Wii Fit Plus Preview: One Fat Slice Of CheeseS

My cat, Lola, is 14.1 pounds – which is actually three quarters of a pound lighter than what the vet said she weighed last year.

I've never given Wii Fit all that much though until I gave my brother and his wife a Wii for their wedding present last year. Then my sister-in-law was all "Wii Fit" this and "weight loss" that. I guess she didn't see any of the initial press around the system calling seven-year-olds obese and Nintendo officially stating that the game doesn't make you lose weight, it just makes you more aware of your body and so forth.

But, undaunted, she's still on her pro-Wii Fit campaign and I decided to give its new iteration, Wii Fit Plus, a go. Socks off, of course.

What Is It?
Wii Fit Plus is essentially Wii Fit with new features added, plus an actual multiplayer function. The game gets you "aware of your body" by giving you a weight and body mass index measurement to track over time and then inviting you to play a bunch of games that make you move your body in weird and healthy ways. There're also actual exercise routines in the game that are divided up by Yoga (stretching) and Strength (which includes endurance exercises).

What We Saw
I borrowed a developer's profile to play through the following modes: Perfect 10, Obstacle Course, Birds' Eye Bullseye, Tilt City and Rhythm Kung-Fu.

How Far Along Is It?
The game is out October 4.

What Needs Improvement?
Hey! I'm Walking Here! The Obstacle Course game has players running in place, stopping, jumping and then running again to avoid giant swinging balls, rolling logs and giant gaps. The timing was a little tricky and the Balance Board wasn't as responsive to coming to complete stops as it is to other kinds of motion. This gets frustrating, because while you can't run off a cliff in the Obstacle Course, you can smack right into a swinging ball that you were trying to stop just shy of.

Blasted Math: Perfect 10 is a game where your Mii stands between several numbered mushrooms and tries to whack them with their hips to add (or subtract) the numbers to reach 10. You have a top-down view of them and are able to control their hips – bouncing left, right, forward or back. Now, I'm an amateur belly dancer, so I have excellent control of my hips. But I had a hell of time convincing the Balance Board that I had in fact bounced right and not left. I had an even harder time convincing it that I was thrusting my hips forward – so it's not that the board is too sensitive. It's just that you have to come back to dead center and pause before moving in the next direction – which goes against your instincts because the whole game is timed and it's asking you to do math.

What Should Stay The Same?
Calorie Tracker: The game keeps track of approximately how many calories you burn per exercise, game or routine. To put it all in perspective, it gives you the approximate calorie count in every day foods. So you can set yourself a goal of burning 70 calories – and then see that that's equivalent to, like, one slice of American cheese and an ounce of avocado.

Routine Setting: You can now customize a workout just for yourself either by picking out different exercises to chain together in a seamless routine that doesn't require any menu navigating once you get going (max workout time is 60 minutes). You can also tell the Wii how long you want to work out for and what kind of exercises you like (Yoga, Strength or both) and how long you want to work out for and it'll generate a routine for you.

Actual Multiplayer: This game can get really competitive. For example, I lost my first run in the Obstacle Course, but then the Nintendo rep told me that nobody on their entire press tour had been able to beat it – so I just had to give it a second go and take the top spot. Also, I totally beat Russ Frushtick's high score in Birds' Eye Bullseye by about 20 points in only one try (take that MTV Multiplayer!). To better facilitate this competitive attitude, Wii Fit Plus introduces a multiplayer mode where you can add up to eight players to a game – you just select Multiplayer Mode from the main menu, choose an exercise or game and when you're done, the game asks you if you want to add another Mii. Once you tell it "no," after adding all your friends, the game remembers how many of you there are and cycles between you accordingly.

It's Fun: Folks, it's no accident that Wii Fit sold so well. It may not melt the pounds off in and of itself (as that jackass on the BART pointed out), but it's fun to play to the point where the weight doesn't really matter. At least not to me – what I care about is being the only games journalist to beat the Obstacle Course on Nintendo's press tour. That's probably what separates me from my sister-in-law as far as the "gamer" label goes.

I Can Weigh My Cat Or Baby: But sadly I can't make her do the exercises. They do get their own icon on the Fit Plaza screen, though, and you can track their weight the same as your own. As long as they pet or baby doesn't mind being held still while the Balance Board measures you both.

Final Thoughts
Seriously – Wii Belly Dance – get on it, Nintendo!