(Wii U)

Wii Fit U (Wii U)

Game Review

Wii Fit U Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

Fit for purpose

It’s astonishing just how successful the Wii Fit franchise has been for Nintendo since it first graced our living rooms in 2008. In fact, both Wii Fit and its expanded sequel Wii Fit Plus have each sold more than 20 million copies, which is staggering when you take into account that a good number of those purchases would have included the relatively expensive Balance Board peripheral.

Therefore, it’s not too surprising that Nintendo has opted to build upon the franchise’s immense success and use it to catapult the Wii U towards the mainstream. Of course, the video games market has changed quite drastically since Wii Fit Plus released in 2009, not to mention that the Wii U hasn't had anywhere near the same impact as its predecessor. This new entry is arriving in various forms, too — a download trial is available now from the eShop and can be made permanent with the purchase of a relatively inexpensive Wii Fit Meter, while early December will bring retail options of a disc copy and meter or, for newcomers, a full bundle that includes a Balance Board. Only time will tell if this latest release is capable of helping reverse the Wii U's fortunes, but one thing that can be said for certain is that Wii Fit U is the best Wii Fit game to date.

When compared to its prequels, Wii Fit U feels instantly familiar, yet it’s also far more comprehensive and entertaining than what was on offer previously. It’s fair to say that it does feel more like an expansion pack if you've already played Wii Fit or Wii Fit Plus, although this is mainly because many of the activities have simply been plucked from Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus and added to the line-up. At first glance, therefore, it doesn't seem like there is enough new content to justify a full retail purchase. This also isn't helped by the fact that upon booting it up for the first time, Wii Fit U’s introductory segment is virtually identical to that of its predecessors. However, the benefit of having all your Wii Fit content in one handy, high-definition place is undeniable, and with the exception of a few things the new offering succeeds at injecting a lot more fun and innovation into the franchise.

For example, one of Nintendo’s key focuses this time around has been to make people even more aware of the calories they’re consuming and burning. It’s worth noting that Wii Fit U isn't nearly intensive enough to warrant cancelling your gym membership, but it does have a few activities that will break a sweat. Moreover, the ability to set up in-game routines means you can avoid lots of downtime between activities should you wish. As has always been the case, the franchise as a whole has always been pitched as an accompaniment for more traditional exercise or as a way to just get us more sedentary folk off the sofa and on to our feet.

In this regard, Nintendo has gone one step further with Wii Fit U and released an additional peripheral called a Fit Meter, which is essentially an enhanced pedometer. It interacts directly with the your Wii U system and accurately allows you to gamify your activity outside of the game. While you could manually input your non-game progress in previous Wii Fit games by adding how many calories you’d burned, it was incredibly rudimentary, as it required you to provide an accurate number — and let’s be honest, we all like to fudge the statistics in our favour every now and again. With the Fit Meter, this is no longer an issue, as it automatically measures a number of aspects and then provides an in-depth breakdown of your activity throughout the day.

Outside of the statistics, the Fit Meter’s interaction with the game is unfortunately quite limited. As stated above, you can gamify your real-life steps by using them to complete a virtual tour of a real-life location. However, all this does is simply fill in a line on a map; it would have been far more rewarding if upon reaching milestones you were able to view landmarks in more detail (it could have even borrowed some of the elements from Wii U Panorama View). Despite this, the Fit Meter does at least highlight how active you are on a daily basis, and it’s an accurate tool that motivates you to do more.

The other key difference this time round is, of course, the Wii U GamePad, and it’s surprising how much you actually use it. Of course, one of the main benefits here is off-TV play, and thankfully most exercises are still available to you in this mode. In fact, it’s one of the few games which practically requires the GamePad stand as it enables you to easily follow the instructions when pulling off an awkward yoga or muscle training exercise; we’d strongly advise picking one of these up if you have the 8GB Basic Wii U set. The other reason why having a stand is important is because Wii Fit U features a mirror mode for many of the traditional exercises, in which the GamePad’s camera captures a video feed of yourself which is then displayed on one half of either the TV or GamePad screen. This is especially useful if you’re trying to perfect your technique in yoga, as you can visually compare yourself to the Wii Fit trainer.

Thankfully, this isn’t the only way in which the GamePad adds to the experience; some of the balance and aerobic games also use it to great effect. In Dessert Course, for example, you are a waiter at a fancy party who must serve delicious-looking cakes and desserts to greedy guests standing at their tables; you use the Balance Board to walk, while carefully balancing the GamePad as a serving tray so that the unusually spherical treats don’t fall off. It’s surprisingly tricky, especially when other Miis will happily walk right into you as you’re desperately racing against the clock. Another superb example of GamePad usage is found in Hose Down, a mini-game in which wave after wave of mud-covered Miis charge towards you. Your mission is to gun them down with a vicious blast of H2O, the intensity of which depends on how hard you press down on the balance board when lunging forward. You use the GamePad to aim your shot, while the TV provides a wider overall view of the playing field. It’s a unique and fun challenge that hasn't been done before, although it isn't particularly taxing in terms of exercise.

When it comes to games making the most of what the Wii U has to offer, Wii Fit U is certainly one of the better examples. This isn't just the same experience as before with tacked-on functionality (although some of the previous activities now benefit from improved controls). Instead, Nintendo has clearly devised these activities with the GamePad in mind, while also ensuring that they are in keeping with the game’s theme of being active. Not only that, but there are also some new and inventive activities that don’t require the GamePad at all. Core Luge sees you sitting on the Balance Board and steering your luge down a winding course; it’s no understatement when we say that this activity absolutely goes to town on your abs. Meanwhile, Rowing Regatta successfully mimics an actual rowing machine (albeit in a far less intensive way), while Puzzle Squash takes advantage of Wii MotionPlus to provide an accurate and fast-paced experience. Again, it's not going to replace the gym in terms of pure fitness, but it is without question immensely more fun than your traditional workout.

If there’s one area in which Wii Fit U falls down, however, it’s the new community feature. Here, players can join or create a gym community, yet there’s not really much you can do once you’re in one. All that happens is that the gym’s information page lists a breakdown of what type of activities players within the gym are playing and highlights any players who have recently met their goal. It’s a hugely missed opportunity on Nintendo’s part to create a real social buzz about the game, not to mention that it could have been used to motivate players to play for longer. Including something as simple as the option for gym leaders to set weekly challenges or compete with other gyms wouldn't have required much effort at all, and without these elements joining a gym just seems rather pointless.

Conclusion

Featuring a wealth of new and exciting activities — many of which have been built around the Wii U’s bespoke functionality — Wii Fit U is the best title in the franchise to date. While the exercises it offers still aren't intensive enough to replace traditional exercise, it’s nevertheless an entertaining way for players of all fitness levels and ages to be more active and conscious of the importance of keeping fit. With that said, it’s surprising just how demanding some of the activities can be at times.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Wii Fit U, however, is that it effectively uses the Wii U GamePad to create unique experiences — something which many Wii U games have so far struggled to do. The title features a number of activities that are all the more entertaining for this, and they quite simply couldn't have been done until now. It’s a shame that the community feature is so limited and that your Fit Meter data isn't used to greater effect, but these are relatively minor nuisances when you take into account that Wii Fit U really is just great fun to play.

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User Comments (65)

Miss_Dark

#1

Miss_Dark said:

Definitely buying this even though I already played wii fit plus. It's just one of those few things that actually get me moving. Thx to wii fit I love playing sports :P

rjejr

#3

rjejr said:

I've only played this once and it was hit and miss.

Hit - trampoline jumping, find the Miis

Miss - scuba diving needs better instruction I was so confused, turning on the new obstacale levels is almost impossible

I still need to try that top photo but ski jumping and slalom are still making good use of the balance board, but my wife agrees that even the exercises aren't exercise. She'll do a few of the minigames to entertain our kids but she won't use this instead of her morning exercise routine.

Nice review. Hope people don't go too crazy about a game like this getting an 8, though I'm sure some will.

Nintenjoe64

#4

Nintenjoe64 said:

I bought a fit meter this week. I reckon the luge is worth upgrading for on its own but like @rjejr said, the stuff that's supposed to get you out of breath isn't hard enough. A run, swim, cycle or skipping is better cardio. I use it almost exclusively for press ups, planking and yoga. Will post a body transformation video on NL if the luge gives me a six-pack :)

Phantom_R

#6

Phantom_R said:

If you download the trial version, then you can keep the full game if you just buy the $20 Fit Meter. Even if you won't play it much, that's still a great deal and a small investment for those of us who have an old Balance Board.

Milton_Burle

#7

Milton_Burle said:

Really enjoying it, especially luge and the trampoline. Squash is a massive disappointment though, the timing's all wrong.

jord91

#8

jord91 said:

Im enjpying it puzzle squash is the nuts! Rowings really gd an even the new dances are pretty cool

sinalefa

#12

sinalefa said:

Still not sure about this one, as I would need to buy the whole shebang.

And Super Mario 3D World, and a Link Between Worlds.

EaZy_T

#14

EaZy_T said:

The review is spot on. :)
I never had a Wii or Wii Fit, so I was eagerly awaiting this (it was actually one of the reasons I got a Wii U at launch).

One of the activities is a running event that has you put a wiimote in your pocket (or you can just hold it) and you run in place, it is a good aerobic exercise that can be played off-screen while you watch TV.

rjejr

#15

rjejr said:

@Milton_Burle @Nintenjoe64 - So I need to luge then. (Could have sworn that was the top photo when I last posted). Forgot about squash, also a miss. It's too slow to be squash, they should have made it a balloon.

Anybody try luge standing up yet? I imagine it would be like the Green Goblins hoverboard. Has any company made a cool hoverboard game yet? Maybe a FPS (though I prefer 3rd person) w/ the Wiimote on a hoverboard?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENsI9-iTsd0

XCWarrior

#20

XCWarrior said:

Already got a Wii U fit Meter, had he balance board from previous titles. Liking it so far with all the new additions and online communities.

Emblem

#21

Emblem said:

I tried the trial and ended up buying a black fit meter as me and the GF love it in multi-player mode.
I recommend picking this up, even if you only pull it out once a week for a 2 hour gaming or routine session its well worth it.

Paperluigi

#22

Paperluigi said:

This has become the most played game in the house since I downloaded it. With this, Super Mario 3D land and WiiU Sports club the WiiU should out-sell everything else this christmas.

Marioman64

#24

Marioman64 said:

oddly enough, I think the waiter mini-game best shows what the wii u can do. 1-1 motion that knows what angle you're holding it compared to the tv and precision rotation and control with no jitter. so fluid

WaveyChristmas

#26

WaveyChristmas said:

I've been checking out some of the mini games on 'The Bit block' Via youtube, and the Wii U gamepad is really put to good use here! This shall be my 10nth Wii U game. B-) Oddly enough i still haven't played the other 2 Wii Fit titles for the Wii which i'll probably check out first so i can experience The Wii Fit trilogy the way it was meant to haha.

cyrus_zuo

#29

cyrus_zuo said:

Really like squash and the trampoline.
Review didn't mention there is a ton of new dance activities from Latin to modern.

WaveyChristmas

#30

WaveyChristmas said:

@MadAussieBloke

OH you, I'd rather go the Richard simmons route. Gotta get physical!
Untitled
BTW, the BoxArt for WiiFitU is butt ugly, you'd think by now they'd get it together and plunk a naked reggie in the middle with neon rainbow bunnies hopping & plopping in the background. ;)

RedYoshi999

#32

RedYoshi999 said:

It's much cheaper to just buy a Balance Board on ebay then buy a Fit Meter, and you don't have to wait a month. That's what I did.

Luffy

#33

Luffy said:

ok bought the fit meter! Can't wait to get back into wii fit! So fun!!!

Gnoll

#34

Gnoll said:

I almost peed myself in excitment when I saw that the boat in the scuba minigame was the Gabbiano from Endless Ocean. Gee, I loved that game and its sequel. =D

mch

#35

mch said:

9/10 from me. This game has tons of content!! Yes some of it isn´t new, but it didn´t had to be newly done because it was already good. Now it´s up to you to move your a%?es.

cfgk24

#36

cfgk24 said:

Yes! The Dance Element! Yay! Alos, can't believe this is only £19.99 when you buy a Wii Fit U (WFU - dodgy acronym?) Meter - I got my WFU Meter form the Nintendo.co.uk shop! Brilliant! - no postage, money goes straight to Nintendo instead of 3rd party retailer and the Confirmation Email when you place your Order says 'Okey Dokey!' :)

dumedum

#37

dumedum said:

I disagree with this review. It does not mention the most exciting games, and for some reason it praises the Waterhose game which is horrible. Oh well. The score is right.

Cinaclov

#39

Cinaclov said:

"Wii Fit Meter, while early December will bring retail options of a disc copy and metre"

It's only a slight error, but that second 'metre' had me confused for a good minute or so XD

Dpullam

#40

Dpullam said:

I'd at least like to try the free trial of this game. I'm not sure how much use the full version would get from me though.

heathenmagic

#41

heathenmagic said:

I really like it, going to get the wii fit meter too. Waterhose game is one of the best, nowt wrong with it in my eyes

dumedum

#42

dumedum said:

Water hose, Really? You found it comfortable to control? I thought it was atrocious. Wii Fit U in general is very good though.

Worthy

#43

Worthy said:

Nice review and I agree with it, although you forgot to mention unlockable clothes and the fact the FitMeter counts altitude too (my stairs are 3ft apparently, lol!).

The best part for me is that my Wii Fit favourite, Boxing Aerobics, just got a whole lot better with the addition of a Free Mode (i'm still hoping you can unlock 30 minutes for it).

AJWolfTill

#44

AJWolfTill said:

@sinalefa
Have a look in second hand stores, in the UK used boards are selling for as little as £10 ($15). I'm planning on picking one up.

unrandomsam

#45

unrandomsam said:

It isn't a franchise. (A franchise is where one person owns the IP and licenses it to somebody else who does all the work for hardly any of the profits).

JumpnShootMan

#47

JumpnShootMan said:

Anyone in NA having a hard time getting a Fit Meter? I can't find one at any of my local stores. Best Buy isn't selling it online or in stores, Target isn't either. Not GameStop or WalMart or even Amazon (except for the 3rd party sellers who have it marked up). What gives?

tripunktoj

#48

tripunktoj said:

I really liked being able to see other people in my gym on screen, their stats, costumes, what they do, etc. Granted, it could be better, but its not that limited.

chiptoon

#50

chiptoon said:

I live in a house with noisy wooden floors and share walls with neighbors. I've always worried that playing Wii Fit will be a loud activity that will piss people off, but I've never tried it. Any thoughts? Is it all more balancey than jumpy?

Sean_Aaron

#51

Sean_Aaron said:

@chiptoon it depends on what you do, but you're not supposed to jump on the balance board so I wouldn't worry about it.

I jumped the gun and traded in Wii Fit Plus around the time I got my Wii U thinking this would be a logical launch window title, so it's been a long time, but it's all second nature and since this was a supplement to a morning workout I wasn't out of shape anyway.

I'm quite enjoying it and I'm very pleased that you can now select from the full range of activities for your workout as some of the games are quite good for cardio like the obstacle course which features a lot of (light) running in place and the chicken flight which uses a lot of arm flapping.

I've written too many articles about health professionals using Wii Fit to rehabilitate stroke victims and people who've been off their feet due to infirmity. As someone in their "middle years" something as basic as a daily ten-minute yoga routine has value and if Wii Fit helps you stick with it , then it's worth the money.

Darknyht

#54

Darknyht said:

I downloaded it and already picked up a Wii Fit Meter (pre-ordered through Amazon). What I enjoy most is that it has a trainer mode that works better if memory serves correctly. It now let's you pick the length of time, type of exercise, and intensity of it and then randomly puts together a string on exercises.

I am not sold on the Fit Meter however. It seems to be confused by my nervous energy in a chair, and gives me credit for walking a lot more than I actually do. When I am walking however, it is good.

capitalism

#55

capitalism said:

Actually, Wii Fit U CAN replace traditional exercise. A couple in the UK who actually committed to using the software for more than a month lost a substantial amount of weight by exclusively using the software. Just google "losing weight with Wii Fit" if you want to see other success stories from other people. It's all about your commitment and whether you really want to exercise or not. The reviewer (and some of you on here) should of done more research instead of just writing it off as another video game that can't be used for serious excercise. It's all about how you use it.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2291491/Pete-Michelle-Lakin-use-Nintendo-Wii-Fit-drop-SEVEN-stone.html

Platypus101

#57

Platypus101 said:

@rjejr the title Wii-fit is quite misleading... We all must remember that this is still just a video game. Rjejr, Mrs. Rjejer is right, it's good for the kiddies (I used it for babysitting myself), but as far as REAL exercise, this is not it. The mini games are fun with friends and family though! :) P.S. I was able to get my niece to begin an actual workout plan (this is after two months of Wii Fit with no results).

dumedum

#60

dumedum said:

@Platypus101 disagree. You break a sweat and you burn calories. You do pushups on the thing. You do everything on it. It's definitely Wii Fit if you want to.

billychaos

#61

billychaos said:

I find it so absurd when people say wii fit you is not the same as exercise. Perhaps those people need to revisit a local dictionary for what exercise is. Or perhaps, they never spent more than 10 minutes playing wii fit. Lets take Jack knife lessons on the wii fit, are you seriously saying Jack knifes on wii fit are not the same as doing Jack knifes's? Or push ups, your saying just because you are accompanied by a wii fit board somehow pushups don't count? You must be doing something terrible wrong if you believe this. Those are obvious but even doing wii fit games you are doing exercise. No you are not body-building or weight training, but the exercise in wii fit will qualify as the same strenuous exercise a doctor will recommend if you are actually doing strenuous exercise. Just like any equipment, it's only as good as how you use it. I've heard people saying *a bench press machine is not the same a doing free weight bench press. So what, your still doing bench presses and working out your chest muscles...get real people.

Mainer82

#62

Mainer82 said:

I'm waiting a few more weeks for the physical disc to come out, I haven't downloaded the demo and don't plan to as I know that my wife will enjoy this.

Sockymon

#63

Sockymon said:

I installed the demo, then transferred my Wii Fit Plus data across. Now I get a black screen and a 'System Files Corrupted' error every time I load up Wii mode on my Wii U. Coincidence?

Turbo857

#64

Turbo857 said:

@billychaos
I agree completely.

@rjejr

I don't understand why people keep saying Wii Fit isn't real exercise. Anybody who shares that opinion has obviously not spent enough time with it or is not using the software the way it was intended.

#1 If you never played a Wii Fit game, the exercises start with low reps. The more you do the exercise you'll unlock more reps per exercise and combining them with other exercises can make for an intense work out.

#2 Granted, there are a lot of games in Wii Fit U and some of them are more "intense than others".

Your wife should go to "Personal Trainer" function and select "Intense" and the software will generate exercises based on that preference.

And I beg to grossly disagree with your wife's assessment when Wii Fit U contains exercises that offers 20 reps for One Hand Stand, 20 reps for Lunges, Side Lunges, 30 min Running, 15 min Free Boxing, Core Lunge (advanced), Row Squat (Expert) any exercise in the Dancing category. Virtually any exercise in the Strength category are exercises where you'll break a sweat, unless of course you're doing it wrong.

In closing, this software can totally replace going to gym if you want it to and the reviewer should've spent more time with this before coming to that conclusion.

bronZfonZ

#65

bronZfonZ said:

The problem is that a lot of people discounting Wii Fit are those who either don't change their diet or do the exercises with little effort. Losing inches (not necessarily weight) must be a combination of exercise and good eating habits.

I will say, though, that the BMI is not a great measure of overall fitness, as bodybuilders and muscular athletes will always be measured as overweight in terms of BMI.

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