Version tested Wii
In the latest edition of Iwata Asks, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto discussed the sequel to Wii Fit. Except it's not a sequel, according to Miyamoto. "It's not number two! It's not what you'd call a sequel with a regular game - it's actually an enhanced version of the software," he said.
"A sequel is when users who were basically satisfied with the original software have the chance to purchase additional data that follows on from the original. But in the case of Wii Fit Plus... I want to say: 'With this, you'll transform your Wii balance board into something even better!'"
Sadly that doesn't turn out to be a hoverboard. Wii Fit Plus has been designed to transform the balance board from what, for many people, it has become - a big, dusty reminder of the fact you're so lazy you can't even be bothered to do exercise when it involves virtual hula hoops.
Even Miyamoto admits people stopped bothering with the original Wii Fit after a while, telling Iwata, "There was a certain amount of inconvenience the user had to contend with. That's why I thought that if we could just improve the ease of use, we could get people to keep using it."
So that's the thinking behind Wii Fit Plus. At first glance it looks just like the original title - it's got the same clean, stylish interface, range of exercise types, trainers recruited from the village of Midwich and emphasis on measuring your body mass index. Any data recorded during previous Wii Fit adventures will be transferred over and you can replace the Wii Fit Channel on your home screen with the Plus version. All the exercises from the original can be selected without having to swap discs, and any you didn't bother unlocking last time round are now available from the start.
There are three new yoga positions and three new muscle exercises, which seems a bit mean. Those who have managed to stick with the programme all this time might have been hoping for a few more additions to keep things interesting. The good news is there are 15 more balance games, which were the most enjoyable thing about Wii Fit anyway.
Three of them are variations of games which appeared on the first disc. Jogging Plus is like regular jogging except you have to chase a cat and there's a silly observational trivia quiz at the end. Balance Bubble Plus is Balance Bubble but harder. Table Tilt Plus is an enhanced version of the Marble Madness-style original, complete with new additions such as bounce pads which spring your ball over barriers. It's the best of the three. They're all decent enough, but you probably won't spend much time on them if you've already exhausted the Wii Fit versions.
Some of the best new games require you to use your brain as well as your body. In Tilt City, for example, the aim is to guide falling red, yellow and blue balls into the appropriately coloured tubes. You do this by angling three platforms - one controlled by the tilting Wii remote, the other two by shifting your weight on the balance board. It's the most complex game in Wii Fit Plus, requiring you to think ahead while using both your arms and legs. Or, as Ed Tudor-Pole would say, it's a physical as well as a mental challenge.
Other highlights include Rhythm Kung Fu, where you must perform kicks, punches and simple combos in time to the beat. It's simplistic but fun. The same goes for Skateboard Arena, where you turn the board sideways and shift your weight to go faster, perform jumps and so on. It's unlikely to give Tony Hawk a run for his gigantic piles of money but it's an enjoyable alternative for the young, old or drunk.
Then there's Snowball Fight, where you lean left and right on the board to pop out from cover and use the remote to fire snowballs. It's Nintendo's answer to Time Crisis, in other words. The controls work well and it's a great choice for those at the more hardcore end of the spectrum as it feels more like a proper videogame.