If you’ve got a Wii U and you already have a Balance Board from your old Wii Fit, there’s a pretty nice deal going on until the end of January. You can download Wii Fit U for free from the Nintendo eShop and get a free 30-day trial (the bundled version with a Balance Board isn’t available for purchase yet). Even better, if you buy a Fit Meter and sync it to the game, you get to keep the game after the trial period is over.
So what is Wii Fit U and what’s a Fit Meter?
I’m glad you asked! Last week I got the chance to spend a little time in the Nintendo Airstream trailer, which has been traveling the country and showing off some of Nintendo’s new and upcoming releases. I’m a bit behind on my videogaming: I have an original Wii and an old Xbox (not 360), and the only portable gaming device I’ve owned is an iPod touch. So Gil Ruta of Nintendo got me up to speed on the 3DS, the 2DS, and the Wii U.
My family had Wii Fit (with the Balance Board) and we enjoyed the various activities. My wife used the yoga more than I did; I was a fan of the balancing games. And of course the hula hooping is a spectator sport. Ruta explained that one of the things fans really asked for was a way to take their Wii Fit workouts out of the living room, and that’s where the idea of the Fit Meter came in.
The Fit Meter looks a little like a pedometer, and has some similar functions—you clip it to your belt and it tracks how many steps you walk. But it also tracks things like altitude and acceleration, which help it more accurately track how many calories you burn. You sync the Fit Meter to your copy of Wii Fit U, and then it tracks that activity in your profile, giving you credit for exercise you’ve done while you’re out and about.
You can pick distance or altitude challenges, too: want to run a marathon (26 miles) or take a walking tour of Italy (653 miles)? Or how about scaling Mount Everest (29,028 feet)? Every time you sync your Fit Meter, you can have your accumulated distances added to your goal, with a little map showing your progress.
Wii Fit U has many of the original games you’ll recognize, but of course there are some new ones, too. One of my favorites, “Desert Course,” involves delivering desserts to guests at a party. (Yeah, you’re working out while the Miis pig out.) The gamepad shows a top view of your tray with the dessert balanced on it, and then the TV shows you and the tray from behind. You walk in place on the Balance Board and steer with the gamepad—but you have to watch that you don’t tip the desserts too much or they’ll fall off the tray.
Another game that takes advantage of the gamepad screen is “Hosedown.” You control a water nozzle while muddy Miis run across the screen at you. You aim with the gamepad (which shows your point of view) and press on the Balance Board with your feet to shoot the water. It adds some fun to doing lunges, and the dual screens let you see the big picture while also fine-tuning your aim.
The Wii Fit U will also have social aspects, of course, letting you challenge your friends to stay active. You can choose how much information to share—for instance, display your progress to a goal but hide your weight. There’s also a feature now where you can track your pets, if you have a fat cat or pooch. With 12 profiles available per copy, you can track your whole family and then some. (Well, unless you have a huge family.)
The Fit Meter retails for about $20, and are available in stores and online now. That’s not a bad price for the full game if you’ve already got a Balance Board anyway. Just be sure to download it and sync it before the end of January. For more information, visit Nintendo’s Wii Fit U site.