Review: Wii Fit

Wii Review

One month of sweating. One month of pain. One month of balance acts. One month to think about Wii Fit.

Late you say? We know Wii Fit has been on shelves for over a month now, and yes, many other websites have sweated out their reviews and are now getting stuck into the media's next darling. Yet N-Europe are posting their review now? Why? It's simple - because we wanted to explore every single moment Wii Fit offers. (Plus we also wanted to sit and drink Coke and play Mario Kart like the gamers we are!) It's easy to go into something like Wii Fit full of gusto. But what about now? A month later, would Wii Fit still offer all it initially promised?

It's not everyday you get to review a product which has the power to change your perception of videogames. It's not everyday said product launches alongside a new, potentially game-changing peripheral either. We embarked on our Wii Fit expedition and knew we would have to take our sweet little time.

So were did we actually begin? Like everyone else we let Wii Fit set the initial pace. As documented in our initial week of play we were sweating hard just getting to grips with the product.

The Wii Balance Board. For ultra difficulty, try all exercises doing a hand-stand!

As some of you may have noticed, unpacking Wii Fit makes you realise that the balance board is a hefty piece of kit and certainly carries a lot of technology under the hood. The precision of the board is certainly impressive and instantly understands large and subtle shifts in movement. There is literally nothing wrong with the Wii Fit board. It is developed to do exactly what it should. We still hold it close at night, listening to it's whispered future promise as we caress it's technology-laden heart.

In a similar vein to holding a Nintendo controller we were glad the board was perfect. We had secretly hoped that we would forget we were ever standing on a piece of plastic. Rest easy as for the most part this is certainly the case. The only thing which (at times) shatters this illusion is the height of the board. It's only a few centimetres but certainly reminds you that you are off the ground.

In typical Nintendo fashion there is nothing to worry about on the presentation/characterisation front. Simple menus litter Wii Fit with a quirky characterisation of the board helping you get to where you want to go. All of this is backed up with a simple gym "hub" offering all forms of exercise. This brings us to the core work-outs of Wii Fit: Muscle (strength), Aerobic, Balance and Yoga workouts. Yes, Wii Fit hopes to improve all of these aspects of your body. Yet to properly complete in these activities you must initially register, (using your Mii) supplying your height and age and let the board do the rest. It's quirky, fun and informative. And "guests" can even take this 'test'.

The B.M.I. index - not to be taken too seriously.

It's not difficult to put your age, height and (most importantly) weight against a Body Mass Index scale to get an understanding of your expected health. And that is exactly what Wii Fit initially does.

B.M.I is a recognised form of "classifying" body types so when Wii Fit tells you that, at 10 stone and aged 25 you are at the average expected level of weight/health, it's accurate. The problem with measuring BMI is that muscle and fat cannot be differentiated. This can rear it's ugly head when a 30yr old muscle man can be deemed obese. Not a pretty sight. The good thing is that most health professionals know that B.M.I measurements are best used as a guideline. The bad thing is that Joe public doesn't know this - that's why we see puppy fat teenage girls complaining. Nice.


After measuring your body through the BMI scheme, Wii Fit asks you to participate in some simple balance tests. When complete you get a Wii Fit age just like in Wii Sports. N-Europe certainly feels that this is where the "gaming" notion comes into the title. Balancing on one leg or walking on the spot may sound soul destroying yet it does lull you into actively thinking about your posture and weight distribution. The board also tells you where your weight distribution falls which can be handy. Nicely it always backs everything up visually further reinforcing some kind of professionalism.

Balance games further elaborate on the idea of weight distribution 'workouts' with tight-rope walking, skiing, heading footballs, step aerobics etc. And, unsurprisingly these balance games offer the most fun. They do make you think about your balance but what they make you think about more is the high scores. We think that beating these scores is Wii Fit's main form of longevity. (Coupled with a piggy-bank of minutes which unlocks more content.)

The Sun Position - must... touch... toes...

With this hindsight, the meat and potatoes of the title is ironically promoted to be buried within the Yoga, muscle and aerobic workout sections. Offering traditional Yoga workouts such as sun salutations to muscular/aerobic workouts like push ups and jogging, they are realistic from the off. The Yoga exercises reek of Japanese sentimentality and can prove difficult and a little too, dare we say it, girly? As males we found ourselves ignoring the Yoga exercises and focusing on the muscle and aerobic exercises purely because they felt as if they gave us more bang for our buck. We did notice that partners, mothers and sisters did love the Yoga sections - so it's probably just preference.

Surprisingly, just like the balance games, the board visually shows you where your weight is being distributed in both Yoga and muscle workouts. This central visual key is what each workout ends up working around. A red dot is your weight/balance and a larger yellow area is where you must keep your weight/balance. Leave this circle and the trainer (male or female - you decide) will offer feedback relative to where you leave it. It's a nice touch which makes you feel like you're getting a personalised workout. Most importantly it cannot be cheated. You also gain star rankings out of five and points for this. The highscore notion returns with a vengeance and again, this is what kept us plugging away.

Note the red and yellow 'balance' areas.

The truth of the matter is we could wax lyrical about Wii Fit forever and discuss every nuance and the pluses and minuses of each - but in the face of time none of that matters as it all comes down to the individual. We've seen hardcore gamers dally with Wii Fit yet still get it out of the cupboard a month later and we've seen those who salivated for it put it to rest weeks later. The main problem is that due to it's minimalism, Wii Fit can feel like a tech demo. It also doesn't offer a customised workout meaning there are no programmes, no set routines (only recommendations) and that means Wii Fit requires the user to dictate their own workout.

Just like a gym membership which has no personal trainer it will always become an experience which requires sheer grit and determination with that niggling thought in your mind of "is it actually doing what I want it to?"

However, what Wii Fit does offer is recognisable exercises (from push-ups, Yoga and jogging) which simulate their real-life counterparts perfectly. At times Wii Fit is a revelation. A TV workout for the 21st century. High praise indeed. Yet at times it also feels directionless - like you're kidding yourself. And with hindsight, £70 feels a little too much - board or no board. You want to jog? You want to do Yoga? You want to do push-ups? And you want to stat-track it all? You have to ask yourself: Do you really need Wii Fit for this?

With the notion that exercising on TV comes across as both exciting and a let down, it's only in the stats and highscores in which you're left to ponder on long after the initial buzz of using this new entertainment device has waned. With no online setup and a lack of modes to bring real longevity, Wii Fit (and the board) may be worth a chew but it eventually could leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Our scores lie below...

N-Europe Final Verdict

Wii Fit pushes the envelope due to the board peripheral and the notion of healthy gaming, but lacks fat in areas such as longevity – a staple diet of all software, videogame or not. The notion of "you get out what you put in" has never been more apparent.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



It works, providing you stick with it
Nice presentation
Solid, innovative peripheral


Needed more longevity for the price point
At times it feels like a first step
Really needed more content

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