Wii Fit U (Hands-On) (Wii U) Preview

By Adam Riley 15.06.2012 2

Review for Wii Fit U (Hands-On) on Wii U

There have been two Wii Fit games from Nintendo so far, dating back to 2008 when the world was first subjected to Shigeru Miyamoto’s intriguing Balance Board concept. Who would have thought that interest in how Sumo wrestlers have to weigh themselves on two sets of scales could spark an idea to create a device that combined them into one contraption for the purposes of maintaining the perfect balance across both? Its far advanced sequel arrived a year later, and together the two have now sold well over 42 million units with the Balance Board included, plus the many more solus copies that are on the market. Is there room for a third game in late 2012 or early 2013? Cubed3 takes some new events for a trial run in Wii Fit U to find out.

Nintendo decided to show off some of its key new additions in Wii Fit U rather than retreading old exercise routines from the previous games. For anyone hoping to have their favourites included once more, it seems their wish has already been granted with the ability to transfer across old save data to this updated release for use with older yoga and aerobic sessions. There are twenty new fitness activities to be found in the final edition when it arrives on the market sometime within the Wii U launch window (in other words its first four months on sale), and all of them can easily be selected by touching the appropriate icon on the Wii U GamePad’s touch-screen. For the purposes of the recent London Press event, only five were shown off, but they were certainly a fantastic set on the whole.

Games such as Wii Fit and Just Dance are the type that in public places, unless you are one of the hottest movers and shakers, it is probably best to either dodge them entirely, or ensure nobody is watching intently at the time and quickly get the experience over and done with in the swiftest time possible. The main idea is to ditch the Wii Remotes completely and use a combination of the Balance Board and GamePad only, although there were a couple of examples in this pre-release iteration that made no real use of the Wii U’s primary control input, relying solely on the Balance Board. For instance, Trampoline Target, one that seemed the safest bet to try out as a starter for ten.

Screenshot for Wii Fit U (Hands-On) on Wii U

The idea was to place the GamePad on the floor to focus on landing accurately on the targets found on the in-game trampoline, but for this event the TV was used in that capacity, most likely to protect the in-development hardware. Players had to stand on the Balance Board, and leap into the air, stretching as far upwards as possible, including the lifting of arms high for the best effect. Upon reaching the peak of flight, gentle leaning in all directions was required to ensure the Mii character landed on the highest scoring part of the target far below, before crouching and reaching high once more to hit the highest of highs, repeating the process several times before receiving an overall rating. It definitely proved to be a great way to do squats without really realising exercise is taking place, and gaining the right rhythm not only served up some amazing leaps, but worked those leg muscles adequately, whilst helping with posture during the descent process.

Feeling quite proud at beating the record for the day, I waltzed into Dessert Course with an air of confidence, and a certain swagger. This looked like, quite aptly, a piece of cake. Remember the walking and cycling games from previous Wii Fit games? Well, consider this an upgrade of those. Walking is the basis of this one again, but this time the GamePad must be held steadily in your palms as if actually carrying a tray like a waiter. Twisting of the body and moving of the GamePad slightly left or right resulted in a slow turning ark commencing, whilst slower or faster footsteps on the Balance Board increased or decreased the Mii’s pace accordingly. Approaching the corners of the busy room full of hungry Mii characters allowed for the various chefs to provide edible treats for patrons. Upon receipt, an icon representing the foodstuff will appear above the relevant Mii, and they nearly always start flapping their detached arms in the air (like they just don’t care…) to garner even more attention. Delicate cups, round objects, multiple items; the challenge increased each time someone had been served, and the timer continuously counting down involuntarily caused a sense of panic to be instilled and, thus, more mistakes to be incurred. When an item had successfully been delivered, it was then a race back to the corners of the room, which led, more often than not, to the absolutely hilarious scenario of whacking random Mii folk with the tray and getting the dirtiest of looks from them, thus making repeat hits a devilish pleasure…

Screenshot for Wii Fit U (Hands-On) on Wii U

Hosedown was the last of the first round tackled, and another way of toning up whilst fooling the body into thinking all that is happening is a modicum of fun is being had. There were all manner of Miis charging towards the screen, along with mud monsters and carefully placed Mii people hiding in windows, throwing projectiles. In order to beat them back, a large water hose was at the player’s disposal. The catch was that to use it, forward lunges had to be made, with stronger footfalls on the Balance Board resulting in a subsequently stronger burst of liquid shooting out of the nozzle. However, there was another aspect to consider -- the water meter, which depleted rapidly after prolonged usage of the hose. Therefore, the idea was to keep lunging, with either leg or even alternating both, and then stepping back to recharge before defending once more. Directing the actual flow of water was the GamePad, which was held in front with both hands, as if holding onto the edges of the metal handles on either side of the in-game hose, with the scene also visible on the GamePad’s screen. Proceedings became increasingly hectic as more and more Mii characters came charging forth, leading to some highly enjoyable reactionary gaming that also proved to be a decent workout.

After a break to test other games on show at Nintendo’s special post-E3 event in London, passing by Wii Fit U once more, Rowing Crew was spied. Whilst shying away from that and Core Luge initially, after watching someone achieve a moderately good score on the rowing element, the competitive nature kicked in and it was time to grab those oars and start doing some teamwork to win the race. Sitting on the Balance Board with feet positioned comfortably in front and wielding a Wii Remote Plus, the objective was to lean backwards and forwards to imitate a real-life rower, whilst carrying out the natural rowing motion with the controller held sideways in-hand. Each stroke had to be done in time with the rest of the team, and voice prompts were provided to help keep the correct rhythm, picking up the pace considerably for the final sprint. Any initial scepticism about Rowing Crew was washed away instantly, with it revealing itself as being one of the main highlights from what was on offer.

Screenshot for Wii Fit U (Hands-On) on Wii U

Finally there was Core Luge, the most brutal experience, especially for someone who had not eaten all day and was running low on energy due to a long coach journey with little sleep. This is the one that in trailers is made to look very simple indeed, but in all reality was very tough, yet a great workout for the abs. This did not make use of the GamePad, but in the final version the idea is that it can be propped at the right angle and position to clearly see progress along the ice track, rather than having to strain to see the TV whilst lying on the floor. The start involved jiggling back and forth whilst rotating the arms around to gain momentum in the push-off stage, before adopting a flat position with hands gripping the side of the Balance Board, feet outstretched and slightly off the ground, and attempting to lean back and to either side in order to gain the most speed and navigate around tight bends and winding routes until reaching the finish line. The lady showing off the product was stunning, achieving a phenomenal time. As for my personal best, well, best to keep that a secret…

Wii Fit U is already shaping up to be a worthy companion to the first two Wii Fit titles, and although some may bemoan the fact that Nintendo is trying to push the series too much, the company should be commended for not ditching the expensive Balance Board like many suspected it would do after failing to support the Wii Zapper and Wii Speak peripherals properly. Wii Fit U will also come bundled with a handy Fit Meter that allows for all manner of non-game exercise to be logged and then uploaded to the GamePad via the NFC (Near Field Communication) connectivity, meaning that every part of daily life can be monitored by Wii Fit U for the ultimate workout regime.

Screenshot for Wii Fit U (Hands-On) on Wii U

Final Thoughts

It can safely be said that Wii Fit U feels like the natural progression of Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. Although three games in the series may feel like overkill to some, the fact that this Wii U edition is not likely to hit until early 2013 means that Nintendo has resisted doing annual updates like most developers, thus not cashing-in quite as much as some may believe. From the select offerings shown so far, Wii Fit U looks to be the killer app to draw in the fitness crowd after a good old Christmas 2012 binge!

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Fitness

Players

5

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

It's been long enough since Wii Fit+, and I'm this new entry in the series will change things around a bit to make it an easy purchase. Maybe they will even price it at $30-40 for the stand alone game.

Really pleased to see a positive reaction there, EdEN - certainly more open minded than a lot of the forum posts I've seen around the 'net.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and can't wait to try the final product.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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