Review: Physiofun: Pelvic Floor Training (WiiWare)

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.