Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Wii Fit U

Damn Wii U, get your shit together. You're drunk. Go home, just go home...

Ahem! Sorry, but the Wii U was getting rowdy again. Why? How about because even in the short life of the PS4 so far, it has already outsold the Wii U's yearly sales. That's harsh. It seems that most casual gamers out there- the kind of buyer who made the Wii a success- don't really get the Wii U. They think it's some kind of add-on for the Wii, basically. They have no idea that it's a completely new system! I can't blame them though as lets be honest, when the Wii U was announced at E3, everyone was scratching their heads about what exactly it was. So right off the bat it wasn't a great start, and now, over a year after release, there seems to be no real must-have games for the Wii U apart from Super Mario Land 3D. Nintendo are hoping to bring in the big bucks with Wii Fit U though.

Back in 2006 Nintendo set the gaming world alight with Wii Sports, a game that really flung the fitness genre into full swing. A year later they followed this with Wii Fit, a game that was strongly focused on working out and improving your health, compared to Wii Sports' mini-games. Now they aim to do the same with Wii Fit U, a sequel to Wii Fit Plus. The Wii U is a great system and brim full of potential, but does Wii U Fit deliver?

Wii Fit U works in conjunction with various Nintendo peripherals to aim to keep the player fit. The first is the Wii Balance Board. This calculates the players weight throughout a gaming session, and adjusts gameplay according to how much weight you wish to lose. The Balance Board is especially vital for the Yoga, balancing and strength training games. Next up is the new Fit Meter, and is a peripheral for the game that you use when not playing Wii Fit U. It records how many steps you've taken during the day, works out how many calories you've burned and can then be loaded onto your Wii Fit U profile. It essentially makes for a more accurate reading of your fitness progression.

Lastly is the Wii U Gamepad, and games that work alongside with it are the only games that, say, the Wii couldn't have achieved. Some of these games are Trampoline Target, Hose Down and Dessert Course. That said, most- if not all- of the games previously available in Wii Fit Plus are available here, so there's a great selection at hand. Also worth noting is that the Gamepad can actually be used as a TV screen, which means that you don't actually need a TV for this title to work. Nifty!

While it all sounds awesome and the games are actually pretty fun, the problem with Wii Fit U is that, well, it's a lot of hassle to just, you know, play the damn thing! It kind of ends up like this: You get yourself ready for a nice workout, wearing sweatpants, socks, etc. Then you set up your Wii U, with or without a TV. Then you sync your Fit Meter up to the Gamepad, though that usually takes forever due to the signals never really working together. Then you load up the game and set up the Balance Board. So in your vicinity you have the Wii U, Balance Board, Gamepad and Fit Meter. If you're clumsy like me at least one of these things has either been kicked across the room by accident, or dropped and shattered into pieces. And that's all before you even start working out. ARRGGHH!

The logistics of it are just bizarre, and makes the fun, easy and approachable mantra of Nintendo’s fitness games just seem like bullshit. This, on top of the frankly questionable nature of if some of the games included here could even be considered working out, sours Wii Fit U, and really prevents it from being a must-have Wii U title. Then again, it'll find a good fan-base out there, but some gamers will find it a little too similar to Wii Fit Plus. But overall Wii Fit U is a competent if hit-and-miss title. While some of it is salvageable, it often ends up stinking like a knee-jerk reaction to bad Wii U sales. I'm betting the pitch went like this: “They liked Wii Fit? Give them more! Quickly, before I end up living in a cardboard box and eating dog food!”, basically.

Remember that game you used to play as a kid, what was it called... oh yeah, enjoying the outside world? Well that's better than this, much better. Sure, the real world may not be as good as 90% of games out there, but given the choice between this and the real thing, I'd choose the real thing. You fail escapism!

Wii Fit U doesn't quite shed the pounds after gorging at Christmas and gets a 5/10.

Denis Murphy

Wii Fit U at CeX

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