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Wii Fit

The best and worst games of the week - Xbox One is here!

Nov 23 // Wesley Ruscher
Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4 [reviewed], PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)Developer: Ghost GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: November 15, 2013 for PS4, November 19 for Xbox 360,  PS3 Even with the balance issues and design missteps, Need for Speed: Rivals is a blast. Literally. Plowing into cops to watch them explode off the side of the road as you zip by is never not fun. So is blasting them with EMP to watch them flip in the air. And through AllDrive's connectivity, I loved being able to race up alongside someone and mash L1 to instantly challenge them to a head-to-head showdown. Ramping jumps, drift contests, dodging speed traps -- it's all a blast. There's simply too much fun to be had here to get hung up on the gripes. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review Crimson Dragon (Xbox One)Developer: Grounding, Inc. / Land Ho! Co. Ltd.Publisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Crimson Dragon was a pleasant surprise. As a massive fan of the Panzer series, I was worried that this wouldn't quite honor it, but there's plenty here for gamers who have been longing for an entry since 2003's Orta. There are some mechanical problems, but any old-school rail shooter fan will be able to handle them. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Crimson Dragon review Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Capcom VancouverPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Although it sacrifices a tad of its loveable camp factor and neon style in favor of a few other advancements, the outcome is a much stronger, more involved Dead Rising game. For once, I actually felt overwhelmed in a zombie outbreak, which is a real example of how next-gen technology can be used to do more than simply "make things look better." Out of all the launch titles I've played on both new consoles, Dead Rising 3 is my personal favorite, bar none. Verdict: 9/10 Read the full Dead Rising 3 review LocoCycle (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Twisted Pixel GamesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 LocoCycle tries a lot of new things thematically, while simultaneously paying homage to classic arcade racing shooters. It doesn't succeed in everything it sets out to do, but if you're looking for a decent arcade shooter to toy around with on your new Xbox One, LocoCycle is it. For everyone else, you'll have to wait until it hits the Xbox 360. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full LocoCycle review Legends of Aethereus (PC, Mac, Linux)Developer: Three GatesPublisher: Three GatesReleased: September 27, 2013MSRP: $29.99 Legends of Aethereus is flawed, but not to the point of being offensive or terrible. While the setting is interesting, the weak combat and poor level design make it hard to recommend. You can experience everything the game has to offer in a couple of hours, and for an RPG that's never a good thing. Verdict: 3/10 Read the full Legends of Aethereus review Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD TokyoPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 There was a moment where I was taking in the beautiful soundtrack, hovering over a tricky jump as cat Peach, and watching the glistening water below where the game really came together. It was then that I realized that Super Mario 3D World had achieved a level of platforming design that's close to perfection, and there was almost never a moment where I didn't have a smile on my face. This is the unequivocally the best Mario game since Galaxy 2, and it shows up anything the "New" series has ever done, and then some. Verdict: 10/10 Read the full Super Mario 3D World review Tearaway (Vita)Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Everything just works so well in unison. The soundtrack is delightful and odd, at times reminiscent of Paprika’s parade fanfare with its lively horns. The world, put together in paper scraps, is unbelievable in its artistry and function. Tearaway’s paper water and ripples as you walk through it are more impressive than any realistic water graphics I’ve ever seen. The level of unique detail in the world is staggering. Every moment spent immersed in it is heartwarming. Fittingly, it feels positively handcrafted. Verdict: 10/10 Read the full Tearaway review Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)Developer: Turn 10Publisher: MicrosoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013 ...At the end of the day, the racing is what matters. And with this game, the racing is fantastic, and Turn 10 is really onto something with this Drivatar stuff. It alone gives Forza Motorsport 5 something over every other racer out there, pushing the genre forward. They've remedied the racing genre's biggest problem: scripted AI cars. For this, Turn 10 deserves high praise.  Verdict: 9/10 Read the full Forza Motorsport 5 review AquaPazza: Aqua Plus Dream Match (PS3)Developer: ExamuPublisher: AtlusRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $29.99 I guess good things do come to those who wait. AquaPazza is a charming little fighter that should highly appeal to anime fans and the most hardcore of fighting denizens. Beautiful visuals, catchy music, and a fighting system that perfectly culminates everything Examu has done up to this point. It’s a strong technical fighter that exudes fun and gives me some old-school Waku Waku 7 vibes with its eclectic cast. Verdict: 8.5/10 Read the full AquaPazza: Aqua Plus Dream Match review Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)Developer: Zoë ModePublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 ...Powerstar Golf isn't particularly special, but it'll win over the hearts of golf fans for sure. If all you're looking to do is whack a ball down a course on a next-gen system with the occasional bit of positive reinforcement, Powerstar is your huckleberry. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Powerstar Golf review Wii Fit U (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 5, GanbarionPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 1, 2013MSRP: Free for one month ($19.99 for full game with Fit Meter) ...Wii Fit U's mini-games are fun, but still suffer from being single-player/non-simultaneous multiplayer and there just isn't that much new stuff. If you're looking for something that will keep you motivated and get you moving, it could definitely work and the Fit Meter is an extra level of motivation, but if Wii Fit didn't do it before then I'm not sure it will work for you now. The good part is that the game is free until the end of the month so you can find out for yourself. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Wii Fit U review Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)Developer: CrytekPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 ...Ryse looks great and has a lot of great ideas, but it falls flat in nearly every respect in regards to its core story. If you're a hardcore action fan you may get some satisfaction on the highest difficulty setting, but even then I'd wait for an equally hardcore price drop. Verdict: 5/10 Read the full Ryse: Son of Rome review Super Motherload (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: XGen StudiosPublisher: XGen StudiosRelease Date: November 15, 2013 (PS4) / November 26 (PS3) / 2014 (PC)MSRP: $14.99 Super Motherload is simple enough so that anyone can pick it up and play, but complex enough for mining veterans to keep coming back to fully upgrade characters or even risk playing in hardcore mode. The sci-fi ’80s vibe is delightful and the perfect setting for this ridiculously addicting game. I find myself coming back to it at the end of every day, ready for a new adventure underground. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Super Motherload review Foul Play (PC [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: MediatonicPublisher: Devolver DigitalRelease Date: September 18, 2013MSRP: $14.99 Foul Play isn't necessarily a bad game, it just doesn't do anything to prove otherwise. It is a by-the-numbers game with a brilliant aesthetic, which in the end is just a by-the-numbers videogame. It's too long for its own good, which only highlights the mediocrity even more as the same enemy behaviors are encountered for hours. The lack of depth hurts Foul Play the most, and it's really a shame considering how brilliant the aesthetic is. I wanted to run around the stage, but playing the game made me exit stage left. Verdict: 5.5/10 Read the full Foul Play review Zoo Tycoon (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Frontier DevelopmentsPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Zoo Tycoon has a distinct lack of depth, but if you're capable of sitting down with this simplistic simulator, you'll smile more times than you can count. The simulator fan in me was a bit disappointed by the ease of it all, but the child in me couldn't help but enjoy myself. Verdict: 7.5/10 Read the full Zoo Tycoon review Killer Instinct (Xbox One)Developer: Double Helix GamesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: Free ($4.99 per character, $20 Season Pass, $40 Ultra Edition) Killer Instinct may not be the new king of fighting games, and it feels a bit rushed in terms of content, but it is very solid and far exceeds my expectations for it. With a pricing scheme that doesn't feel exploitative and a balanced character roster, the well developed mechanics will keep you busy until the new content drops next year. It'll be interesting to see what the community at large thinks of it over time, but in my living room, it's a welcome addition to my fighting game roster. Verdict: 7.5/10 Read the full Killer Instinct review The Shivah - Kosher Edition [PC]Developer: Wadjet Eye GamesPublisher: Wadjet Eye GamesRelease Date: November 21, 2013MRSP: $4.99/£3.99  Whilst the graphics are up to the same standard of previous titles from Wadjet Eye, they're a big improvement over the 2006 edition. The Shivah will run in a low-res window, so it's not going to look great on a big monitor but will look just fine on a laptop. The new music score is low-key, melancholic, and fits the mood of the game and there's a nice treat post-credits where you can listen to some out-takes from the recording sessions. ...Despite its short length, The Shivah is worth playing for its story and to see how far adventure games have come in the last few years. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full The Shivah review Company of Heroes 2: Victory at Stalingrad (PC)Developer: Relic EntertainmentPublisher: SEGA EntertainmentRelease Date: November 12, 2013MSRP: $9.99 It will take you about three to six hours to play through all of the content once, and it will probably take you a few tries to complete some of the challenges. Each battle also has quite a bit of replay value -- you could easily add another 20 to 30 hours of life to Company of Heroes 2with this DLC. No matter how you slice it, that's worth the price tag. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Company of Heroes 2: Victory at Stalingrad review
Reviews!!! photo
Review Round-up: Week ending 11/23
After last week's PlayStation 4 review domination, Microsoft finally got it's chance to strut its stuff with the Xbox One. Forza Motorsports 5, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, Ryse, and a handful of other excl...

Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 3

Nov 23 // Dale North
The plot thickens. My waistline thickens. As you can see, I already gained weight this week. A lot. I blame Microsoft and Sony for making me sit at a desk for 12 or more hours a day for a week or two. I like the PS4 and the Xbox One, but I don't like what it did to my health and stress level. I didn't sleep much most nights, and I ate a lot of junk while working, including cookies, pie, and ramen. I know I'll never get sympathy for having to play a lot of great new games for a living, but I still want to say that last week was hell on me, and my health clearly suffered.  Wii Fit U Weekly Weigh-in Week 3: Weight: 157.9 lbs (up 3.4 lbs!) BMI: 22.60 (ugh) Goal: BMI of 22 -- FAILED!  Since I failed that goal, I set another two-week one, this time picking a weight goal over a BMI goal. I want to get a couple of pounds off in two weeks. We all know that's not happening with Thanksgiving coming, but it'll be fun to see me fail at least. Today I did a couple more of the dance routines to make up for eating cake pops for breakfast. The hula one is adorable, though I only burned about 4 calories through its hip swaying. The jazz one gets you moving, but the moves are so dorky that I feel weird doing them. I love the Nintendo-branded drum kit! Time to hit the walking trails again to make up for being stuck in the office all last week. It's probably a good idea with turkey day coming up.
Before the fattening
[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.] Read Week 1's weigh-in here. If this Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in accomplishes only one thing, I want it to be a clear measure of just how much weight I'll gain Thanksgiving week. It's going to be gross, folks.

Review: Wii Fit U

Nov 20 // Matthew Razak
Wii Fit U (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 5, GanbarionPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 1, 2013MSRP: Free for one month ($19.99 for full game with Fit Meter) Things are much improved from the previous Wii Fit iterations with more workouts, a dance mode, a personal trainer mode, improved games, more focus on mental fitness, GamePad incorporation, and the Fit Meter. That final object might come as a bit of a surprise to some who haven't been keeping track of Wii Fit U (or Dale's weekly updates), but the game incorporates a little doodad that tracks your daily movement like a Nike Fuel Band or a Jawbone Up. This alone is a sign at how much Nintendo was actually trying to push Wii Fit into a legitimate healthy lifestyle platform, but it definitely isn't the only sign considering just how much more robust Wii Fit U is.  Of course, being more robust than something that could be used to define a lack of robustness doesn't actually make you truly robust so let's start with what's lacking: there aren't many new yoga or strength training exercises. Almost every one of these exercises is from the previous games so there will be very little shake up in your workout in that department. Thankfully, you can transfer your data from Wii Fit and thus not have to be locked into redoing all the beginner level stuff. For some reason it does occasionally make you go back through the workout explanation, but everything is skipable so it's never a pain. It will be familiar though. Other than a slight redesign to the trainers and the admittedly helpful highlight of targeted body parts almost all of the voice work and actions are exactly the same. Nintendo did almost no advancement in these sections. That's probably because they were advancing almost every other part of the game. The most welcome addition if you're using the game for exercise or stretching is the Personal Trainer mode. Probably the biggest gap in the previous games was that they gave you a bunch of exercises and mini-games and then just basically told you to figure it out for yourself. Plus featured some structured exercise, but not much. Personal Trainer changes this, allowing you to choose the amount of calories you want to burn or the length of your exercise. Then, using the types of workouts you've told it you want, the system will put together a routine for you. The routines are always unique (or have been so far) and give you plenty of variety.   [embed]265341:51480:0[/embed] Then there's the Fit Meter. This circular gadget clips onto your waist band and is really nothing more than a pedometer and altimeter. For 20 bucks, it isn't a very good one at that. You can easily fake it out by shaking the device back and forth to garner more steps and the altimeter seemed wonky at best. However, if you don't already have a nicer pedometer it will do the trick and even if it isn't the most accurate altimeter it is cool to see how far you've moved up and down. The data your Fit Meter collects can be imported to Wii Fit U and then your calories burned are tracked and you can see your activity graphed pretty nicely. More importantly, though, you can use your steps and gained height to unlock things! Of course, as gamers, we all have the uncontrollable urge to unlock everything ever so it's a solid motivation to get moving or at least shake your Fit Meter back and forth quickly (cheater). You unlock these things through the Fit Meter Challenge, which has you walking famous distances (the Great Wall of China) and climbing famous objects (the Statue of Liberty) with the stats you import. Sadly, all you get to see are some crappy world map graphics as you do this despite the fact that Wii U has a really fantastic Google Maps built in that could have made the walks actually something interesting to do other than seeing your Mii hop around a map. But maybe you aren't buying Wii Fit U for fitness. Maybe you're buying it to play games. Well, that's kind of dumb, but we'll run with it. There just aren't that many new mini-games this time around if you exclude the dancing portion. Notable letdowns are the rowing game, which as a rower, I can tell you officially sucks, and the luge game, which has you sitting the board and hurting your back and abs trying to steer. Highlights include a racquetball game that involves both movement and strategy and the surprisingly addicting trampoline game where all you do is time ever-higher jumps and lean back and forth to make sure you hit the center of the target. Seriously, it sounds idiotic, but you'll just keep on doing it until you actually jump off the board in excitement of landing your Mii dead center and the game kicks you out (that board is damn sensitive).  The online aspects of Wii Fit U should also be mentioned even though their robustness is, well, it's on level with most of Nitnendo's online offerings. You can join Gyms, which are groups of Wii Fit U users. Doing this populates your screen with Miis in that group and you can check out their stats while also seeing the group's overall stats. You can also join one of the big national gyms or, if you have friends, create one of your own. It's possible to share every single detail of your workout on Miiverse pretty easily as well, which is actually a nice feature if you want to brag a bit.  Since it is such a big new part of the game, the dancing modes should be mentioned, but they are almost relentlessly worthless to anyone who has played any other dance game on any other platform. While they do get more challenging as you unlock higher modes there's no licensed music, no dance moves you'll recognize, and very little in actual enjoyment or fitness to get out of them. At the sake of full disclosure I will admit to being a rhythm-less white nerd, but I've enjoyed other dancing games despite sucking at them completely so I can safely say it wasn't just my lack of ability to find a beat. On top of this, if you want to fully use the dance mode you'll need to have four controllers at the ready (Balance Board, 2 Wiimotes, GamePad). That's eight AA batteries! So a major addition to the game just isn't that good, but it's OK because that really isn't the star of Wii Fit U. The new exercises, mini-games, and Fit Meter aren't either. The best thing about the game is its simplest new feature: the fact that you can do almost everything while watching TV. Sure, this is easily achievable with a tablet, an app, and your television, but then you're cutting out the motion controls and balance board that make videogame fitness a different beast from an app. You can also use the GamePad as a camera in mirror mode. With this you set it up in its stand pointing at you and then you can see yourself (embarrassingly) on TV. While you might realize just how much of an idiot you look like it's particularly helpful for knowing if you're keeping your form correct. In fact you could probably say that for almost every aspect of Wii Fit U Plus. There's almost always a better product out there that does one element of what this can do in a far superior manner, but nothing else that has the whole package. Considering that right now you can download the game for free and simply buy the Wii Fit U Fit Meter for $19.99, it's a pretty cheap package at that. Buying all the separate, but better, items that would do what Wii Fit U does would definitely start to run you up into hundreds of dollars. Applying a score here is a little tough. If Wii Fit U gets you motivated, moving, and helps you lose weight then it's easily a 10 out of 10. That's the goal and if it works then it works. As the next game in the franchise, Wii Fit U definitely moves the series forward about a million steps, but it's a million steps that have already been taken elsewhere. Wii Fit U brings the series up to date as a fitness game, but doesn't push it any further. Meanwhile Wii Fit U's mini-games are fun, but still suffer from being single-player/non-simultaneous multiplayer and there just isn't that much new stuff. If you're looking for something that will keep you motivated and get you moving, it could definitely work and the Fit Meter is an extra level of motivation, but if Wii Fit didn't do it before then I'm not sure it will work for you now. The good part is that the game is free until the end of the month so you can find out for yourself. 
Wii Fit U review photo
Moving forward one step at a time
When Wii Fit launched, it kicked off the fitness craze in gaming for better or worse. Soon the Nintendo innovation (much like many of its other innovations) was being duplicated and improved upon everywhere. As motion co...

Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 2

Nov 16 // Dale North
This week's weigh-in will show the usefulness of the Wii Fit U program when for times when you can't perform a daily body check. Being out of town, I only had my Wii Fit Meter with me. I hoped that all of the running around to cover these next-gen launches would burn some calories, but as I've found tracking steps at other conventions, you don't end up walking nearly as much as you think you do. It's just that your feet hurt. What's neat is that the Wii Fit Meter has enough memory to hold multiple days of tracked data. When I returned home on Friday, I just had to sync to send over the week's walking numbers. Nice! To make up for the lack of exercise, and as a sort of break, I took Wednesday off to do three of the things I love doing most: walking, shopping, and eating. Though the cold wind pushed back, I kept on, hitting all of my favorite places in NYC that day. At the end of the day, my Wii Fit Meter said that I walked about 9.5 miles. I took that as an excuse to order a huge rice bowl for dinner. Speaking of New York and walking, I really like Wii Fit U's walking challenges. They use the step data from the Wii Fit Meter to simulate walking courses from all over the world. I've conquered the New York walk, and have done about a third of the Chicago one. I like that you're given little travel tips and trivia blurbs when you reach checkpoints on the map. Wii Fit U Weekly Weigh-in Week 2: Weight: 154.5 lbs (down 2.3 lbs) BMI: 22.12 (down just a bit) Goal: BMI of 22 -- getting there! I lost weight? How? I ate so many hamburgers last week. One evening I drank myself into oblivion, and then passed out for much of the next day, missing one important work appointment. I'm the worst! Even with all of that walking, after weighing in later in the week, Wii Fit U says it's going to be hard to hit my goal with how little I'm moving. It asked if I'd like to try to increase the number of daily calories burned to help try to meet my goal. When I said yes, Wii Fit U told me that the required number would be over 2,000 calories a day. The software told me that this would be pretty difficult. The charts show that I'm not even close.  So I'm going to hit it hard next week, getting back into Wii Fit U routines. I still want to try flamenco dancing! See you next week.  
Walk it off
[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.] Read Week 1's weigh-in here. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I'm always on the quest for ...

Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 1

Nov 09 // Dale North
Wii Fit U is available now as a free download from the Nintendo eShop. You're free to try it out for a month, and the purchase and syncing of Nintendo's Wii Fit Meter ($19.99) lets you keep the game forever.  The Wii Fit Meter is a pedometer that has the ability to synch with the Wii U, sending along your daily step count, elevation climbed, and an estimate of the calories burned. This small, smooth device clips on your belt or waistband, and its little screen can display all of the data it tracks. It also shows a cute pixel version of your Mii's face. It nicely ties in with Wii Fit U's Body Check evaluation system. All of its data is included with a Balance Board weigh-in and then tracked in Wii Fit U. This is the data I'm willing to share in my weekly weigh-ins. Wii Fit U Weekly Weigh-in Week 1: Weight: 156.8 lbs  BMI: 22.44 -- Wii Fit U calls this 'normal.' Thanks? Goal: BMI of 22 -- Wii Fit U said that I am healthy and asked me what I wanted to do. I didn't know. So it suggested that I shoot for an even 22 BMI, working to shave off the little more than a half a point I have above that in the next month, which comes out to about 3.9 lbs. I think I can do it.   I'm just getting the hang of this thing after using it for three or four days. In initial tests, Wii Fit U says that my balance is terrible. I found out the hard way going through the game's Yoga exercise routines. Seeing the charts and graphs that display my balance, I think of seismic readouts after a large tremor. They're never not funny to me. I like the soft, calming voice of the in-game Yoga instructor, but I think I hear a sneer in her prompts to stop shaking. She keeps telling me that I'm not great in the nicest way.  I checked my home for hidden cameras before jumping into Wii Fit U's Hop Hop dancing exercise routine. I'm really glad that no one saw my moves on the evening I first tried, though I'm not ashamed of the sweat I broke. Both the hip hop and pop-and-lock routines were pretty fun, and the visuals are adorable. The music wouldn't top any charts, but it's still fun and catchy. The dance routines use the Balance Board along with two Wii Remote Plus controllers to track your steps.  I'm not the best at any kind of exercise. I think it's a coordination thing. Because the routines are fun, I'm willing to try more over the next week. I hear there's flamenco dancing -- I'll definitely be checking for hidden cameras before trying that one. I'll be honest and say that I don't regularly exercise outside of walking. I really love walking,  usually putting in 3 to 5 miles a day. The Fit Meter is a perfect companion for me, then. I've been too busy lately, working hard on putting together our coverage of the next-gen system launches. But I aim to put the Fit Meter to good use this next week. I'll report back next Saturday.
In worse shape than I thought
[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.] This year, being the biggest console launch year in a decade, has been really busy for me. I normall...


Half a million people still play Wii Fit daily in Japan

Maybe that's why... nevermind
Oct 31
// Dale North
During their financial briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that, according to their research, that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are still playing either Wii Fit or Wii Fit Plus. They're hoping the tren...
Wii Fit U photo
Wii Fit U

Wii Fit U will come with a free trial month

You can buy a Fit Meter for $20 to keep it after that
Sep 18
// Chris Carter
Well this is certainly interesting. Remember Wii Fit U? Well Nintendo just announced that beginning November 1st, you'll be able to download the game for free, with a one month trial in tow. After the trial period you can buy...
Wii Fit Trainer photo
Wii Fit Trainer

Japanese artists think Wii Fit Trainer is smokin'

Gotta love that bleached Michael Jackson skin
Jun 19
// Tony Ponce
The fourth Smash Bros. was only announced last week, but fans the world over have already contributed a wealth of art based on the three new characters. However, Japanese art community pixiv has taken a particularly big shine...

Wii Fit U to include 77 training events, coming 2013

Dec 05
// Dale North
If you're growing impatient over the release of fitness game Wii Fit U, know that it's still on track for a 2013 release. Satoru Iwata gave the game a quick blurb in this morning's Nintendo Direct presentation to let us ...

E3: Wii Fit U and Holmes' best Lara Croft impression

Jun 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Rest assured, dear reader, that Lara Croft isn't the only one grunting and moaning at E3 this year. Jonathan Holmes got his hands (bum?) on Wii Fit U at the Nintendo booth and made a variety of interesting sounds as he worke...

E3: Well, THIS guy liked Nintendo's press conference

Jun 05
// Jim Sterling
Now why can't you guys be more like Smirky McAbs here? He's having a lovely time!

E3: Nintendo announces Wii Fit U

Jun 05
// Brett Zeidler
Reggie Fils-Aime announced Wii Fit U at Nintendo's E3 press conference today. The best part is he introduced it by acknowledging the classic Reggie meme saying, "Five years ago, my body was ready." Amazing. It wasn't clear if...

Study: Wii doesn't make fat kids not fat

Feb 27
// Liam Fisher
Nintendo's Wii and the motion control trend that followed gave seemed like the game industry's answer to inactive youth. As games have grown in popularity, kids have spent less and less time outside and, logically, "active" g...

Black Wii Fit board: Nintendo used all the white plastic

Sep 26
// Dale North
Why make a black Wii Fit balance board? Because people want color options on the devices they'll stomp and slide their grimy, nasty feet on.  There's a new bundle coming for the holiday for Wii Fit Plus, of course. Why w...

Nintendo shareholder hates games, says stupid things

Jun 30
// Jim Sterling
A Nintendo shareholder recently declared videogames a waste of time and reprimanded president Satoru Iwata for not giving Wii Fit to Tohoku earthquake victims.  "I’m concerned about the falling stock price. I ...

Wii Fit and DDR might wind up in Naval boot camp

May 26
// Conrad Zimmerman
The times, they are a'changin. It seems that the youth of America are getting too fat to join the armed forces. Our sedentary lifestyles have made us ill-prepared for military training and injuries during boot camp are on the...

Wii Rowing device is all sorts of magically dumb

May 19
// Ben Perlee
// // Look, I think we all get it. There is a good chance that gamers, more than the general population, is made up of fatties. And you know what? C'est la vie! I say if anyone wants to lose some weight or become healt...

Woman falls off Wii Fit board, becomes a sex addict

Apr 14
// Jim Sterling
Wait, what? A woman from Manchester is blaming Wii Fit for turning her into a sex addict. 24-year-old Amanda Flowers fell off her balance board while playing Nintendo's blockbuster placebo and claims that the stumble somehow ...

Are the Bit.Trip guys suing the hell out of Anthony?

Mar 08
// Jonathan Holmes
I probably shouldn't be writing this, as it may not be good for my friend and coworker Anthony Burch, but he's on his way to GDC and I can't get a hold of him. There is the chance that posting this will somehow negatively eff...

Review: Wii Fit Plus

Oct 19 // Jonathan Holmes
Wii Fit Plus (Wii)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: October 4, 2009MSRP: $19.99 (disc only) / $99.99 (with balance board)Wii Fit Plus is a fairly mixed bag of games -- some are much bigger, and some are much smaller, than others. Some seem totally fresh, others come off like refined versions of those found in the original Wii Fit, and some seem like they were intended to be a part of Wii Sports Resort, but for some reason were cut. Actually, a lot of the games here take place on Wuhu Island, the home of all the events of Wii Sports Resort. It's probably the weirdest mix of games in any of the "Wii" collections. Let's start with one of my favorites. Bird's-Eye Bulls-EyeUnlike what you may have read, this game doesn't involve the Wii Remote at all; all inputs are through the balance board. In the game, you command a Mii wearing a remarkable flying chicken suit. You're tasked with flying around the southern coast of Wuhu Island and hitting targets along the way while taking care not to fall in the water. Flap your arms to fly, lean in the direction you want to fly towards, and hit the (sometimes moving) targets; that's it.  This is the probably the most interesting application of the balance board that I've experienced yet. The game totally immerses the player (sorry, Megastryke) in the act of becoming a real-life chicken man. It's also got that "easy to learn, tough to master" thing going for it. Finally, you burn a lot of calories with this, so if you are looking to lose some weight, this is one of the best games here. Island CyclingThis is how cycling should have been done in Wii Sports Resort. It's pretty much perfect. You pedal by stepping up and down, either by lifting your feet fully off the balance board, or just your heels, in an alternating pattern. To steer, you hold the Wii Remote Mario Kart Wii-style. It feels quite natural, and it'll only be seconds before you forget you're playing a game and feel like you're really cycling. The only problem is, there isn't that much to do. The game measures the distance that you cycle as you cruise around downtown Wuhu Island, hitting flags placed throughout the area until you've touched them all, and are asked to head back to the finish line. You'll get better rewards for making the trip while covering as little distance as possible. I wish the race mode from Wii Sports Resort cycling was in here too, as cycling here just feels a lot more fun, and I want more of an excuse to do it.Perfect 10This is my least favorite game in Wii Fit Plus, and one of my least favorite games, period. The goal of the game is to hit numbered mushrooms with your hips, which lights them up. Light up mushrooms that add up to ten, and you're off to the next set. The next difficulty up requires that you hit numbered mushrooms up to 15, and so forth. I think maybe I'm too fat for this game. I had the same problem with hula-hooping in the original Wii Fit. It just doesn't register my (sexy) hip moves very well. My lighter friends didn't seem to have the same problem, so maybe if I was lighter, things would be fine. Either way, I hate this game. It involves math and bad motion controls, two of my least favorite things. There is really no way for it to win me over. Segway CircuitThis is the first Wii Fit Plus game I ever played (back at E3 09), and I'll forever associate it with non-exercise exercise gaming. Thanks to Arrested Development's GOB, I can't break the connection between the segway and ridiculous, trophy-minded, lazy magicians. Despite that prejudice, I really love Segway Circuit. As a form of exercise, it actually doesn't fail. I can't play it for more than ten minutes without needing a rest.More importantly, Segway Circuit is fun. This is one of the more "game-y" games in Wii Fit Plus, and it's easy to see how Nintendo could take the three levels presented here and turn Segway Circuit into a full-fledged game on its own (hopefully with chainsaws and explosions). All you do in the game is roll around on your segway (Wiimote handlebar controls to steer, balance board lean to accelerate or back up), going over jumps and popping beach balls within a time limit. What makes it game-y are the power-ups and enemies. Moles dig up from underground to steal your balls, which is jerky, and if you hit them, it'll take five seconds off your time (also jerky). Each level ends with a chase against a "boss mole," holding the course's last beach ball, with boss music and everything (yay videogames!). Power-ups come in the form of your own pets, which, once registered into Wii Fit Plus, can be found hanging around the circuit. Once you make contact with them, they'll run alongside you and look happy. If you hit A, they'll run out in front of you to grab a beach ball or kick some mole ass.There is something almost embarrassingly fun about seeing a Mii of your cat kick ass on command. My cat won't do anything in real life on command, let alone kick mole ass. It's just a small part of what makes Segway Circuit more fun that it really deserves to be.Tilt City This one is also more fun than it looks, which isn't saying a lot because it doesn't look fun at all. It's a little too simple; you lean from left to right on the balance board and tilt the Wii Remote left and right to get colored balls to fall into correspondingly colored pipes, and you're done. Sounds dull, right? Well, it can be when things are going slow, but when the screen gets filled with balls, I get excited (pro homo). When you're dealing with four or five balls at a time, you'll be challenged to tell your feet to lean one way and your hands to tilt the other way, which actually feels fresh and can be a lot of fun; kind of like playing the drums, but without the need to keep rhythm.Which brings me to the next game...Rhythm ParadeThis one feels a bit like a reject from Wii Music, but that doesn't mean that it completely sucks. Like with Tilt City, needing to use your hands and feet in conjunction is fun, but it does get a little old to basically just march in place and occasionally do some hand motions. Forget about playing this one at parties. Nothing is worse than watching your friends virtua-march as a parade of cheerful Miis walk around Wuhu Island Square.In case you hadn't guessed, Rhythm Parade puts you in the role of band leader, marching around the town. You have to keep a constant, pre-set rhythm with your feet, while doing increasingly more complex rhythms with your hands. Picture playing the snare drum in a school marching band, and you'll get the picture.I figure that kids will dig this one more than adults -- particularly, kids who love band camp.Big Top JugglingThis one also looks sort of lame, but it wasn't long before I started to really love it. Where Tilt City and Rhythm Parade involve using your hands and feet to do the same things (tilting/leaning and keeping time, respectively), Big Top Juggling tasks you to do one thing with your feet (lean back and forth on a ball) and one thing with your arms (fake juggle). The results are surprisingly compelling. I mean, before this, I thought I knew what kind of videogames I liked, and juggling clown simulators weren't on the list. Now they definitely are, at least until someone makes a crappier one than this. Why is this game fun? It's really hard to put into words, but I'd go out on a limb and say that the mix of constant danger, feeling of mastery that comes from a ball well juggled, and need for total concentration are all big parts of it. It gets even more fun when your in-game friends start tossing bombs at you. Fans of high-pressure, multi-tasking games (like shmups) need to try Big Top Juggling before they write it off. Rhythm Kung-FuConversely, we have Rhythm Kung-Fu, which features no pressure or multi-tasking whatsoever. It's basically a game of Simon Says using your whole body. Kick, punch, chop, and block; that's all you do. Well, maybe not chop, but you do have to do a kamehameha wave-type deal every once and a while, which I guess is sort-of cool. Like the name implies, you have to do all these motions with a certain timing, but it's incredibly easy. The weak difficulty and relatively slow pace are the main problems with Rhythm Kung-Fu. As fun as it is to punch and kick, doing so with this little challenge just isn't for me. This one joins Rhythm Parade in Wii Fit Plus's kid's section.Balance Bubble Plus and Table Tilt Plus I'm combining these two because they basically accomplish the same thing. Balance Bubble and Table Tilt are two of the best games from the original Wii Fit, and these "plus" versions play like super-difficult bonus levels of said games. In Balance Bubble Plus, you have to guide your Mii-in-a-bubble down a river past bees and rotating planks, and this time, into a dark, Zelda-esque temple. Touch anything along the way and you pop. It's an extremely tense, exciting game, in a one-hit-kill sort of way, that you either love or hate. Table Tilt Plus is a little less nerve-racking, but it's still very tough. The game is basically a smaller scale version of Kororinpa, but with multiple marbles at one time. It has almost as many gimmicks and tricks, and due to the improved controls, it's a little more fun than Kororinpa.I really like both of these games and have spent at least two hours on each over the past two weeks, despite the fact that there is is only one difficulty level (most games in Wii Fit Plus have 2 or 3). Like Wii Play's Tanks, I would gladly pay ten to fifteen dollars for full WiiWare versions of each of these games.Snowball FightSnowball Fight is okay, but it's a bit shallow compared to some of the other games in Wii Fit Plus. You lean left and right to pop your head out from the cover of your tarp-thing, and use the Wii Remote's pointer to aim snowballs, with A to throw them. It's actually kind of exciting to tuck your whole body to dodge snowballs, have your view obscured by your cover, and then physically stick your head out and start gunning down your foes with endless supplies of snowballs. Another nice touch is when you get hit by a snowball. Your vision is temporarily blurred by the snow on the "camera." Sadly, it doesn't stay that exciting for long. Things change up a bit when your enemies come out in snowman armor, which requires extra hits to take down, but that's about it for variety. If there was some actual character movement of bosses or something, then Snowball Fight could have been a top-class entry. As it stands, it's more of an example of untapped potential than anything else.Obstacle CourseThat reminds me, one of the biggest examples of untapped potential from the first Wii Fit was the Tight Rope game, the one that basically played like an extremely linear 3D platformer with added "balance fun." Wii Fit Plus's Obstacle Course looks to expand on that potential a bit, and it does a pretty good job of it. This time, you don't have to worry about losing your balance, but you still have to walk, run, and jump (all on the balance board) with skill and precision. This game is tough. It took me about ten minutes to get through the first level, and it only gets harder from there. Giant medicine balls, conveyor belts, rolling logs, moving platforms, and icy floors are just a few of the problems you'll have deal with on your way to the finish line.I've always thought a full-3D platformer done with balance board (or now, Natal) controls could be awesome, and Wii Fit Plus's Obstacle Course game further supports that belief. I don't care if it's relatively simple like this game, or if it's complex like Mirror's Edge; someone really ought to take advantage of how fun it is to platform "for real." There is something uniquely exciting about running and jumping in real life, and seeing a character pull off the same moves in tandem on-screen, only with increased magnitude and flair.Driving Range Golf is another sport that was done in Wii Sports Resort, but is done much better here. This may be the most accurate golf experience on the Wii, even better than Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10. Using the balance board, the game can detect the things that golf pros tell me really matter in the sport -- namely, hip movement and proper shifting of weight.This is the first Wii golf game you can't cheat in. You really have to stand up, get on the board, hold the Wii Remote like a golf club, and swing for real. Sitting on the couch and pretending to swing by just flicking your wrists isn't going to work anymore. The game detects your center of balance at all times, and you can replay any swing to see how you're doing with the whole weight shifting thing. The amount of body/game connection here is pretty astounding.I hate sports, I hate golf, and I hate most Wii golf games, but I really liked Wii Fit Plus's driving range. I never would have guessed that perfecting my swing could be so addictive. Again, my only complaint is that there isn't more to do here. There are three clubs to play with, but no matter what, you're still at the same driving range. I'd have loved to take this control scheme to the actual golf... fields, or courses, or whatever they call the places where people play this thing.Hey, I told you I don't like golf. Basic Run PlusBasic Run Plus is another game that's an extension from one found in the original Wii Fit, but unlike Balance Bubble Plus and Table Tilt Plus, this is really a correction of the original Basic Run. There are still problems, but the game is lot more effective now at its goal: to distract you while you exercise.  Now, as you run, you'll pass by more interesting stuff: Wuhu Island landmarks, moles from Segway Circuit, cats, dogs, flags, Super Mario Bros. Goomba sprites -- that sort of thing. You have to keep an eye out for this stuff, because after your run is over, you're tested on what you saw. The run itself is also more interesting and "game-y" now. You aren't stuck in the world of reality; you now can run on the roofs of buildings, through caves, and so forth.  Running is still done off the balance board, with the Wii Remote acting as sort of a primitive pedometer, which makes little sense to me. It won't matter to everyone, though. One fitness nut friend of mine skips the whole jogging thing entirely, and jump-ropes with the Wiimote in his pocket instead. I guess he burns a hell of a lot more calories that way, and he says he still feels like he's "playing" the game, even though he's basically just jumping rope. I guess that is proof that, like a lot of the actual exercise portions of Wii Fit Plus, Basic Run Plus is as good a workout as you choose to make it.  Skateboard Arena This may be my favorite game in Wii Fit Plus. It's got the most "depth" from a gameplay perspective, and it offers almost as much action and 3D exploration as my other favorites (Segway Circuit, Bird's Eye Bulls-Eye, and Obstacle Course). At first, the controls take a little getting used to. You need to really put some force into it as you kick off the ground to get your "board" moving. The game won't recognize it if you just gingerly step off the balance board with one foot and then step back on. You really need to kick in order to get things moving.It may not sound like fun, but it really works to make you feel like you're the one who's skating. Your other moves -- jumps, grinds, tic-tac, and wheelies -- also require real effort on your part, and as such, you really feel that player/character connection that makes these games work. The courses are also pretty well designed. After the first few tutorial stages, half-pipes, hurdles, and ramps pop up everywhere. As well as being one of the most fun games in Wii Fit Plus, this may also be one of the hardest. The game is played on a strict time limit, and you really need to get a good flow going to get the points you need before running out of time.  Conclusion Many of Wii Fit Plus's games are an honest-to-God evolution of full-body motion controls as we know them. There is a lot more exploration of 3D environments and simultaneous use of hands and feet this time around, and less "lean left and right and win!" game design. This makes the majority of the games here feel a lot more interesting and fulfilling to play than other blaance board games. Over the course of my two-week routine with Wii Fit Plus, I found a few games that I don't care to ever play again (Perfect 10, Tilt City), and others that I got seriously addicted to (Skateboard Arena, Obstacle Course, Bird's-Eye Bulls-Eye, Driving Range, Balance Bubble Plus, Big Top Juggling, and Segway Circuit).I can't say that people that hated the original Wii Fit are going to like these new entries, but if you almost liked it, but felt the games there were a little too shallow, then some of the stuff here might make you happy. These games are almost as big a leap forward from the original Wii Fit as Wii Sports Resort was from Wii Sports, but not quite. We'd need Wii Sports Resort's "stamp" achievement system and sheer size to make that claim. Still, this is the best balance board game I've bought since Wii Fit came out, which says a lot for how well Nintendo understands their own hardware, and how little third-party developers have really tried to utilize the thing. I truly hope that third-party devs play Wii Fit Plus and put the lessons here to work on future balance board and Natal games. Skiing, snowboarding, and soccer goalie need to take a break from the board for awhile.Oh yeah, I did lose weight by playing these games for two weeks -- about 1.5 lbs, with no other exercise, no change in diet, and not much noticeable discomfort. Not a big deal, really, but people seem to care about this stuff, so there you go. Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Wii Fit Plus is a $20 upgrade to Wii Fit. It includes everything from the original title, plus new games and new "fitness"-related things that I only sort-of care about. The game now tries to count how many calories...


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