When we last tried yoga on Nintendo's Wii Fit
system, the verdict was mixed. Although the balance board offered good feedback on some poses, it just got in the way with others. Most of the yoga information was accurate, although the alignment
instruction on a few poses was wrong. The game was pretty fun, but more cumbersome and time-consuming than it needed to be. An option to follow a flowing sequence of poses was sorely missed.
A New Wii Yoga Game
So when news began to bubble up that there would soon be a Wii Fit compatible game that focused solely on yoga, hopes ran high that the new game would improve upon the original Wii Fit system, thereby offering an at-home yoga system that yogis would love.
I am sorry to report that this has not come to pass.
Anything that seemed clumsy, low-fi, or not fully realized in the yoga section of the original Wii Fit, is only surpassed, and not in a good way, by this new game. To begin with the most basic issues, the game's graphics are terrible. They are tiny, hard to read, and dark, making navigation difficult. The whole game is really dark. If you return to the original Wii Fit afterwards, you will be amazed by how bright and legible it is.
The game has three modes: Training, Series, and Story. Training mode offers instruction in 30 individual yoga poses. Again, the on-screen teacher is tiny and dark, making it difficult to see. The game makes nominal use of the Wii balance board by displaying an image of the pressure you are placing on the sole of your foot. It's more or less useless information. While it's nice to have access to all the poses at once, instead of having to earn them as in the original Wii, this is the only improvement I can see to the new game over the original.
Unfortunately, the much anticipated Series option also disappoints. The series claim to address such ailments as back ache and arthritis. Testing out the back ache series, I discovered that it consisted mostly of backbends, many of which would be inappropriate for someone suffering from back pain
. Yes, the teachers do move from pose to pose, but the angle at which they are shown often does little to illustrate the poses. Plow pose
, for instance, is shown from the front; all you can see is the instructor's virtual behind. There is really no reason use to this system instead of yoga DVD. With a video, you get a longer sequence (these are just a handful of poses each), plus you could actually see what the poses are supposed to look like and trust that they are appropriate for the conditions they claim to address.
Finally, there is the Story mode. The idea here is that you enter a yoga shala
and are given a guided tour which includes information on ayurveda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
, the chakras
, vitamins, and the opportunity to do a few poses. If you do opt to do a pose, you are dropped with a clunk back into the Training mode. Plus, have I mentioned the darkness? Because this part of the game is really, really dark. And, to make matters worse, it's boring. I am someone who loves to learn about yoga, but a few minutes in this virtual shala will leave you longing for the fun and games of the Wii Fit. Soon, you'll find yourself dreaming about running off to hula hoop the day away.
The game is hosted by model Anja Rubik. We don't see much of her, and what we do see seems oddly unrelated to the rest of the game.
After reading this review, you will not be surprised to learn that I recommend skipping this product. You'll do better sticking to the yoga on the original Wii Fit until something better comes along.