Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: 10 Minute Solution Workout for Nintendo Wii

I was recently given the opportunity to review the 10 Minute Solution for the Nintendo Wii. Since H2B is the more technical individual in our relationship. I asked for his take on the product. Oh yeah, FTC? We received the product in exchange for our honest opinion about it.

Before you can do any training game you must complete the training for it, if you haven't previously completed the training. This is a good requirement considering all of the health and safety notes listed in the instruction booklet.  

There are three different games to choose from and they are all single player only:
•    Instant workout offers 16, 5 minute, workout games.
•    Custom workout.
•    My Fitness Plan: This option allows you to create your own workout program. You can create up to a 7 day workout schedule with customized routines.

Game options: 

This game comes with your usual array of options for an interactive sports game. You can change the difficulty between normal and advanced. You also have the opportunity to specify if you are left or right handed. The trainer can be customized for gender and voice.

Starting the game for the first time: 

This game has several different control options. I find this to be an excellent option, so you are not necessarily forced to purchase additional equipment, you can choose to use the Wiimote and Nunchuk, two Wiimotes, and/or the Wii Balance Board. 

If you jump right in with the Instant Workout option there are no options to change the exercises you'll be doing, but you do get to choose from several virtual locations. The training segment seems to be mostly dialog driven with your trainer telling you what to do and then following up with a short breakout for you to try each action to make sure you understand the directions. The directions are fairly easy to follow, but the game appears to have it's own internal timer on how long the moves should take and the in game visual queues are not the most intuitive. I'm hoping that this gets better once I start the exercise and can follow the rhythm of the music to aid the progress.

The first exercise that I was tasked with completing was basic step aerobics. The response for the game with the Balance Board was excellent. The transition from move to move is a little frustrating at first though I think most users would adapt quickly that you have to shift your focus from the onscreen trainer to the move name bar at the bottom of the screen to get a better idea of when your moves are going to be changing. The feedback system is very understated. If you are doing the move perfectly you will see glowing light bursts start appearing changing from silver to gold and getting larger the more perfect repetitions you have and you will also get the occasional "Good Job" from your trainer.

The second exercise that I was presented was Boxing. I was looking forward to this since I have several other Wii games that employ boxing as an activity. The speed of the exercise seemed a little slow. If you follow the rhythm of the music track, which is supposed to work as a secondary guide to the visual queues, you will probably find yourself expecting your jabs and crosses to come a little more frequently. A huge failing with the game has to be noted here. There are three basic moves that you are presented with for the boxing segment, jab, cross, and bob.  If you aren't familiar with these moves they are just fancy ways of saying punch with your left fist, punch with your right fist, duck/squat down. The game appears to track the punching action with adequate speed and accuracy.  The ducking worked twice for me during the entire 5 minute exercise. Keep in mind that I'm over 6 feet tall so when I duck down the controllers are dropping at least 18 inches. Needless to say I was not impressed.

If you go to the custom workout you will find three categories of exercises to choose from:
•    Cardio Boxing
•    Mixed Games
•    Step Aerobics

You will also see an option at the bottom of the screen that says Workout Video. There were no on screen clues at to what the video would cover, but since I had all of my exercise choices available on this screen, it made sense to me that maybe there was a stock catalog of exercise videos and corresponding clips would be shown based on what I selected. My assumption was not the case, the video that started playing and was for Ab exercises. The video is good quality and looks like any exercise at home video you would pick up in a store. The video is very fast paced and if you aren't familiar with the moves then you will find yourself wishing that there was a pause or rewind feature. Since that is missing you can either wait for the entire video to finish after 10 minutes or hit the A button to leave the video and go back to the previous screen. Bear in mind that if you do exit the video there is no resume feature, so you will be forced to start from the beginning every time.


◦    I think that the graphics and the variety of activities in this workout game are very good.
◦    The ability to use multiple controller combinations to interact is an excellent feature. 
◦    The structure for the exercises is also well done, so you will feel that you have really completed a good workout if you do 10 to 30 minutes.

◦    This game is really designed for an older audience 14+
◦    It is slow to start, until all of the pre-exercise training is complete.
◦    The seemingly random controller response is very frustrating and this could lead you to start skipping some exercises. Perhaps the developers will make an update for the game that will resolve this issue.

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