The Best Wii U Games for Fitness

With its emphasis on the new Gamepad controller, the Wii U has put less emphasis than its predecessors on motion controls. Still, neither Nintendo nor vendors like Majesco or Ubisoft are abandoning the Wii U as a platform for fitness gaming. We identify and review the best of the best Wii U fitness games here.

Nintendo launched a revolution in video gaming in 2008 when it released Wii Fit, and EA Sports followed suit in 2009 with EA Sports Active. Soon, everyone out there was developing a fitness game for the Wii. Some were good, some not-so-good, and some were horrible.

When the Wii U launched in November 2012, Nintendo clearly wanted to focus more on the Gamepad controller than the motion controls that made the Wii so immensely popular. They’re paying the price for that, as sales of the Wii U have been far below projections.

But in late 2013, there are a number of motion control titles that look promising. Could they spawn a resurgence of interest in the Wii U as a fitness gaming system? I’ll review new games as they come out on the blog, and as I find ones that are great for exercise and fitness, I’ll post them here to this best-of-the-best list.

The Top Fitness Games for Wii U

1. Wii Fit U

Workout Intensity:

Wii Fit and its sequel Wii Fit Plus were runaway successes in the late 2000s, selling 22.67 million and 20.86 million copies respectively; when added together, making it one of the most successful console games in history.

I’m happy to say that with Wii Fit U, Nintendo has continued to evolve the game in terrific ways. They’ve kept the core Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobic, and Balance Game categories from Wii Fit, and added a new category called Dance. Some of the activities are the same, but they’ve also improved some and added new ones, many of which make innvoative and creative use of the Wii U’s GamePad. As with other Nintendo games, the activities are quick to learn, but still challenging with great replay value (great for working out), and are extremely cute, clever, creative, and in a lot of cases hilarious.

In addition, the addition of a new $20 piece of hardware called the Fit Meter (think FitBit or Nike+ Fuelband), your everyday movements will be tracked and recorded, so you can get a comprehensive view of your daily activity (and “make up” if you fall short of your goals by playing Wii Fit activities).

From now until January 2014, anyone with a Wii U and a Balance Board can download the 31 day trial version on Nintendo’s eShop, and if you buy a Fit Meter and connect it to that game, that unlocks the full version which is yours to keep. If you don’t have a Balance Board, chances are you can get one cheap on eBay. Bottom line–if you liked Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus and have been on the fence about whether to upgreade to a Wii U, Wii Fit U is good enough to push you over the edge.

2. Just Dance 2019

Workout Intensity:

Just Dance revolutionized dance motion video gaming, and it just keeps getting better. Just Dance 2019 adds a great set of new songs with something for everyone, and has capabilities vastly improved over last year’s version.

“Just Sweat” mode can now be turned on throughout the game, allowing you to play continuously for 10, 20, or 40 minutes, all while showing the kCals you burn. It’s not the most technically complex choreography, but that just makes it more fun at parties–and for working out.

3. Wii Street U, Powered by Google

Workout Intensity:

Wii Street U (which I first read as “Wall Street U, thinking it was a stock app”) is an application on the Wii U that let you use your GamePad to “virtually” walk around the world using Google Maps Street View. It was an interesting diversion when it was just on the GamePad, but now that they’ve added Balance Board support, it’s a bona-fide exercise game that’s a heck of a lot more interesting than walking on a treadmill while watching the latest rerun of Gomer Pyle.

Granted, the technology isn’t completely there yet; because Google’s camera don’t capture contiguous street views, it can be a bit choppy. Still, this is one of those ideas that’s way before its time. It’s a brilliant concept, and it’s a thrill to be able to walk down a real street of Seattle one day, New York another day, and Japan the next day.

4. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013

Workout Intensity:

Ubisoft took the first plunge into developing a fitness game for the Wii U with Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. Despite some annoyances, it’s an excellent fitness title that includes Just Dance-like dancing, a yoga exercise portion, and aerobics classes.

It makes pretty good use of the Gamepad controller to assist in setting up profiles and showing status throughout the exercises.

I would have liked to see more innovative, immersive features rather than yet another regurgitation of the original My Fitness Coach, but overall this isn’t a bad game to have in your collection for the basics.

5. Zumba Fitness World Party

Workout Intensity:

Zumba Fitness World Party makes its debut on the Wii U, and is more or less the same as the Wii version, as well as previous versions for the Wii like Zumba Fitness Core, Zumba Fitness 2, and Zumba Fitness. This is a great thing if you’re a Zumba enthusiast, but if Zumba’s not for you, there are certainly other games you can enjoy.

This new version introduces real live-action video dancers and a neat adventure mode where you can go to cities around the world and dance to music from their culture, collecting stars, postcards, and souvenirs along the way.

6. Wii Sports Club

Workout Intensity:

Wii Sports was the granddaddy of motion gaming, of course. Granted, it didn’t give you the most intense workout, but it was the first game to ever get you off the couch and moving instead of sitting and exercising your thumbs.

Wii Sports Club brings back the same sports (first Tennis and Bowling, but eventually Baseball, Boxing, and Golf as well), with the same cartoony feel but with much improved HD graphics and use of the Wii MotionPlus remote which allows for much more precision in play, if a little frustrating to get used to.

Your best exercise is going to be with boxing, followed by tennis and baseball. As we’ve mentioned on this site before, one thing to consider is the use of wrist weights to provide you a little resistance and thus give you a little weight training.

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