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Posted by Caitlyn Muncy on Jun 12, 2012

Wii Fit U First Impressions [E3 2012]

When we think of video games that are exercise-centric, it doesn’t exactly paste a smile on our faces. The idea of breaking a sweat should only come from dealing with intense moments in battle. Not standing on what looks like a plastic bathroom scale. Even so, while the Wii Fit U may not have appealed to everyone last week, it does, and will have an audience.

I’m not going to lie, the advertisement for this particular “game” looked absolutely ridiculous. I felt the shame that I knew the makers of that commercial would feel if they read the YouTube comments for it while watching it at the Nintendo press briefing. But! I can attest to the legitimacy of the difficulty of Wii Fit U as I gave several different games from it a try.

The most difficult one of these games for me was the Ice Luge. For every game that you play with the Wii balance Board, you have to step on it so it can calibrate your weight. Once the Luge started, you had to swing your arms in a half circular motion to gain momentum. Although I’m pretty sure I was doing the correct movement, it didn’t seem to want to pick up my movements. After that though, things were sailing pretty smoothly. The only part of you that touches the Balance Board is your rump, and you have to try and lay as flat as possible to gain momentum. Your ability to turn left or right comes from leaning whichever direction you need to go. If your core muscles aren’t very strong, the two and a half to three minute long period of doing this is a nightmare. Even if you hold onto the back of the board, it is quite difficult. As the Balance Board has calibrated for your specific weight, there is absolutely no cheating or fudging it. Super hard, but fun if you enjoy a little muscle strain now and then. This game didn’t utilize the Wii U game pad at all, but judging from the picture below, it will later on.

The next game I tried was a rowing game in which you use the Wiimote to row at intervals. It’s a bit like a rhythm game as you only row when your captain tells you to. Again, no game pad usage here. Either the Wiimote wasn’t very good at picking up my movements, or I was a terrible rower. The movements seem to be very specific, so it may just have been a matter of finding and staying in the groove of things. Not very labor-intensive in my opinion, but if you really got into it and wore arm weights, it could give you a run for your money.

Speaking of running, the last game I tried was about running desserts to customers at some sort of fancy Mii party. This is a cruel thing to do indeed, as this slew of games are supposed to be encouraging you to lose weight, and here you are running root beer floats and cream puffs around. In this game, you had to run in place on the balance board, and hold the Wii U game pad like a tray. If you tilted the game pad too far to one side while running and carrying one of the desserts, it will fall off the side. Walking away from customers also means moving the gamepad vertically so that you don’t thwack a customer as you move by them.

While not all of these games were particularly fun (the rowing game), I can see how they might help their users gain some muscle endurance. You’re not going to get a body like the guy or girl in the commercial below just from playing this, but it is a step in the right direction. Then again, you could not spend the money on the game pad or balance board, and go get a trainer instead. Just a thought.

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