The Biggest Loser Challenge
Reviewed by Nutwiisystem on November 17, 2010.
Summary: A must-have for fans of the TV show looking to lose a little weight themselves with the help of Bob and Jillian.
One of the nice things about video games is that they let you experience things you otherwise couldn’t. Most of us will never fly into outer space or face down a major league pitcher throwing 99 MPH. Similarly, most of us will never be invited to the real Biggest Loser Ranch for personal training sessions with Bob and Jillian. But The Biggest Loser Challenge comes remarkably close.
The scenery in the game should be familiar with anyone who’s seen the TV show. The opening screen is an exterior shot of The Biggest Loser Ranch, and throughout the game you’ll see familiar settings, from the gym to the Pool to Bob’s Yoga Pagoda and Jillian’s Boxing Ring.
The Biggest Loser Challenge is basically an exercise program where you can set up a regular schedule of exercises (anywhere from 2 to 6 days a week) over a course of 4, 8, or 12 weeks.
When you start the game, you’re asked to create a new profile. You enter your name and if you have a balance board your weight is displayed (warning: unlike other Wii exercise games, this one doesn’t conceal your weight, so anyone in the room can see it).
After this, you have the choice of selecting from one of 10 preset programs. These include:
- Boot Camp: A 4-week detox program, perfect if you’ve taken a break from exercise and want to kick back into shape.
- Marathon Man: A 12-week program at a very intense level of difficulty.
- New You: A 4-week program for beginners.
- Super Weight Loss: A 12-week program designed to help you lose weight fast.
- Slimming Weight Loss: An 8-week program designed to help you tone and trim weight at a steady pace.
- Enlightenment: A 12-week program with a focus on Yoga routines that help you destress.
- Belly Buster: An 8-week program focused on slimming, toning, and strengthening your stomach.
- Beach Buns: An 8-week program to help you tone and shape butt and thighs.
- Armed and Dangerous: An 8-week program focused on building upper body strength in your arms and chest.
- Fighting Fit: A 12-week program of box-fit routines to help your agility, coordination, and stamina.
You can also allow the program to create a personalized program for you . This is where things get pretty neat. The first step is for you to go through a 30 minute “fitness test”. This basically runs you through a series of different exercises at 5 different levels (light, moderate, challenging, hard, and intense). You perform the exercises as best as you can. The system will use the Wii remote and/or the balance board to check if you’re doing the exercises.
At the point where you can’t do any more, the system will automatically end the test and recommend that level for you. I really liked that the levels were really accurate–“challenging” really meant challenge, and “intense” really meant intense. For me, by the time I got to the challenging levels, I was already out of breath and sweating.
Once you have an intensity level set, you enter your gender and your birth date. Next, you go on to the “Body Analyzer”. This is where you verify your weight, and then enter your height, neck size, chest size, and hip size. You then select your target weight.
Finally, you’re ready to set up your daily schedule. You select the length of time you’re able to work out each day (from less than 20 minutes to over an hour) and then choose your trainer. Unlike the previous encarnation of this game, you can choose Bob, Jillian, or both of them.
They’ll take you through one sample workout session. It consists of different routines, basically reps of different exercises each a minute or two in length. You have to follow the on-screen image of Bob or Jillian as if you were looking at them in the mirror. A countdown clock will show you the amount of time remaining for each exercises. One nice touch is that you see a figure in the background that is the exact body shape and size you entered before (which I prefer over the first game, where you had to choose a former contestant to be your on-screen character).
Once you finish the sample workout, you can decide how often a week you want to work out (anywhere from 2 to 6 days), and then the duration of your fitness program (4 weeks, 8 weeks, or 12 weeks). Optionally, you can turn on calorie tracking, so you can enter the number of calories you eat every day.
The first time you start your exercise routine, a new “health and lifestyle task” will appear on your calendar. This is where you can customize that on-screen character to look like you. You can adjust its ethicity, its age, its starting weight, and even tweak features such as its eyes, eyebrows, nose, ears, lips, and jaw. You probably won’t get it looking exactly like you, but you’ll definitely get it “close enough”. It’s neat seeing yourself (with your exact body shape) in the world of The Biggest Loser.
After this, you’re ready to begin your routine. A calendar will show you the upcoming workouts that are scheduled. Workouts range from core exercises to circuit training to specialized workouts like “box-fit” or yoga. Every now and then there’ll be a challenge game. You’ll also have a regular weigh-in, just like on the show, which will use the balance board to measure your weight.
The training exercises are basically core, calisthenic, boxing, and yoga exercises. There are a lot more exercises available since the first game (I counted 117). They range from jumping jacks to jump rope to boxing to lunges and twists. It’s a very complete set of exercises.
The challenge games are based on challenges shown on TV: Slipstream, Boom or Bust, Light Cycles, Sprint and Slide, and Punch Clock. As in the first game, you’re not actually doing the actual movements of your on-screen character, but you’re doing an exercise routine, following a small image of Bob or Jillian. The more accurately you do the exercise, the better your on-screen character will perform in the activity. Like the TV show, you go through rounds of competition. It’s a fun way to add a little variety to your exercises.
From your personalized workout menu, you can view your calendar and choose ad-hoc exercises or challenges (which are added to your daily total).
The Profiles and Settings option allows you to run the Body Analyzer again, or view achievements and trophies. You can also choose additional exercise equipment to use in your workouts (either a stability ball or a resistance band. I didn’t see free weights as an option, even though the advertising material said they’d be in there).
There’s also a “Health and Lifestyle” option which lets you view recipes, get tips and advice from trainers and former contestants (these are also randomly displayed for you throughout the game), and calculate your Biggest Loser Know Your Number “KYN” HeathScore.
Some other thoughts about the game:
- There are options which allow you to exercise with someone else. This is great motivation when you get tired of exercising by yourself.
- The motion controls were mostly accurate, with a few glaring exceptions. For the life of me, I couldn’t get my motions to register for exercises like jumping jacks and jump rope. By now, I’ve come to realize that this is just something endemic in Wii games.
- As with most exercise games, you need a lot of room, especially for exercises which use the balance board.
- The game is definitely more affordable than other games such as EA Sports Active 2 or fitness games on Kinect, yet makes you sweat just the same.
- One thing that some may find a little annoying is that the game will often tell you to switch the Wii remote from the left hand to the right hand and back. I realize this was in the name of precise controls, but after a while it just got a little tiring.
- One thing I really liked was that the encouragement that Bob and Jillian shout out isn’t just empty platitudes as in other video games, but they actually teach you proper technique and form.
All in all, this game provides a very solid and complete exercise routine which you can use to lose weight. I admit I would have liked to see some more “video game elements” in the game to make it more fun (e.g., being able to actually control the on-screen character in the challenges), but at the end of the day this title is a traditional exercise and fitness title, nothing more, nothing less.
If you’re a fan of The Biggest Loser TV Show and have always felt you could use a little personal training from Bob and Jillian to lose a little weight yourself, this is definitely the Wii exercise title for you.