Wii Fit continues to rank high in monthly sales charts more than a year after its release, turning health and fitness into a new gaming genre with more than a few imitators. More a revision than a sequel, Wii Fit Plus replaces its predecessor and expands it with new games, tools, and exercises. Is it worth digging the balance board out from under the pile of pizza boxes, or should you sit this one out?
Unlike the original, which had a few games on the side, Wii Fit Plus is comprised mostly of mini-games. There are fifteen games in all, including advanced versions of favorites like table tilt and new activities like skateboarding and snowball fights. In contrast, yoga and strength workouts come with just three new exercises apiece.
There is an assortment of new tools to keep your workout consistent. After each activity, Wii Fit Plus estimates how many calories you've burned, and you can view a chart to see how that relates to different foods, as well as set daily goals. Routine-building tools allow you to create customized exercise plans based on the areas you want to tone or the time you want to commit each day. You can add credits for daily activities outside the program, and if you wish, you can now track the weight of dogs and cats, too.
Wii Fit Plus also includes a new multiplayer option which lets friends compete in nine activities without having to register first. Since you can't connect multiple balance boards, play is turn-based, and longer activities like skateboarding and cycling aren't on the multiplayer list. To keep the game moving, the rules are stricter. You only get three balls on the driving range, and getting knocked off an obstacle course will end your run. Though it's definitely a no-brainer, the addition of multiplayer is great for keeping players active without worrying about a daily quota.
Each day, Wii Fit Plus tests your reaction time, balance, and BMI to assign you a Wii Fit age, which can vary drastically from one day to the next. The raw stats can be useful, but the advice that your balance board buddy dishes out is quite dubious for some body types. Wii Fit certainly isn't going to help you gain 60 pounds in any healthy way, though that is precisely what it prescribed for us.
The new yoga and strength training exercises will help work your stomach and legs, but most of the content in Wii Fit Plus is focused on aerobics and balance. There's a driving range that judges your swing by sensing the shift in weight through your hips. A juggling game requires you to maintain balance on a beach ball while keeping smaller balls in play. And you'll don a chicken suit and flap your arms to land on small targets, quickly feeling the burn in your shoulders.
Some of the games require a combination of mental and physical agility. You'll have to do math equations with pelvic thrusts or guide colored fireworks into matching launchers by tilting the upper and lower halves of your body in different directions. A few of the games, like Segway driving and snowball fights, seem to be there just for fun, but the best is easily the Mario-style obstacle courses. These perilous platformer levels require you to actively run past hazards and jump over gaps, sometimes on ice or conveyor belts, and you get so caught up in the gameplay that you don't realize you've worked up a sweat until you're done.
Control issues are a frequent frustration in Wii Fit Plus. Gaining momentum on the skateboard is dodgy, as it doesn't recognize deliberate kicks. Obstacle courses require your character to jump, but prohibit you from doing so in real life, restarting the course if you bounce too much. And the driving range doesn't always recognize when you're pointing the remote downward unless you set it flat to recalibrate first, yet there's never a message telling you this is the solution. With practice, you can play without issues, but it's a wonder that some activities don't support motion plus.
Wii Fit Plus doesn't aim to do more than the original, dragging and dropping the same simple graphic style from other Wii titles and the island from Wii Sports Resort. Oddly enough, the marching band mini-game features a crowd of Miis with 2D faces, despite the fact that the Mii Channel can display scores of parading Miis at a time.
Wii Fit Plus adds a fair amount of content for a $20 expansion and includes all the content of the original. If you're looking to mix it up with new activities, there are some winners here, but if you stopped using Wii Fit after the first two weeks, Plus isn't going to get you off the couch for much longer.
Reviewed on Nintendo Wii.