We interrupt our fledgling diet coverage to bring you back to video game news.
As the weather breaks 97 degrees here in New York, our thoughts turn of course to, the fall and winter. Specifically, game sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Gamestop have all started to accept pre-orders for Wii U games coming out in the fall to coincide with the launch of the new Wii U (which somewhat ironically itself isn’t available for pre-order yet, probably because they haven’t decided on a price yet).
Here are the games that are looking promising as Wii U fitness games, along with pre-order links on Amazon, Gamestop, and Best Buy, depending on your preference. I’ve put them in approximate order of my anticipation of them based on what I’ve been able to preview so far.
Wii Fit U from Nintendo promises to be a true “next generation” version of Wii Fit that still very much uses the Balance Board, but also makes use of the Wii U’s new “second controller”. I would expect much of the same kind of “eastern-style” workout that characterized Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, with a lot of emphasis on balance, posture, stretching, and so on. The inclusion of a pedometer peripheral also bodes well that Wii Fit U will be able to track your daily workout, regardless of whether or not you do it within the game. For now it’s only available for preorder at Gamestop, but expect it to come to Amazon soon.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 by Ubisoft finally brings the Your Shape franchise up-to-date on the Wii family (the last we saw was the unfortunate Your Shape with Jenny McCarthy). I don’t think the precision of motion detection will quite match the standards set on the Xbox Kinect, but on the other hand expect more cool things to be done with the new controller and expect the developers to make the most of the Wii U’s improved graphics and processor. With EA abdicating its Sports Active franchise and other companies like Adidas and Nike focusing on Playstation and Xbox, it looks like this’ll be the only “traditional cardio workout” game in town. Preorder at Amazon or Gamestop.
Just Dance 4 by Ubisoft is a no-brainer of course. After the franchise has made buckets and buckets of money for Ubisoft, it’s only natural that they’ll be releasing this new version for the Wii U, the Xbox Kinect, the PS3 Move, and yes, the good old Wii all at the same time. Again, expect something different with the Wii U version, where players holding the touchscreen controller will be able to be “puppet masters” for the players dancing. Knowing human nature, you’ll probably get the best workout of your life as your friends make you do outlandish things. Preorder at Amazon or Gamestop.
Sports Connection by Ubisoft rounds out this early list. Curiously, Nintendo doesn’t seem to be interested in producing a follow-up to Wii Sports, the game that established the Wii. Instead, they’ll be focusing on a game called “Nintendo Land” as their bundled game where Luigi, Zelda, Animal Crossing, and a ninja game based on a 1986 Famicom title will all come together to showcase the new Gamepad controller. That leaves Ubisoft to lay the foundation of sports games with this title. Again, expect standard Wii Sports-live action with the twist of your opponent playing against you on the Gamepad. Preorder at Amazon or Gamestop.
If you click on any of the links and they’re dead or some outlandish price shows up, don’t worry, if you place your pre-order the retailers will give it to you for the lower price if it drops between now and the launch date. Speaking of the launch date, a lot of them say 12/31/12, again probably because the publishers are still trying to figure out the best dates (which will most likely be in the September or October timeframes).
From what I’ve seen so far, Nintendo is going to try to market the Wii U more towards traditional gamers rather than to the casual, family audience that embraced the Wii, and perhaps even to place heavier empahsis on the GamePad than on the old Wii remote. I’m not sure how wise a decision this is–it’s best not to bit the hand that has fed you so well these past few years, and Microsoft is itching to fill the void. On the other hand, between these offerings by Nintendo and Ubisoft, it’s clear that there’s still enough room for casual fitness and fun games.
Leave a comment if you hear of any other Wii U fitness games for launch.