E3 2009: The Five: Wii Fit Plus
The 10-Cent Tour: It's Wii Fit ... plus some new stuff!
1. Let's get the boring stuff out of the way first. As the trailer shows, there's a smattering of six new yoga poses and strength-trainers for those of you who like to use your Wii Balance Board for boring stuff. Wii Fit Plus also lets you arrange these training exercises into timed sets that focus on a specific part of your body (hips, legs, etc.). Zzzzzzzzz.
2. On to the exciting part: the 15 new balance games, nine of which were on display at the show. The most notable thing about many of them is the way they get your upper body into the mix. In Snowball Fight, you have to use the Wii Remote to aim frozen projectiles as you lean around barriers. In Segway Circuit and Island Cycling, the Remote becomes a set of handlebars to steer you around as you lean and pedal, respectively. Most ridiculously, Bird's Eye Bull's Eye has you flapping your arms frantically and leaning to guide a flying Mii in a chicken suit to various island targets.
3. A couple of the new games exercise another part of your upper body: your brain. In Perfect 10, it took me WAY too long to figure out which combination of four numbered balloons I had to hip-check to add up to 10 (I blame E3 show-related fatigue). Tilt City, on the other hand, requires a mind-bending combination of Balance Board-leaning and Wii Remote-tilting to guide balls into color-coded barrels. Hey, if I wanted to think, I'd play Brain Age.
4. The much-ballyhooed Obstacle Course was far from the real-life Super Mario Bros. described at Nintendo's press conference. Sure, it was fun enough jogging along in a straight line, timing my progress to avoid obstacles, and occasionally performing an on-my-tip-toes "jump" over rolling barrels. But it was a little too direct and simple to really be compared to the Mario series. Where are the goombas? Where are the coin blocks? Where are the transformative suits (See: Bird's Eye Bull's Eye)?
5. You can weigh your dog. You heard me! The Balance Board weighs you, then it weighs you plus your dog, then it figures out how much your dog weighs. Ladies and gentlemen: Technology!
The Crispy Forecast: A few of the new games are interesting enough to make me dust off my Balance Board, but I'm guessing after two weeks I'll just go back to running on an elliptical while watching "Friends" reruns. Oh, Joey. You're incorrigible.
This preview is based on a hands-on demo of the game at E3 2009.