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Preview: Active Life Explorer


It's pretty much a Wii version of Uncharted 2.

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch. However, one of the levels of Namco Bandai's Active Life Explorer has you running down a train, jumping from car to car, as you try to make your way to the front. Along the way, you'll be dodging overhead lights, in a frantic rush to stop the train from meeting a fiery end. But, unlike Naughty Dog's PS3 game, you're not shooting your way through. Instead, you use a DDR-esque mat to literally run through the game.

The Wii is no stranger to fitness games (the Active Life franchise already has multiple iterations on Nintendo's console). However, what makes Explorer so charming is that it actually feels like a game. The game's Treasure Adventure mode features a world map and story, and has you traveling through the map, talking to NPCs and activating challenges to progress in a quest to find treasures. Although simplistic, the narrative does a good enough job of giving some context to the various mini-games you play.

Gallery: Active Life Explorer | 22 Photos

While the more "game-like" elements added to Explorer are much appreciated, the core gameplay of Active Life hasn't changed much. Many of the games simply involve running in place as quickly as possible, something your downstairs neighbors are undoubtedly going to appreciate. Active Life's unique eight-button pad, coupled with the Wii Remote, does offer a more kinetic experience than, say, Wii Fit Plus. Whereas Nintendo won't let you jump on the Balance Board, jumping is a crucial element of Active Life -- especially if you're trying to stop a runaway train.

With the overabundance of fitness games available on the Wii, you should have a good idea on whether or not Active Life Explorer can hold your interest. Even fans of the genre should still be cautious about making the investment -- are another 24 mini-games really going to spice up your workout?

Active Life Explorer will be available on the Wii, with or without the Active Life pad, this fall.

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