Fitness and gaming never seemed like something that would go together, but now technology has joined the two. First Wii came out with it's highly sought after Wii Fit. Namco has now released its own version to facilitate fitness in the home - the Active Life Outdoor Challenge for the Wii. When I found this I grabbed it to use an an addition to my workout with my Wii Fit.
Active Life Outdoor Challenge comes with a pressure sensitive mat controller. It has different symbols on it for your feet and hands. You can use it as a controller instead of your Wii remote during game play. I usually forget about this option and I use the Wii remote. All the activities use the mat controller in one way or another, whether you are standing on it, sitting on it, or using your hands. I will discuss other aspects of the mat controller in more detail later in the review.
Active Life Outdoor Challenge allows you to use your own Mii that you have already created, or you can create a new character specifically for the Active Life Outdoor Challenge. Once you have decided on a Mii to use, you are ready to begin. Unlike the Wii Fit, you have both a single-player mode and a multi-player mode, so now you can enjoy your exercise alone or with a friend.
SINGLE PLAYER MODE
Single Player Mode allows you three different options. These are Free Play, Outdoor Adventure, or Exercise Training. Free Play allows you to play any of 16 different games.
Free Play games
Timber Trail - run and jump over oncoming logs
Mole Stomper - use your feet to step on the moles
Kayak Attack - use your Wiimote to paddle your way down the river
Pipe Slider - sit on the mat and use your hands to "push" yourself through the pipe
Mine Cart Adventure - use your Wiimote and some good balance one a mine cart ride
Mountain Boarder - use the activity mat to go mountain boarding
Speed Roller - race through the course on your virtual inline skates
Lake Top Trampoline - jump in the air and perform tricks
Stone Stepper - use your balance to stone along the stones
Sprint Challenge - running
Head on Hurdler - run and jump over the hurdles
Log Leaper - jump over logs
Conveyer Running - running along a course
Seesaw Battler - see how quick your hands are
Jump Rope - jump a virtual rope
These games have Easy, Normal, Hard and Very Hard modes. A new mode can be unlocked by doing an Outdoor Adventure (see below). Many of the games have a goal and are timed. Some games such as Jump Rope are "endless", which means you will keep going until you mess up.
Select an adventure course to play or create your own. A course consists of three free play games. Completing these adventures will unlock harder modes of play for the Free Play games. There are pre-set adventures or you can create your own course. Creating your own course can be done easily. After nearly a month of play, I still have not been able to unlock all of the modes. On some games, I am still only on Easy levels.
You have your choice of several pre-set groups of exercises. You can choose from Full Body Exercises, 5 Minute Easy Exercises, 5 Minute Hard Exercises, Relaxed Exercises, Upper Body Exercises, Endurance Exercises, Jumping Exercises, Reflex Exercises, Balance Exercises, and Marathon. After playing you will see your score and get AP, or Active Points which will be graphed for you on a chart and you get a stamp. The graphing and stamp is a means to keep track of when you did your training and what your scores were. I haven't been paying much attention to the AP or the graph. For me, this is not a necessity, but others may find it useful.
The Multi-player mode allows you to play with a friend, and this mode has three options: Outdoor Adventure, Friend Battle, and Teamwork.
You and a friend complete adventure courses as you would in Single Player Mode
Compete against a friend by choosing various from many of the games in Single Player Free Play. There are eleven Friend Battles.
In Teamwork, you have to work together and communicate to complete the challenge. There are three teamwork games, including Waterfall Climber, a game that can only be found in Multi-player mode.
A problem you may encounter during Multi-player Mode is the size of the mat controller when adults are playing. My husband is 5'11", and I am 5'1". We are pretty much arm to arm when we are on the mat controller. There is the possibility of bumping into one another during running or jumping acivities.
THE MAT CONTROLLER
There is no need to worry about batteries as the mat controller is plugged directly into the Wii. When open, the mat controller is 36 inches by 32 ½ inches. When folded for storage, the mat is 13 inches by 13 inches square, and about 3 ½ inches high. I have been putting it back into the original box, but the box has been ripping, so I need to find another place to store the mat. I think I may put it in one of those Ziploc Big Bags to keep it protected. Do not wear shoes on the mat, and the instructions also say to only play in bare feet since socks can be slippery. Since we are playing in bare feet, I like to clean the mat down with a disinfecting wipe. I find that the mat slides along my rug when we are using it, and we were frequently moving the mat after a game. I have a very low pile area rug, so tried placing a yoga mat underneath it, and that helps prevent some of the sliding. You may have different experience based upon your rug type.
Active Life Outdoor Challenge
Active Life Outdoor Challenge will get you up off your chair jumping, running and moving your whole body. It gets your heart rate going. The first night we had this, my husband and I played different Single Player Mode games for about an hour, and we were both exhausted. We are both in our late 30's, and neither of us do much exercising. This really gave us a tiring workout. What does concern me about some of these activities is doing them in my bare feet. I am somewhat concerned about the effects of running and jumping without wearing supportive shoes.
Of course, my 3 ½ year old wanted to play. The mat is sensitive enough to react to her 31 pounds. In the beginning, some of the games confused her, and some still do get her confused. Coordinating the different symbols can be difficult for younger children. She does best with the running and jumping games. With some practice my daughter was able to figure out some, but not all, of the games. A good option for playing with younger children is to do the team games where you play together. Children a few years older should be able to learn most of the games.
If running and jumping is something that is too much for you, Active Life Outdoor Challenge may also be too much for you. It can feel strenuous if you are not prepared for the amount of activity. For me, this has really been a fun addition to my Wii Fit exercise routine providing me with some great aerobic exercise where I can also compete and play with others. It has also been fun being able to have the family join in and play along with me.
This game has a rating of "E" for Everyone. It was released in September 2008 for a price of approximately $59.99. The back of the box says "More Active Life Games Coming", so anticipate more products to go along with this one in the future.
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