Wii Fit Plus review: Nintendo gives you a run for your money

The evenings are blustery and dark and the last thing you want to do is head outside for a jog. With this in mind, Nintendo has launched the latest addition to their virtual gaming empire - the Wii Fit Plus.

The next generation gaming console encourages players to get active by playing motion-based games and toning exercises in their living rooms. It promises to improve everything from your core strength to your athletic ability and coordination.

Enlarge   obstacle course

Against the clock: The Wii Fit Plus has a new section featuring games that improve 'mind and body coordination', like this obstacle course

Gym bunnies may be reassured that the Wii Fit Plus is the first computer game to be endorsed by the Department of Health. 

They may not be as impressed with the price, as the £90 Wii Fit Plus on top of the £180 Nintendo Wii console is equivalent to half a year's gym membership.

We decided to test it out to see if it is worth the money...

How does Wii Fit Plus work?

Like the original Wii Fit, the kit includes a balance board to stand on and a Wii remote and nunchuck to wave around during play.

To start with the balancing board takes all sorts of measurements, from your BMI (Body Mass Index) to your balancing ability. This data can be kept private from nosy friends and family with a password. 

You are encouraged to set a goal, such as to lose a stone over two months. After you have designed a Mii - a virtual you that mirrors your actions on the screen – you are all set to start.

There are four main categories to choose games from including Balance Games, Aerobic Exercises, Yoga and Muscle Workouts. There is also a new ‘Training Plus’ area that promotes ‘mind and body coordination.’

The Wii Fit keeps track of how long you have spent exercising and how many calories you burn in the process.

Enlarge   Wii Fit Plus

The Wii Fit Plus has a new area where users can created customised exercise routines

The good?

It improves your mood - We found firm favourites in the Training + area including the obstacle course, cycling and rhythm parade. It was impossible to jump around the living room, waving our arms around without cracking a smile.
 
It adapts to suit you - You can create customised routines guided by a virtual personal trainer. The Wii also keeps track of your activity and breaks it down into relevant graphs.
 
It is motivational - There are dozens of different games to keep you interested, and as you play you unlock more advanced levels

Enlarge   Wii Fit

Wii Fit Plus contains a number of games such as cycling, that raises the heart rate. The game has even been endorsed by the Department of Health

The bad?

It can grate on the nerves - The background 'elevator music' quickly irritates - especially the mournful piano music when you fail in a game.

It can be counterproductive - The Wii Fit Plus lets you compare your calorie total to equivalent foods. We were disheartened to find out that 40 minutes of jumping around had only burned off the calories in a plain waffle or an avocado. 

It does not prepare you properly - A number of strong yoga poses and stretches are featured but the game doesn’t provide clear warm-up exercises. It is easy to pull a muscle, which we found to our cost when attempting lunges.

Verdict:

The Wii Fit was one of the best-selling video games last year, and the Wii Fit Plus will no doubt win new fans with its new customised training area and games. Although on the pricey side the console offers a good way of getting fit indoors if leaving the living room seems too much of a trial!

Plus existing Wii Fit owners can update to the Plus version for £17 with a special solus disk.

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