byZack Stern||April 15th 2008 at 9:00amApril 15th 2008 9:00 am
Sure, Wii Fit is about health and lifestyle, but I'm looking forward to the games; I sampled some of the lesser-known modes at the recent Nintendo Media Summit. We've already played with the hula-hoop, soccer, ski-jump, and other basics, so I jumped straight to tightrope walking, floating in a bubble, and other later unlockables. But first, I warmed up with jogging.
Jogging: One or two players can jog together by stepping off the balance board and sticking a Wiimote in a pocket. I trotted in place while my Mii avatar ran through a sparkling park. Easter eggs and strange events amused me, such as a pack of dogs running straight at -- and past -- me and a hidden, 8-bit Mario graffiti tag. But I decided to phone it in later, shaking the Remote like I was playing Samba. The Nintendo representative and a few onlookers scolded me, but I raced on.
Tightrope walking: On the balance board, I lifted alternate feet, like I was walking ahead. But I had to keep my weight centered the whole time, otherwise the Mii would tip off the high wire. I was supposed to jump over a chomping bear-trap near the end of the path by crouching and extending my legs. (The motion is similar to the ski jumping game.) But I was off-center before I tried the hop, and just launched myself sideways off the narrow path.
Bubble in a river: My Mii was trapped in a bubble, and I steered down a narrow, winding river with my leaning. If I grazed the edge of the riverbank, the bubble popped, and I lost. This mode works like a Super Monkey Ball variant. Speaking of which, hey, Sega, how about a Balance Board-tuned version of that game?
Penguin-eats-fish: With my Mii donning a penguin suit, I stood on a teetering iceberg. From a side view, the platform tilted only left and right with my movements, sending my Mii to those edges. Fish flopped up onto the floe, and I slid in their direction, catching them for points. If I fell off, I automatically hopped back on. And I tried to fling myself up in the air, like tossing ingredients in a skillet, to grab giant fish.
Snowboarding: I tried slalom skiing first and later rotated the balance board 90° for the snowboard simulation. I shifted my weight downhill to speed up, back to slow down. I bobbed up and down like a drinking bird to steer, and the process was challenging but worked well.
I enjoyed these games, but I also recognized that these activities will get repetitive. Wii Fit will be a new kind of toy-and-trainer once it washes arrives in America May 19, Europe April 25, and Australia May 8. We'll see if the game lasts longer than that Nordic Track you use to hang clothes.