So I was sick two weeks, and not getting much moving around done, certainly not getting any serious exercise done. This is to be expected when one is sick. The general idea is to rest rather than run one’s self into the ground. But resting for two weeks left me feeling like a big squishy slug. Not a feeling I enjoy.
Still, I couldn’t seem to throw off the lethargy from being sick. Then Wii Fit Plus showed up in my mailbox, and suddenly I had the urge to get up and move.
I’ve been waiting for Wii Fit Plus ever since I found out about it earlier this summer. I pre-ordered my copy at the beginning of the month, eager to try it out, and then waited and waited and stayed in bed sick. I just happened to be in a slow recovery phase when the game arrived, so I decided to try just a few minutes, because you know I’ve been sick and I don’t want to overdo it. 45 minutes later, I was sweating and woozy and addicted to Wii Fit Plus.
Obviously, I enjoy the new game. After having worked with the original Wii Fit since last February, I was getting bored, which is never good for a fitness routine. The preview shots and videos of Wii Fit Plus intrigued me and made me curious to see if Nintendo had done a massive overhaul of the game. There were certain deficiencies in Wii Fit that I desperately wanted to see corrected. Did Nintendo fix these things?
Eh, yes and no. The two biggest changes in Wii Fit Plus are the new Training Plus games and the My Wii Fit Plus category in the training options menu (that’s the menu you go to after you select Training at the main calendar, you know, the one with the piggy bank waiting for you to choose what to work on that session). The Training Plus games are a combination of balance, coordination and brain games with a bit of aerobic workout thrown into some of them. These games are in a separate category from the original Balance games that came with the original Wii Fit (lest you worry, all the original games and exercises are still included in Wii Fit Plus). Among other things, the Training Plus games include Rhythm Kung Fu, juggling, the chicken flying game, a marching parade game, a bicycle game that allows you to determine where you go on the Wii Fit island (I like this one just for the fact that I can finally explore the island on my own!), a snow ball fight, and several others. A few of these games have caused me to sweat a bit, namely the Kung Fu and the bicycle game. Most test the brain, balance and coordination.
As for the yoga and strength categories, those are still the same but with 3 new exercises each. Personally, I would have rather seen at least 5 new exercises in each, but 3 isn’t bad. Nothing has changed in the aerobics category that I can tell.
Then we come to the My Wii Fit Plus category. Selecting this option takes you to a “locker room” where you’re given a variety of menu buttons to choose from, including Wii Fit Plus Routines, My Routines, and Favorites. The Wii Fit Plus Routines are preprogrammed routines that focus on particular areas for you to work on – balance, arms and shoulders, etc. You have to poke around a bit to see what each one really does, since some of the titles don’t really tell you much (there’s an over-indulgence routine that I discovered is supposed to focus on calorie burning, and a Shape routine that looks like it’s supposed to focus on the waist line). None of these routines is more than three exercises/games long, and none lasts longer than 8 minutes. The advantage of these preprogrammed routines is that they do let you get through the exercises faster. Without the routines, you do spend a little extra time selecting individual exercises and going through menu options before actually getting to an exercise. With the routines, you zip from one exercise to the next. That’s a bonus in my opinion because it means a 45 minute workout could actually only take 50 minutes to do as opposed to an hour (those of you who have used the original Wii Fit will know what I’m talking about). Also, the routines allow you to mix things up, going from yoga to games to aerobics and back without having to do a lot of switching around in the menu. Again, this speeds a workout along greatly!
One thing about these routines is that they all seem to select exercises or games at the beginner’s level, as opposed to the advanced level. I haven’t set up any of my own routines yet (something I’m going to try this week) to see if I have the option of using the advanced levels of things like the running, cardio boxing, etc. I’m hoping so.
Other things that have changed in the Wii Fit Plus. Wii Fit Plus now tells you how many calories you burn while working out. I have to admit, they show me burning far fewer calories than I would like. Also, Wii Fit Plus gives you the option of setting a calorie burning goal for each day. Unfortunately, any activities you do outside Wii Fit Plus aren’t counted toward that calorie goal, although when you list them in the Fit Credits menu, they are tallied up there and added to whatever you’ve done in Wii Fit. But during the actual workout, they don’t show up.
One more interesting option, you can now change players while working out. In the yoga, strength, cardio and balance games menus, at the very bottom right corner is an option to switch players. Doesn’t look like you can do this in the My Wii Fit Plus, but if you want to work out with someone, you now have the option of switching back and forth on every exercise. I don’t know yet if this means you can finally have another person’s Mii race with you on the 2-person race. That would be nice, especially since my girls like to race me when I’m working out. But it does mean if I want to spend an evening doing a workout and the kids want to play along, I can let them (though that option has its own hazards).
The whole game has a slightly revamped look. The colors are bolder, the appearances of the personal trainers are a bit different, though both are still rather mannequin like. My biggest question is whether or not the Wii Fit Plus is still as snarky as the original Wii Fit. That’s something I’m sure I won’t find out for a few weeks. When I first started using the Wii Fit, I recall it being very supportive with all its little comments, but then one day when I suddenly put on a few pounds (it was water weight, can’t do a damned thing about it at my age), Wii Fit got all persnickety and demanded I explain why I had suddenly turned into the Fat Lady at the circus. It did not help that the stupid thing didn’t even give me the option of listing “water weight” or “hormones” as one of the reasons why I had packed on 4 lbs over night. I haven’t used Wii Fit Plus long enough to see this come up yet, but if it does, I’m going to be sadly disappointed. No one, and I mean no one, likes to be sniped at for things they can’t control. (BTW, I have noted the Wii Fit Plus does seem to feel the need to get a little snippy if you miss a day for your fit test. That bit of snark has apparently not changed a bit.)
Over all, I like it. I would have liked to have seen more exercises added in the yoga and strength section, especially exercises that targeted the upper body. I also would have liked to have seen new cardio activities added. But the routines are a great idea and I’m looking forward to setting up my own. And I have to admit it, I really like the new games. If I’m not feeling well, I can at least get up and do the games, and while they may not give me a heart pounding workout, they will at least get me moving and that goes a long way toward making me feel better when I’ve been sick a while.