male model, and the blue outfits...) which is poor from a potential landfill perspective.

I cannot praise the flying chicken suit enough -- easily the best new activity in Wii Fit Plus. They're all pretty decent though. It almost has me ready to buy Wii Sports Resort!

XCWarrior

#12

XCWarrior said:

At just $20, I will probably pick it up eventually, but not sure when that will be.

Crunc

#13

Crunc said:

I'm also very pleased with this upgrade. Some issues remain, but nothing earth shattering. Many of the new balance games are really fun too.

Ren

#15

Ren said:

I'm still trying to use the old one a little but the issues with it are so annoyiing, I too wish it didn't totally render it obsolete. It still seems like the EA sports active will be ulitmately a better workout (assuming thats what you want) but this one is really tempting for only 20 bucks. I really wish these new "routines" included the aerobics stuff, though, it's really nonsense that they don't. I think the lack of a continous flow in the original one pretty much rendered it useless for any real workout, especially the poor cardio fitness, so to leave the aerobics out of the only fixes to the program is pretty ridiculous. I'm tempted but it sounds like I too should have ebayed it earlier like Sean did. smart move.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#16

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I love Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. I can't praise it enough. I think the new features are very good, particularly the new b.board min games, most of which are outstanding imho. Chicken suit, snowball and cycling are my favourites.

I bought it for £14.99.

I've been using wii fi regularly (honest) since release day, I will continue the trend with Plus.

9/10

I used to have ea sports active, but that was simply no where near as much fun as wii fit. It was a good package, but often slightly unresponsive at key times. Frustrating, but good. I sold it for a profit on e-bay ;-)

The_Fox

#17

The_Fox said:

I've never seen the appeal of the Wii Fit series. Those looking for a good workout are going to be just as dissapointed as those looking for a good game.

GotWii

#18

GotWii said:

Once Again I have to pay more $$ to get what I should have got from the start. (I.E. motion Plus) Not happy Nintendo! I use to be able to bank on the Nintendo name for quality purchases, but it seams lately I have to be skeptical and triple check anything they offer. WiiFit was a great Idea but the software was/is crap.
What was lacking was the data and reporting and changing and monitoring goals, it seams they may have expanded the ability for adjusting goals a bit but I have not seen much reviewed on that. The addition of having workout routines is great but then once again they limit my choices? Why Nintendo? So I can buy a 3rd version that allows it next year! One of my big complaints was that a device they marketed as a weight scale on hyper drive but then they did not include the simple program to check weight! It should have a scale program I click on and its works as a scale, without going through the entire daily test mode stuff.
WiiFit is my biggest Nintendo purchase disappointments. To me WiiFit was much like using a demo program it seams everything it did was unpolished. By reading this review it seams that they have fixed maybe half of the issues. This should have been available for shipping and media expenses to current WiiFit owners $10 or less (at $20 THIS IS A RIPOFF to get what I bought to work a bit better)
This is defiantly Nintendo milking their new cash cow!

LEGEND_MARIOID

#19

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

WiiFitPlus has a simple test. You don't have to use the daily test.

£14.99 sounds about right to be tbh; though I'd love it to be cheaper obviously.

ds_lover59440

#24

ds_lover59440 said:

I love this game!
It`s a great one, I have now started doing it every morning.
I have even put the family dog in the Plaza!
I love the Training Plus games, that`s my favorite section.
And the Routines-are GREAT! Those who tried Wii Fit, go buy this!

Mick

#25

Mick said:

Sean, I don't know how big you are (physically) but at 2m and 120kg I am a rather large American. As much as I enjoy the entertaining graphics and inventive software, the Balance Board is a bit small for my liking. What I would like to see (and might even take a crack at myself) is someone coming out with an after-market version of the Wii Fit Plus Balance Board that can be programmed for different size feet (mine are size 50) and stance breadths (mine is about 60cm). I realize that I am a bit larger than the average Japanese, or even the average European, for that matter. However, such a product would benefit smaller-than-average people and average-sized people as well. Consider for a moment that most people using the Wii Fit are members of families with children of various ages. Those various ages bring with them various statures and stances, do they not? It's therefore only sensible that the user interface devices would adjust to match their strides and stances so that all can enjoy a similar experience when using the programmes. Excellent review, by the way. Softwarewise, I find myself in complete agreement with your observations.

warioswoods

#27

warioswoods said:

Hooray for the incorporation of WuHu Island in all the new activities. I know it will sound crazy to some, but I've played this and Sports Resort more than any other games over the past month.

I just love that island.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#28

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Wariowoods, that is not crazy. That's what I've been doing too. Wii Sports Resort is the first game I fire up when the relatives come round too.

Sean_Aaron

#29

Sean_Aaron said:

Well, I did end up getting Wii Sports Resort and it's great to be able to see Wuhu Island from different angles - I hope we see more of it in the future!

I also think the mini games make Wii Fit Plus worthwhile even if you don't want to do the fitness bit - Overturn also plays a lot better with the Balance Board, so you really just have to get it!

Hokori

#30

Hokori said:

I love this I just got it :)
I think ill try to complete the Wii series because they are all fun

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