Wii Fit

Wii Fit attempts to target people at a wide range of different levels of fitness with this series of games, activities and tests. This title offers fun balance games which will appeal more to children, alongside more serious workouts.

The first task is setting up a profile so you can track your progress. You can skip this part and use the trial mode, but if you do things this way you won't be able to play many of the games. Setting up a profile means a weigh-in using the balance board, which doubles as a set of scales. There are also a few quick balance tests to try.

At the end of this you'll be given your BMI and Wii Fit Age, and your Mii will podge up or shrink down insultingly if your BMI is too high or too low. Both BMI and Wii Fit Age are flawed as measures of real fitness, so they're mostly there for the purposes of entertainment. BMI takes no account of muscle density, and the only thing your Wii Fit Age tells you is how well you can do their balance tests.

The game encourages you to weigh yourself daily. But it's too obsessive about minor changes. It's entirely normal to see fluctuations of 2lb each day, depending on when you eat. Yet if you gain more than 1lb from one day to the next, Wii Fit asks you to account for it, and there are no options for "I was dehydrated yesterday", or "I need the loo" and so on. In that respect it's a stupid game, designed by extreme weight loss zealots.

By contrast, the activities are far milder in tone. These are divided into four sections: Yoga, Muscle, Aerobic and Balance. Yoga and Muscle workouts are animated with a more realistic-looking trainer, so there's a clear model to imitate. These are aimed at people who don't work out much, since you're forced to start at a very easy level. The longer you play the more activities are unlocked, but it takes patience to get to the more strenuous exercises.

Unfortunately it can be tedious to work through all of the exercises, since there are several screens to click through after each one. Typically this involves balance feedback, trainer comments, your score, and loading screens. Often the exercises are very short. This delay may be fine if you get out of breath after working out for 30 seconds, but anyone who is at least moderately fit will get cool too quickly. There are longer sets of reps to unlock, but again it's not possible to jump straight into them.

Aerobic and Balance workouts use your Mii, and the simple yet colourful animations make these sections especially appealing to children. Aerobic games tend to last the longest. Kids will enjoy trying to make their Mii fall on its face whilst jogging around the island, and Rhythm Boxing is another activity with a high level of fun. Balance games are often more subtle and frustrating, and of all the activities they feel the least like exercise.

A couple of omissions put Wii Fit firmly in the dabbler's category: there's no warm-up sequence, and no calorie count. So whilst this game has what it takes to get couch potatoes moving and to get kids interested in exercise, it won't be of much benefit to anyone who works out regularly.