A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wii Fit comes packaged with the Wii Balance Board, which you use in the 40+ activities including aerobics, balance, yoga, and strength training. The software tracks the number of minutes that you play on the board per day and charts your exercise progress with the option to track the weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) changes of up to eight people. Body Mass Index is a standard used by the National Institute of Health to measure an adult's body fat based on height and weight. The game assigns you a designation of underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. Parents with kids concerned about their weight should know that the BMI is an index for adults and while the game has made an effort to adjust it for kids, since kids grow at different rates, their pediatrician will always be a better judge of what's healthy. Parents may need to remind kids that they can't jump on the Balance Board, because if they do, the game they are playing will stop. This game can be enjoyed by kids as young as age 5, but it's a better fit for tweens, teens, and adults.
What's it about?
WII FIT is an exciting way for kids and adults to exercise using the Wii console. It's a compilation of 40+ games to play on the Wii Balance Board, a special peripheral that comes packaged with the game. The Wii Balance Board looks like a giant scale that sits on the floor. When you stand on it, it can detect the slightest shifts in your balance, which means it can tell if you are leaning forward or backward, and from side-to-side. In addition to balance, the board can also determine your weight. The games are broken into four categories: aerobics, balance, yoga, and strength training. Under aerobics, you can hula-hoop, do step-aerobics, run (next to, not on the board), or rhythm-box. The yoga activities teach you how to breathe and do yoga poses. Strength training shows you how to do a variety of exercises including lunges, torso twists, and push-ups, all using the board. The balance games are the most fun because they have you heading soccer balls, skiing down slopes, performing ski-jumps, snowboarding, and walking on tightropes, as well as pretending to be a table with balls on it you tilt by leaning back and forth, and a bubble that you control through a maze by moving your body.
Is it any good?
To make all this exercise fun and a little competitive, the game has a crazy calculation called "Wii Fit Age," which is based on short balance games that are given to you every day. As you play the games, the theory is that your core muscles will get stronger. As you get better at the balance games, your "Wii Fit Age" will improve. In addition, Wii Fit can keep track of up to eight players and record the amount of time spent playing on the board, as well as your daily weight and Body Mass Index. You can set a goal of exercising a certain number of minutes a day, and the game helps you meet that goal.
The aerobics and balance games are particularly well done and make exercising more fun. For ski-jumping, you stand on the board, squat down while you race down the slope, and then straighten your legs to jump when you hit the end of the ramp. Part of the skill of perfecting a long jump is to hold yourself perfectly still while you fly through the air. You can challenge friends and family members to see who can land the longest jump. However, although Wii Fit is very well done and a blast to play, if you are a serious gym rat, these games may not be hard-core enough to satisfy those seeking a sustained high-intensity workout. Many of the games represent an overview of potential new games that could be developed in more depth for the Wii Balance Board.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role of fitness in living a healthy lifestyle. Which of these games did you like best?
Do you think the games do a good job of recreating real-life experiences –- did you feel like you were hula-hooping and ski jumping? What new games do you think companies should develop that use the Wii Balance Board?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Health & Fitness: body awareness, exercise, fitness, movement
- Price: $89
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: May 19, 2008
- Genre: Exergaming
- Topics: Sports and martial arts
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.