Wii Fit U is the sequel to Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, and is playable only on the Wii U. Clearly Nintendo is hoping that they’ll strike lightning again and that at least some of the 42 million people out there who own a Wii Balance Board will not only decide to dust off their old Boards but also join the 3.6 or so million folks who have purchased a Wii U (if you’re on the fence about buying a Wii U, they’ve sweetened the deal for the holidays by lowering the prices of the Deluxe Set by $50 to $300 and bundling either Zelda or Super Mario Bros U).
Now if you haven’t heard yet, there are a few different options for purchase.
- If you own a Balance Board already and are reading this before January 31, 2014, you’re going to want to download the free trial from Nintendo eShop and then purchase the standalone Fit Meter for $19.99. Once you connect your Fit Meter, the free trial will unlock to the full version of the game, so you’ll have the complete set of what others will be paying $89.99 for.
- If you own a Balance Board but prefer to own a physical disc with the game, or are reading this after January 31, 2014, you’ll want to purchase the Wii Fit U and Fit Meter bundle for $49.99.
- If you don’t own a Balance Board, you’ll want to purchase the Wii Fit U + Fit Meter + Wii Balance Board bundle for $89.99.
Being cheap, I of course went for option #1.
My first step was to go to the eShop to download the trial. Since it’s free, you don’t even have to worry about putting a balance in the shop.
– You start by browsing to the eShop from your Wii U Gamepad. Select “Wii Fit U Trial Version”
– You’ll get to a screen where you can read more about Wii Fit U. Click the blue “Download” button to begin.
You’ll go through a couple more screens. The first screen is called “Confirm Your Purchase” that gives the following information about this product:
Due to the larger size of this title, the download could take some time. Additionally, factors such as the speed of your Internet connection will affect the amount of time it takes to download the game. You may need an external hard drive to download this software. Sold separately. Visit support.nintendo.com for information about storage options.
If you have a Wii U Deluxe, you’re probably okay, but if you have the basic I’d have an external hard drive or Flash drive handy.
Click the blue “Next” button. The screen will then turn white and say “Processing..Please Wait”. Finally, you’ll get to a page called “Thank You” where you can view your receipt. While it may seem like the process is finished, it’s actually only begun. I was confused because the eShop didn’t have anywhere to go to view your download in process, but all you have to do is click the “Home” button on your Wii U Gamepad and select the last icon called “Download Management”.
Now I have a pretty fast FIOS connection, but even my download time took about 40 minutes (the estimated time was way off).
While I waited for the download to finish, I decided to get the rest of my equipment ready. I dusted off the old Balance Board and put fresh batteries in. Then, I put fresh batteries in the Wii Remote. Then, I waited…and waited…and waited. I wasn’t too upset, because I figured it was confirmation that yes, I really would get the complete game unlocked once I use my Wii Fit Meter (more on that the next post).
The download finished, but then it took another 20 minutes to install! Total time to get this thing into my Wii U: 1 hour.
When I went back to the home screen, after a delay with the annoying “Preparing…” screen, I finally saw it: the Wii Fit U icon!
The Wii Fit U opening screen starts with the familiar logo and music. A message reminds you that you can use this trial version for 31 days. Another screen will remind you that you need a Wii Balance Board to play the game, and then yet another screen will tell you to register a Fit Meter to continue using this version after the 30 day trial expires.
If you have a lot of saved data from Wii Fit that you want to transfer from your old Wii to your Wii U, you’ll need to go through the process of transferring data from your Wii to your Wii U, another long and rather painful process.
Assuming you’ve done this, another screen shows up saying “Wii Fit Plus data will be transferred, and Wii Fit U save data will be created.” If all goes well, the “Creating Save Data” screen shows up, and then you get confirmation that Wii Fit U shared save data and my save data have been created, and that Wii Fit Plus data has been transferred (as well as any pet data).
On the next screen, it asks me to confirm the right date and time. My clock, for some reason, was off by about an hour, so it made me quit out of the game to adjust the time. I’m not sure why the Wii U can’t just go to the Internet and update the right time for me, but whatever…
When I re-entered the game I was able to see my Mii (and his data) and select it for use.
At long last, I saw our old friend, the Balance Board welcoming me back. Note that my Mii was still in pretty good shape as of the last time I used Wii Fit two years ago.
The Balance Board goes on to explain the new features of Wii Fit U. First, he explains there are new training modes that have been designed for the Wii U GamePad. Also, the Wii U GamePad can be used as a personal display, so the TV can be turned off for certain activities, such as the Body Test (no more having the family crowding around looking at your weight).
You then proceed with the Body Test.
You start up the Wii Balance Board and as with the old Wii Fit you’ll be told to turn on the Balance Board with your foot and to stand on it (without fidgeting) until it’s properly set up.
You’re then told of a new feature that allows you to take photos of your face during the Body Test using the GamePad camera. You can choose to turn this feature on or off, but if you turn it on it’ll store the image of your face and you can see how your face changes over time (it’ll be available in the calendar along with your BMI and Center of Gravity). Photos are saved for three months, but the first photo you take each month is saved for five years so it’s a clever way for you to visually keep track of the progression of your weight loss.
You then proceed with the Body Test. You’ll hold the GamePad in your hands throughout the test, but the weight of the GamePad will be subtracted from your results. As with the old Wii Fit body test, you’ll be asked how much your clothes weigh.
As with the old Wii Fit, you’ll then test your Center of Balance by standing on the Balance Board as straight as you can. The difference this time is that you’re holding the GamePad at eye level and also taking a picture of your face. So you have to stand up straight while keeping your face centered on the screen in a frame. As with the original Wii Fit, you’ll then see a plot of how balanced you are when you stand. If you’re off balance, you’ll get advice on how to correct it, which, according to them will help raise your abdominal pressure and improve digestive health.
Next you’ll see your BMI (or optionally, your weight). As with the old Wii Fit, you see a colored bar telling you in you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. I’m sad to say that while I was just overweight the last time I played Wii Fit, now I was well back in the obese column. And sure enough, my poor little Mii suddenly changed to have a gut the same size as my real one.
The Body Test continues. There’s the same basic balance test as in Wii Fit where you need to shift your weight to balance both your left and right sides at certain percentages.
There’s also a new balance test using the Wii U GamePad where you need to do the same balance test, but at the same time follow a moving ball as it floats in front of you.
Finally, you get your Wii Fit age. Amazingly, mine was at 31, which is much less than my real age. Although notice also that in the course of weighing myself, my poor Wii gained a lot more weight back. Good incentive for me to get back on the saddle.
After all this is done, you “stamp” your progress into the calendar and then proceed to the main menu, which I’ll cover in the next post.