A game that leans exer-gaming in the right direction, without quite tipping it over into must-play.

Making exercise less boring. For millions of gamers, this was the promise of the original Wii Fit. Sure, the game and its scale-like Balance Board controller could guide and grade you through simple yoga poses and strength-training exercises. But those sections of the game largely replicated exercises you could learn easily from a book or an exercise video.

The real appeal of the original Wii Fit — the thing that made it unique — was found in the Aerobics and Balance Games sections, where the game promised to distract and entertain even as it provided a full-body workout. For a generation that grew up controlling on-screen characters with their thumbs, this new mixture of gaming and exercise had the potential to be a hell of lot more interesting than jogging on a treadmill for an hour.

But most of the games in Wii Fit had a crucial problem: They were shallow. Extremely shallow, for the most part. While they held up decently well for the first few hours, few had enough depth to sustain a gamer’s interest for the weeks and weeks of regular exercise that make up a regular fitness regimen. It only took one or two play sessions to master the art of launching off a virtual ski jump or walking across a virtual tightrope or twirling a virtual hula hoop, or most of the other one-note activities presented in Wii Fit. After that, the games had roughly the same entertainment value as a stationary exercise bike (which provides a much more robust workout, by the by). The concept of “making exercise less boring” only works if the games themselves aren’t, you know, boring.

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