An adequate but not show-stopping sequel to Active Life Outdoor Challenge.
August 28, 2009
1ist paragraph here
I had been looking forward to Active Life Extreme Challenge for a long time after being a huge fan of Active Life Outdoor Challenge, the first game in the series (which has occupied and continues to occupy spot #3 on my list of Best Wii Exercise Games). Active Life Outdoor Challenge was just a great game. It introduced a new Wii controller mat, it had a great selection of unique games, and with all but one or two instances, the games were fun and very responsive.
I admit, I was a bit let down with this game. Namco Bandai did a couple things which were unfortunately a big step backwards in their “Active Life” series of games.
Some of the more disappointing things:
- Unlike the original where most of the games were new and unique, a lot of the games in Extreme Challenge are simply uninspired. Extreme Challenge’s Street Luge is really not much different than Outdoor Challenge’s Pipe Slider. Double-Dutch is the same as Jump Rope (and the “Fusion” feature, where you need to follow an on-screen character’s “challenges” is especially frustrating due to poor controller response). BMX is much like “Speed Roller”. Wii Sports Resort did it right, in that all of the game except for two were new, unique, and original, and even the two (golf and bowling), they introduced enough improvements to make them feel new. With Extreme Challenge, it’s just the opposite; almost nothing feels new at all. And speaking of Wii Sports Resort, games like “Wakeboarding” in Extreme Challenge are simply outclassed by the far superior versions in Sports Resort, both in terms of controller response and graphics.
- The mat seems very unresponsive at times. I’m not sure if this is a result of poor programming or just the nature of the mat, but this is the cardinal sin of Wii games.
- I suppose in an effort to make their game appeal to an older, teenage audience, they decided to make the characters and graphics “hip” by making them a bit more realistic and fit, with Little Orphan Annie-like circles for eyes. Personally, I just find these characters a bit annoying. Worse, when you unlock the ability to use your Mii, they plop your cartoon Mii’s head on top of a very fit young person’s body. The result is creepy, to say the least! This is a case where they should have taken a cue from Nintendo, who is not shy about embracing and building a consistent cartoony world, which incidentally I haven’t heard any teenagers I know complain about…
- There are a handful of games which really do introduce something new. Rock Climbing is an interesting game where you kneel on all fours and press different buttons on the pad to make your character climb up a rock wall. Inline Skate and and BASE Jumping are games where you need to use your feet to match a rapidly appearing pattern of buttons.
- Like its predecessor, most of the games are still a great workout. And because they’re so fun (and you can compete against a friend or family member if you have a second game pad), you get exercise without realizing you’re exercising.
- If you have Active Life Outdoor Challenge and need a new Mat, it’s not a bad idea to get this game if for nothing else than the additional Mat. The new games, while they won’t knock your socks off, are fun enough, adequate for extending the use of your mats.
Long story short? It’s worth getting if you have and loved Active Life Outdoor Challenge and want to get a slightly wider variety of games to play and exercise with on your game mat. It’s definitely worth getting if you’ve been thinking about getting an additional mat that’s compatible with Outdoor Challenge and Extreme Challenge (and future Active Life games).
On the other hand, if you don’t already have Outdoor Challenge, I strongly recommend getting that first. Because of its great workout potential, this game will make the Top 10 for now, but the original is still much better.