As I mentioned in my hands-on, Nintendo's new Wii Fit Plus is technically more of an expansion pack for the original Wii Fit as opposed to a true sequel. And while I took a full six months to do my review of the first game, I'm happy to say that since I already know that it can actually get you in shape, I don't have to spend quite so long reviewing Wii Fit Plus!
Basically, your mileage with Wii Fit Plus will vary depending on how you reacted to the first. If you already have and enjoy Wii Fit, this is kind of a no-brainer, as the additional games are well worth the $20 price tag for just the disc. If you tried Wii Fit, but found it lacking as an exercise program, you might want to check this one out as it is a little more focused, and you've already got the Balance Board. On the other hand, if you never bought Wii Fit, well, this is the game that will now come bundled with the Balance Board, so you don't even have to worry about the first game. Oh, and it should go without saying that if you really hated Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus is probably not going to change your mind.
I'll get into some details after the jump!
Wii Fit Plus is essentially Wii Fit with some new additions to refine and tweak the gameplay. Simply starting a new game with Wii Fit Plus will prompt you to carry over all your data from your Wii Fit game save, although you will need to actually create a separate Wii Fit Plus channel to replace the Wii Fit channel if you used that. Being able to create an entry for your pet is cute, but I really enjoyed the Quick Test option that is available after a little bit. This does your Body Test in about a minute, with no menus to go through. It uses whatever your clothing weight was in the last test, and quickly gives you today's balance and weight. Nice for when you're in a hurry.
There are three new strength exercises and three new yoga poses, but otherwise, Wii Fit Plus simply uses the existing exercises in new ways. Now, you can select specific areas that you want to work on, like your arms or stomach or even do some exercises to warm up or relax. The game will give you a series of three activities to work on that area, either yoga, strength, aerobics or balance games. They run about six minutes, and are over so quickly you don't really feel much in the way of improvement, but they can also be linked together for a longer routine.
Creating workouts is the major new addition to Wii Fit Plus. You can manually select your favorite activities and create a customized workout for yourself. The game will even total up how much time it will take, so you can make sure you don't overdo it. If you don't feel like putting in that much effort, you can opt to tell the game how much time you have for a workout, and it will choose a series of exercises for you that will take that long. Having to navigate the menus in between activities was one of my major complaints about the original Wii Fit, so it's nice that it has been addressed here.
This addition does help turn Wii Fit Plus into more of a workout game, but it's still much more family fun-oriented instead of hardcore. The virtual trainers aren't going to yell at you for motivation. (Oh, but they do have new looks, even if their voices are the same) Wii Fit Plus also now counts calories as you play, and even compares them to actual food. Unfortunately, because most of the activities aren't terribly strenuous (and I feel like they're erring on the side of caution), it's a little disheartening to do a bunch of activities and learn that you've only burned the caloric equivalent of a handful of grapes!
Interestingly, while I eschewed the balance games of the original Wii Fit in favor of strength training and aerobic exercise, the 15 new balance games included in Wii Fit Plus are pulling all my focus this time around. Nintendo has really integrated the Balance Board into the games more, so you're doing more than just leaning back and forth. My favorites so far are:
Perfect 10, which I call "Brain Age for your butt" since you swing your hips in the direction of mushrooms to make the numbers on top of them add up to a specific total.
Rhythm Kung Fu, where you mimic the kung fu moves with your arms and legs in the correct rhythm. It's a more complicated and more fun version of the original Rhythm Boxing.
Bird's-Eye Bull's-Eye, where you literally flap your arms like a bird while standing on the Balance Board trying to land your chicken-costumed Mii onto landing pads for points. It can actually sense whether you're flapping hard or soft and adjusts your speed accordingly.
There are others, like the obstacle course, juggling and the bike riding, which are kind of fun, but there are still some that are just kind of annoying because my balance sucks. But they did a great job of creating games that are so fun you'll play them long enough and actually start to feel it. (A few rounds of flapping and your arms WILL be sore, I promise!) There's also a golf game, but it just consists of driving the ball over and over again with the Balance Board measuring your swing in conjunction with the Wiimote so you've really got to have good form. And as a bonus, this time around, Nintendo made multiplayer easier by allowing you to switch from one player to another without having to go all the way back out to the main menu! Finally!
As I said, if you already enjoy Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus is a great deal for $20, because of the additional mini-games and the ability to create customized workouts. In fact, I had so much fun with the mini-games that if you have a balance board collecting dust in your home, you might want to try picking this up just for them! To be fair, I'm kind of docking Wii Fit Plus a little bit for being what the original should have been instead of a full-fledged sequel, but it's still a solid game. (Even if I may be biased because Wii Fit caused me to drop about five inches off my waist!)
8 out of 10