WII FIT U (E)
It’s the dawn of a new year, but it won’t be for long, so it’s important to make the most of those ambitious New Year’s resolutions before they inevitably fall by the wayside. And if one of those resolutions is to get in better shape, then Nintendo is here to be your virtual gym coach. Wii Fit U begins with an assessment of your fitness, determining your Body Mass Index based on your weight and height. Since the game can’t measure factors like your muscle to fat ratio, your BMI might not be entirely accurate, but like any good personal trainer, it errs on the side of making you feel like a lazy tub of lard and then challenges you to reach specific fitness goals. These goals can be tweaked to suit your personal preferences, whether you’re focused on cardiovascular health, improving your balance or just burning a predetermined number of calories in order to reach a target weight. To accomplish these goals, Wii Fit U offers a series of yoga routines and movement-based mini-games.
This probably sounds extremely familiar to anyone who played the original Wii Fit, and this game is really more of an expansion to that title than a proper sequel, but there are some notable additions. Chief among them is the pedometer—a Tamagotchi-sized peripheral that counts your steps throughout the day and can then be linked to the game, adding your strolls to your stats. Also, the gamepad’s additional screen makes itself useful during yoga, when you’re tasked to perform poses that make it difficult to keep your eyes on the TV. Or, if you’d rather not have to choose between exercise and couch potato time, you can watch TV shows while getting your workout instruction exclusively from the gamepad screen. Ultimately, the mini-game nature of the activities are distracting enough to keep you from realizing that you’re actually getting some exercise…until the aches and pains kick in the next day.
NES REMIX (E)
NES Remix is like a Cliff’s Notes version of ‘80s gamer nostalgia. Sixteen old school NES games make appearances here, but none of them in their entirety. Instead we get bite-sized snippets of gameplay. These out-of-context vignettes might bring a nostalgic smile to those who grew up with the original Nintendo Entertainment System, but they’re liable to be confusing or pointless to anyone else. And “remixed” moments where you play a level of Super Mario Bros. upside down or navigate Donkey Kong’s maze as Zelda’s Link are interesting novelties, but are never particularly challenging.
STRENGTH OF THE SWORD 3 (E10+)
In this cartoonish hack-‘n-slash game, you’re a lone golem warrior with an ample (and ever-growing) assortment of sword moves. The recipients of these moves are your usual, garden-variety demonic hordes. What makes Strength of the Sword 3 distinctive is its surprisingly steep learning curve. You’ll regularly unlock new combos, but you’ll be forced to test and master them in the heat of battle. Enemies are relentless and aggressive, so you might have to sacrifice one or two lives just to determine whether or not your new dash attack is even worth using.