Though I’ve seen Wii Fit plenty of times since it was announced, I never really had the opportunity to try it for myself. At a recent Nintendo event, I finally got the chance, and I quickly learned a couple of things. First, pretending to use a Hula Hoop is at least as ridiculous as actually using a Hula Hoop. Second, don’t pretend to Hula Hoop immediately after eating a big lunch unless you have a death wish. Well, maybe not a death wish. How about a cramp wish?
In case you haven’t heard, Wii Fit is a collection of fitness-styled minigames and routines that all use a new piece of hardware called the Balance Board. It’s a rectangular, scale-like device that you step on. When you’re up on it, you lean around in different directions to interact with most of the activities, though you’ll also do push-ups, execute yoga positions with one foot on the board, and so on. It looks to have a real versatility to it.
The Hula Hoop routine has you spin your hips like a lunatic, occasionally stopping and leaning to catch additional hoops that are thrown at your on-screen dude. The yoga routines are hosted by a creepy virtual woman who says enticing things like “let’s do the warrior pose together.” There’s also a slalom skiing mode, where you lean forward to go faster, and lean back and forth to steer. While leaning around on a plastic box might sound kind of lame, the Balance Board is surprisingly sensitive, requiring more finesse than I initially expected.
All of these exercises are wrapped up by a series of charts that map your weight, your body mass index, and leaderboards that tell you what your best performance in each minigame is. While I’m not sure if it’ll serve as a terrific workout device on its own, it certainly strikes me as a fun way to stay (or get) active on a regular basis, and I’ll probably put in some regular time with it when it’s finally released. Wii Fit ships on May 19 and will come packed with a Balance Board for $89.99.