by William Thompson
reviewed on WII
Let's get physical
Back when I still lived at home with my folks, my Mum would often start new fitness / weight loss regimes. There was this one time at band camp... no wait, that's something else. I remember on one occasion, where she would wake up early to watch Aerobics Oz Style and I would laugh as she tried to follow the TV instructor's moves. I watched the show too, but for a whole different reason than Mum. I think after a number of episodes she decided to go out and buy a VHS copy of the show so she could "exercise" when I was at school.
How things have changed
Of course, many people don't use VHS systems to watch videos anymore. DVD's and Blue-ray has become the staple of most video watchers. But when it comes to workout videos, the new kid on the block – the Nintendo Wii – is beginning to flex its muscles. The motion controller and the Wii Balance Board have meant the Wii is fast becoming the apparatus of choice for home fitness.
New U Fitness First – Yoga and Pilates Workout is the latest game attempting to cash in on the growing Wii phenomenon. Indeed, it is more of an instructional video than a game and at times the game did not even require a controller, but I will get to that later. Prior to beginning the game, I knew next to nothing about Yoga or Pilates. I was even under the impression that Pilates was something that you did on the high seas in search of pieces-of-eight and buried treasure. Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea. But after just a handful of lessons I can easily distinguish between the Downward Dog and the Dolphin.
The game does a great job of setting you up for your lessons. After initially setting up a profile for yourself, the game requires you to enter your body shape from one of three choices. Alright… I was the middle category. I'm probably not in the optimal physical condition and could stand to lose about five kilograms. I do actually compete in a weekly sports competition, so I'm not totally out of shape though. After selecting your body shape, the game then asks you what your goal is. There are a number of options here ranging from increasing flexibility, to losing some weight and even de-stressing.
After selecting your objective, you can then select a trainer. Now, there is nothing more motivational than a gorgeous woman in skimpy athletic gear. I guess this goes for both sexes. The female players will want to look in a similar shape to the instructors, whilst for the males, the instructors will get the heart pumping. In this regard, the developers have increased the target audience, which would be primarily female gamers. Anyway, after choosing your desired trainer, you then get to select a background setting. The backgrounds are tranquil settings that enable the relaxation exercises to fully be appreciated.
Then it is time to choose your workout routine. As I mentioned earlier, my knowledge of Yoga and Pilates was minimal, so I decided to start at the lower scale so that I could learn as I went along. Each of the workouts is designed to work on your objective and at your level of proficiency.
There is a tutorial for each of the exercises so that you know how to perform each exercise prior to the workout. I have to admit that the first series of exercises were not overly taxing (I was working on the stomach toning objective), but some are there just to get you relaxed it seems anyway.
The instructors are very easy on the eye, the menu system is very intuitive
Minimal controller use, not for hardcore gamers.