Gadget Guide: Exercise Reinvented Again with "Wii Fit Plus"

The game gurus at Nintendo have been hard at work changing people’s perceptions of video games with its smash hit Wii system. Last year, Wii Fit remixed the traditional exercise workout by introducing a digital Balance Board that tracks weight and movement, along with software that blends aerobics, yoga and quirky balance-based games so well that it actually made lunges and stretches enjoyable. And this week, I got to put my hands (well, feet) on the sequel to that game: Wii Fit Plus.

The name describes the game entirely. “Plus” means more: more exercises, more games, more ways to work toward your fitness goals and more stats to track your progress. It has all of the content from the original Wii Fit, plus 15 new activities and six new strength training and yoga exercises. Now you can mix and match all of the game’s exercises into a seamless workout routine, or you can pick from various preset routines based on how much time you want to exercise or what you want to work on. Say you want to tone up your legs and firm that booty, plus you feel guilty for eating all of that arroz con pollo last night—just pick those options, and Wii Fit Plus spits out a routine just for you. Just like the original Wii Fit, the game tracks what exercises you do and how many calories you burn, so as the days go on you can look back on your calendar and track your progress. In fact, if you already have Wii Fit, the new game brings in all of your old information, so your exercise history will pick up right where you left off.

Now aerobics are great and all, but sometimes you just want to have fun, and Wii Fit Plus offers a bevy of fun games to play that’ll get you up and moving. In addition to the games from Wii Fit, you can try new events like skateboarding, Rhythm Kung-Fu (punching and kicking to a musical backbeat) and my personal favorite, Chicken, which dresses your character in a giant chicken suit as you flap your arms and fly from platform to platform. The genius of these games is that while you’re laughing and having fun, the game quietly tricks you into using your balance and moving around, so you’ll burn calories without even realizing it—and the game still tracks that exercise too! And up to eight people can take turns playing the games, so Wii Fit Plus is also great to pull out at parties and goof around with your friends and family.

Wii Fit Plus is a knockout, both as an exercise device and a game. The best part is that if you already own Wii Fit and the Balance Board, you can pick up the sequel by itself for only $20—more than half the cost of most other Wii games, and about the price of an exercise DVD (or two trips to that fast-food place you know you shouldn’t be visiting anyway!). If you don’t have the original game, Wii Fit Plus is also sold as a package with the Balance Board for $100, or about two months of a gym membership. It’s out in stores now, so if you own a Wii, there’s no excuse not to grab Wii Fit Plus and get yourself healthier and happier.