Wii Fit U review

We review Wii Fit U to see if it's a genuinely useful fitness tool or just a gimmick to get gamers off the sofa

Wii Fit U
(Image: © Unknown)

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The Wii was a cultural phenomenon that destroyed the stereotype of computer games as solo pursuits 

predominately played by young males alone in their bedrooms. For the first time since Pong 

families played games together, young and old, male and female. But once everyone tired of 

playing golf with granny and the family tennis doubles matches lost their competitive enthusiasm, it 

was Wii Fit that kept Nintendo's console in the mainstream zeitgeist.

The Wii U now has its own fitness title in the form of the not too imaginatively titled Wii Fit 

U. Like its predecessor, the main required accessory is a Balance Board that acts as scales and 

uses your weight distribution combined with an accelerometer in the Wii remote to track your 

movements. This time around you also have a small device that clips onto your belt called a Fit 

Meter. It's basically a pedometer with an altimeter and thermometer that's used to track your 

movements when you aren't playing the game.

When you start Wii Fit U, data from the Fit Meter can be synced by pointing it at your Wii 

U Gamepad and simply holding a button down. You can then see your activity displayed in clear, colour-
coded charts and timelines that show how far you've travelled and how much of that you were 

walking, jogging or running for in clear, colour-coded timelines.

Wii Fit U

(Image credit: Unknown)

To encourage increased activity 

there are Fit Meter challenges that compare your stats to tangible real-world things and places, such as walking around the 

length of the Great Wall of China or scaling the Eiffel Tower. In essence, it's a simplified version of 

other fitness trackers such as the Nike+ FuelBand SEJawbone UP or FitBit Flex but with a more 

game-centric approach in the ways it rewards your activity.

Another way to monitor and record your fitness gains is by doing a daily body check using the 

Balance Board. It shows BMI and weight, 

but doesn't take body type into account. BMI isn't the most accurate way to measure if someone 

is overweight and without the ability to let the game know whether you are broad or muscular, for 

example, it becomes fairly redundant. Having said that, the graphs showing your weight change do 

provide a good frame of reference for your progress over time, just don't pay too much attention to 

its BMI assessment.

The actual activities range from yoga to repetitive exercises and mini-games such as boxing drills 

that really get your heart rate up. You can also custom make full workouts based on how long you want 

to exercise or how many calories you want to burn. None of these will prove too challenging for 

anyone with fitness experience, but they are all guaranteed to get you sweating and out of breath 

if you put your all into them.

Wii Fit U

(Image credit: Unknown)

A virtual personal trainer (male or female, it's up to you) talks you 

through each workout, offering encouragement and form tips. Besides this advice, you can use the 

camera on the Wii U's gamepad to ensure you are doing a good job of replicating the proper form 

for each exercise.

Wii Fit U will never be comprehensive enough to replace a gym and a proper personal trainer, but 

what it excels at is encouraging you to do some kind of daily physical activity. One of the ways 

is does this is with its online community where you can share stats with other users. Another is the 

constant rewards for playing everyday along with achievements for hitting certain milestones, whether 

it's challenges completed or weight targets accomplished, while the Fit Meter does a great job of making being more mobile a fun ongoing game rather than a chore.

Gym-goers who lift weights or hit the treadmill for extended periods aren't going to see any huge fitness gains (though they could always learn yoga from the comfort of their lounge). But if you're intimidated by going to the gym, can't afford a membership or would prefer not to venture out into the harsh winter weather to train, then Wii Fit U is an entertaining way to get active, and more importantly, stay active. Plus, what other games let you steer a sledge down a mountain by alternating pressure between each of your buttocks? Exactly.

Wii Fit U

(Image credit: Unknown)

The full version of Wii Fit U is available from the Nintendo eShop on a 31-day free-trial until the end of January.

Max Anderton

Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.