(WiiWare)

Game Review

Physiofun: Pelvic Floor Training Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Are you sitting comfortably?

On a service practically overflowing with niche games, Physiofun: Pelvic Floor Training is the undisputed champion: a game designed to help prevent postnatal urinary incontinence. 99% of you can stop reading now, unless you really want to know how successfully a video game can strengthen your pelvic floor, in which case read on.

The game's predecessor Physiofun: Balance Training focused on rehabilitation following surgery, but Pelvic Floor Training aims to help improve your muscular control over a course of 30 days through some cheerful-looking exercises. Don't worry if you're not really sure what the pelvic floor is: there's an in-game introduction, plus a wealth of information available online.

Once you've created your profile you can start the 30 day challenge; a Campaign Mode, of sorts. The game starts you off with some deep breathing and six gentle exercises, but over time will ramp up the difficulty to bring your muscles under control. You can also choose to pick up any exercise you want at any time, altering the difficulty and number of sets or reps as you see fit.

Whereas you would expect such a game to make good use of the Balance Board, this is only used when choosing to weigh your baby, meaning you can take part in all the exercises using just your Wii Remote. There are six different exercises on offer, each requiring a slightly different position and muscle movement but played in the same way: hold the A button for as long as you hold the tension in your muscle, aiming to release when the on-screen gauge is filled. You're treated to graphical representations of your pelvic efforts: a crocodile fires plungers at a rabbit, a rhinoceros plays the violin, a cat scares off birds with a megaphone. You know, the usual sort of stuff that springs to mind.

If you approach this properly, intending to promote proper internal well-being, you may be disappointed that the game doesn't quite go into enough detail to teach you exactly what you're supposed to be doing and how. Before each exercise you get a diagram and a brief textual explanation, then it's into the action; a video or clearer instruction would have been welcomed for those who intend to take this seriously.

The game does an admirable job of keeping the tone jovial and light, with cutesy cartoon animations accompanying your movements, but these may strike some as immature when considering the target audience for this game is a little past cartoon animals.

While the majority of the exercises can be taken on by anyone — not just new mothers — there is a section dedicated to those with newborn babies which aims to incorporate the youngsters into routines. Doing away with the Wii Remote-holding and replacing it with baby-holding takes any input out of proceedings, and while some of the motions seem useful it's hard to picture many new mothers wanting to sit on the floor and do pelvic exercises with their bundles of joy.

Conclusion

Physiofun: Pelvic Floor Exercises is a decent attempt to bring an exceedingly specialised health package to WiiWare, but those really keen to improve their stability might find the tone off: this makes too many concessions to bring a game and not enough to being a health education aid. In the end it's worth picking up as a starting point, but most users will outgrow it soon enough.

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User Comments (23)

Terra

#5

Terra said:

"A game designed to help prevent postnatal urinary incontinence" Ok, I think the biggest question here is who ever asked for this? :P

MeloMan

#6

MeloMan said:

The title... and the captions... just do not go together. I guess they're there to entertain the babies while mom exercises? Ah well, I guess only a casual gamer would understand as it's beyond me.

kurtasbestos

#8

kurtasbestos said:

This isn't a game for a casual gamer... it's an application geared towards a very specific group of people. By my logic, that means it's for hardcore gamers. In addition, the specific hardcore gamers it's meant for are recent mothers, which is more PROOF that the Wii is not just a console for kids.

Slapshot

#10

Slapshot said:

I know what my wife will be giving away from now on at baby showers! :O

@Chicken.... dude, I literally busted out laughing when I read that! :D

StarDust4Ever

#13

StarDust4Ever said:

And just when you think you've seen it all, they release something like this. James, I must know, did you try sitting on the balance board when it told you to "weigh your baby?" It would be amusing to hear how this game responds to the shocking news that your newborn baby is triple digits in the pounds department! :O

Whenever this title makes it's debut appearance on Nintendo's top twenty Wiiware list, then we will know for sure that Wiiware is dead...

timp29

#14

timp29 said:

As a medical student, I would have to say this is an interesting option for mothers post birth and men post prostatectomy.
No one likes incontinence and this is a very novel approach to strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
Of course I have to question the usefulness of this review because really... its effectiveness at strengthening pelvic floor muscles is something outside of the scope of this site :p Not to criticise your work James you pretty much mentioned this point anyway.

Token_Girl

#19

Token_Girl said:

Really good review guys. I know you guys aren't medical specialists, but I'm always impressed with how these "non-game" apps are treated on this site. Very professional and focused on how well the package works (user-friendliness, controls, etc.)

For those who just came on to say "this game sux, haha lame" - Newsflash - it's not a game, and it's not for you. I know Wii Fit is pretty popular with pregnant women, because most of the exercises are low impact and many safe to do even until you're fairly far along in pregnancy. Something like this would be a nice addendum to that. 50% of the population can get pregnant and most of that 50% will at some point. So many people will have to worry about this eventually, and it's not as niche as you might think.

There's been a fair amount of research coming out in the past few years showing how Wii Fit is being used effectively as physical therapy. It would be nice to see more stuff like this developed that people can use in their own home to supplement PT and lower medical costs. I'm not sure if the sub $15 software download model will be profitable enough to put together truly useful PT routines for various conditions/issues.

Starman49843

#22

Starman49843 said:

Very clever James, I caught the Moody Blues reference. (Are You Sitting Comfortably?) I'd wager I'm the only one who did/will.

Sooooooo, what do I win?? lol

Capt_N

#23

Capt_N said:

I'd like to know what a cowboy anteater in the title image has to do w/ anything? hahahahaha, lol, this is immensely amusing. But i do have to agree w/ TokenGirl to a degree ~ these kind of applications for home consoles have merit, & usefulness. Edit: Particularly for shut-ins, & for ppl who can't afford to join a health club, or w/e.

I want to point out randomly that this is not something an Ipad could do, unless the app was made specifically for hands off. The exercising wold require hands-free operation of the application.

Second Edit: I know someone who is going to be attempting to have children soon. This software might get a d/l from them. But by that time, I strongly doubt it.

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