A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a compilation of sports games played on the Wii using a special mat controller. The game can be purchased with the Active Life Mat Controller, or separately if you already own an Active Life Mat Controller (which came bundled with last year's Active Life: Outdoor Challenge). The game requires physical movements to play so it will get kids up off the couch and moving. One game smacks of poor sportsmanship by letting you purposefully throw rocks down on your rock-climbing competitor. This compilation isn't as innovative as last year's title, with some of the games seeming repetitious.
What's it about?
Kids can pretend that they are playing extreme sports like street luge, base jumping, rock climbing, BMX racing, kite-surfing, skateboarding, inline skating, jump roping, and wakeboarding by checking out ACTIVE LIFE: EXTREME CHALLENGE. Kids play versions of these extreme sports by using an Active Life Mat Controller, which is similar to the dance pads used in the DDR games. By stepping, sitting, or hitting symbols with your hands, kids simulate the extreme sports. Some games also incorporate the use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. One child alone, or two together can check out the games, unlocking content as they go.
Is it any good?
Expectations were high for this title since it is a sequel to the 5-star-rated Active Life: Outdoor Challenge, one of the best video games for kids in 2008. This game isn't quite as good as the first game in the series. Unlike the first game which offered 16 unique sports, this one only has nine (but comes with variations). Also missing is the a cooperative mode and the Exercise Training mode. And some of the controls aren't all that easy.
What Active Life: Extreme Challenge does do well is get kids moving. In one of the BMX challenges, you have to run in place to get your bike to speed ahead. To jump rope, you have to jump on the mat at just the right time to correspond with the rope being swung on the screen. And rock climbing will have you kneeling in the front of the mat, while wilding hitting symbols with your hands to simulate climbing up a rock face. The Bottom Line: If you don't already own Active Life: Outdoor Challenge, buy that game instead of Active Life: Extreme Challenge. If you already own the first game, then Extreme Challenge is a fun way to breathe some life into using the Active Life Mat Controller again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why playing active games is important for your health.
How important is your avatar to you in this game. Did you take the time to bring your own Miis into the game? Did that make it feel more personal to you?
Last year's version – Active Life: Outdoor Challenge – contained a lot of cooperative games for two people to play. This one does not, but offers plenty of competitive play. Which do you prefer? Why?