Wii Fit, unveiled at Nintendo's press conference Wednesday morning at E3, sticks with the company's goal of expanding gaming audiences. While I only got to see a handful of the included mini-games, it's already clear that this could be Nintendo's next huge casual gaming title.
The game's draw is the new Wii Balance Board. The board, essentially a weighing scale, measures someone's weight and balance. The board is wireless and will operate on its own set of batteries, independent of the Wii-mote and isn't too dissimilar in appearance to the stepping boards seen in fitness stores and gyms.
Players can assign a real-life height to a profile to help determine his or her BMI, or body mass index. The game will display this number instead of the actual weight. If a player has a Mii, that virtual avatar can be used as well to further personalise the experience as has been the case in titles such as Wii Sports.
Wii Fit will measure players' progress and can display a graph with overlapping stats to compare your improvement against others.
The game, still in development, has multiple games and balance tests to play. Some have players trying to perform various yoga poses while maintaining good balance, or shift weight from one side to the other and holding the position for several seconds. While these may sound easy, players may soon find out just how bad their sense of balance really is.
'... players may soon find out just how bad their sense of balance really is.'
Three of the games currently included are hula-hooping, ski jumping and a game requiring you to tilt a board to move marbles around into holes. These vary in the skill required, with the marble game being an example of a mini-game that is still very much a pure 'game' experience.
Hula-hooping is sure to make for a great time at a party as players will be gyrating their hips in an effort to have the most rotations. As you progress, characters will throw more hoops for you to catch and rotate around until the time runs out. As you can imagine, it's not the most flattering of games to play, but should be fun for all age groups.
The ski jump gives players two tries to make the longest jump possible, while maintaining good balance upon landing. To begin, the player will duck down to gain speed. The lower you duck, and the further forward you lean, the faster your character will speed down the hill. Upon reaching the jump, pop up and stand straight as fast as you can, without jumping, and maintain an even weight distribution between both legs and land. It's clearly not exactly like real life, but already seems like a damn good virtual representation of the sport.
The marble game plays in the vein of Super Monkey Ball and as such should be familiar to a large number of Nintendo gamers. Move the level around and roll the marbles into the holes. The goal here is to complete each level as quickly as possible, without having any of the marbles falling off the board.
Another game that was shown is a football game which has players balancing on the board in order to header a series of balls that are fired towards them. Basically, it is the player's job to lean side to side to hit each ball back out onto the field and to avoid other objects that may be coming toward you, such as a shoe.
Wii Fit definitely sticks with Nintendo's goal of expanding the gaming market. Perhaps it is even easier to play than Wii Sports or Wii Play, as the entire game is played with your feet/balance, with the exception of menu selection. How well the full line-up of mini-games stacks up is still to be seen, but for now it looks like Nintendo are onto another sure-fire hit.