One of the best things about Nintendo's most recent platforms -- particularly the original Wii and the DS family -- has been the fact that the company hasn't been afraid to release "lifestyle" titles alongside more conventional games.
One of the most popular and successful titles of this description was Wii Fit for the original Wii platform, an experience that helped make the process of getting fit fun and accessible, all wrapped in a recognizably family-friendly Nintendo sheen. Wii Fit wasn't just a good fitness package; it also helped redefine how fitness games worked thanks to its introduction of the Wii Balance Board to the mix. Past fitness titles had relied exclusively on motion controllers or cameras to track the player's movement -- not always the most accurate means of doing so; Wii Fit, meanwhile, made use of the Balance Board in a variety of creative ways and, in doing so, was able to measure the player's balance as well as how accurately they could move their arms.
Wii Fit wasn't perfect, however, with the most obvious issues being a lack of content in some events, and the lack of structured programs to aim towards specific fitness goals. Some of these issues were addressed in 2009's Wii Fit Plus enhanced version, but it sounds as if the new Wii Fit U for Wii U will be an even more well-realized complete fitness package -- and even better, you can try it out for a month for free right now.
That's right; over the weekend, Nintendo quietly released Wii Fit U onto the Wii U's eShop, and you can download it without paying a cent. Once you start it up for the first time, you'll have 31 days to continue playing it for free. If you'd like to continue beyond the 31-day trial, you have a few options, though only one of these -- purchasing a Wii Fit Meter, which unlocks the trial version into the full download edition of the game -- is available right now.
The Wii Fit Meter is a pedometer-like device that measures the number of steps you've taken, but also accounts for the intensity of said steps and can thus figure out whether you've been walking or running. It also measures altitude, so it's able to credit you for walking up and down hills and staircases, and thus can give you a good idea of how many calories you burn per day in your everyday life. It transfers its data to the Wii U via infrared connection with the GamePad, and thus allows you to track activities you've done outside of the Wii Fit U software as well as the things the game has given you to do. It costs between $20 and $30 depending on where you buy it from, and it's available now.
The alternatives to purchasing a Wii Fit Meter involve purchasing the full software as a digital download, a boxed package including the Wii Fit Meter or a boxed package including both the Wii Fit Meter and the Wii Balance Board. The physical editions of the game will be available from December 13 of this year; the standalone download version will be available from February 1, 2014. The reason there's such a disparity in release dates is because the downloadable 31-day trial version that is currently available is a time-limited deal; it'll only be on the eShop for free until January 31 of next year, after which you'll have to pay full whack for it.
Note that a Wii Balance Board is required to use Wii Fit U at all, so this 31-day trial will only work for those of you who still have one knocking around from the previous generation -- or those of you who manage to acquire one in the meantime. Those of you who previously played Wii Fit will be able to import their save data if you've previously transferred all your Wii saves across using Nintendo's utility.
Wii Fit U is out now; check the eShop from your Wii U's home menu to find and download it.