'Wii Fit U' cleverly integrates GamePad into workouts, blasts quads

Wii Fit was one of the biggest casual draws on the console, so it makes sense Nintendo would introduce a new installment for the Wii U. But can someone really work out and use the somewhat bulky GamePad at the same time?

While Nintendo is attempting to bring in a more hardcore audience for the Wii U with games like Pikmin 3, the company hasn't forgotten that the Wii was built on the backs of casual gamers.

Wii Fit was one of the biggest casual draws on the console, so it makes sense Nintendo would introduce a new installment for the Wii U. But can someone really work out and use the somewhat bulky GamePad at the same time?

During E3 we had a chance to play through two of the new fitness games in Wii Fit U, both of which use the GamePad in clever ways. The first was centered around a lunging exercise, working on the upper thighs. The player puts one foot on the Wii Fit pad and one of the floor while holding the GamePad. On the GamePad's screen, we could see Mii's appearing on the screen covered in mud. Their goal: Get us dirty! To clean them off, we used a water cannon, activated by pressing hard on the Wii Fit pad. The harder the press, the more steady the stream, but the cannon can only fire for a short period of time before you need to step off and recharge. After a few minutes of this constant back and forth pressure, our collective thighs were searing, but we were still squeaky clean.

The second fitness minigame we tried had us bouncing on a trampoline. Here we didn't have to hold the GamePad. Instead we rested it on the ground in front of the Wii Fit pad. On the TV screen, a Mii could be seen bouncing. To bounce higher, we had to crouch and snap up just as the Mii hit the trampoline. But there's more complexity, as you also have to maintain balance, staying in the middle of the trampoline. Glancing down at the GamePad gave us a top-down view of the action, which made monitoring our balance a lot easier. Better timing and constant balance lead to higher and higher jumps, scoring more points each time.

Both games, just a small selection of the full list that'll be included in Wii Fit U, were fun and definitely left our legs feeling like jello ... which, actually, is a horrible scenario during E3 week. It's cool to see Nintendo figuring out ways to integrate the GamePad without hindering the workout experience. Whether that's enough to convince the same casual audience to return for another go-around, though, is still hard to say.

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