I am a big fan of the 10 minute solution exercise DVD's and use them regularly. I also enjoy my wii workouts, so when I spotted the 10 minute solution wii game, I couldn't resist buying it.
The idea of the 'game' is that like the exercise DVD's, this is a series of 10 minute exercise programmes. The game requires a wii-mote as well as a nunchuck for some games. A wii balance board is optional with this game, but having used this both with and without the balance board, I'd suggest it works well with either, so don't worry if you don't have one. Without the board it seems to show you the same exercises - you just do them on the floor instead of the board and you don't get scored without the board.
==Set up and menus==
When you first play the game you will need to set up a profile. This is really easy, you simply type your name by pointing to the letters on the qwerty keyboard that pops up on the screen. You will then be asked to select options such as normal or advanced difficulty, gender, whether you are left or right handed and if you want your trainer's voice to be helpful or bossy! You can set up to four profiles, which is handy if the game will be used by more than one person in your household, but it is not multi-player so you can't play against each other.
When you get to the main menu, you have four options. The first is instant workout. As it sounds this launches you straight into a workout which is chosen randomly by the game. You get the choice to select a background graphic to workout to (this could be Japanese garden, beach, gym etc) and then whether you would like normal or advanced difficulty. From this point it launches straight into a workout.
The second option is custom workout. This gives a list of all of the games available and you can pick two to do in your ten minute workout. It's easy to see which games you are choosing as they are split into categories such as cardio boxing, mixed games or step aerobics.
The third option is 'My Fitness Plan'. I really quite like this feature. Basically what you do is select a day of the week and then choose which exercises you would like to do on which day. You could for example start Monday with three 10 minute workouts have a rest Tuesday, do six workouts on Wednesday and so on. If you're someone who likes to plan your week, then this is a good option to have.
The fourth menu option is simply to edit the profile you set up.
==Playing the game==
The mode I play in most often is the custom workout, as having now tried all of the workouts I know which ones are my favourites. The number of exercises this game offers is fairly limited, especially when compared to some of the other Wii fitness games I own, such as wii fit or EA sports active.
In fact, I can tell you that there are six cardio boxing games, all varying in difficulty, six step aerobics games and then four 'mixed games'. These so called mixed games are badminton, pugil sticks, defender and disc grab.
Each game lasts for five minutes so a ten minute workout is a combination of two games. You have an avatar on the screen who represents you and you can also see your instructor who will show you how each exercise is done and give you a practice try before you do it yourself.
As you play the games a score will count up in the top left hand corner. To be honest this score means nothing to me. There is no indication of what constitutes a good score or what I should be aiming for. If I knew that I might be more inclined to do my best to achieve a good score.
As mentioned there are six different step aerobics routines in the game. My favourite wii fit game is the step aerobics and I must admit I do enjoy doing these routines. There is lots of variation in the routine and they are easy to follow since there is a graphic of a balance board (whether you happen to be using one or not) showing where you should place your feet. I do actually feel like I'm getting a bit of a workout with this one because the pace is fast even on the standard difficulty setting. For me, this is definitely the best workout of the game.
Cardio boxing is a simple boxing game. Before you are able to go into the main game, the instructor talks you through all of the different moves. These are classic things such as jab, uppercut and cross. The moves show up on the screen and you must complete these moves in sequence as each one hits the flashing box on the screen. This is an OK game, sometimes it gets annoying as I make the move but it fails to register on the screen. Also the moves come up quite quickly, so I often find it a little confusing and can't manage to keep up the pace with it, but at least it's challenging.
The idea of defender is basically that a trainer is throwing a volleyball at you and you must use the wii-mote to knock the ball out of the way - either that or duck if it is coming towards your face. This is a very simple game without much variation, but I actually quite like it, as it's one where I don't need to think much and I can pretty much workout without noticing on this one.
This is like defender and step aerobics mixed into one. You need to catch a Frisbee at the same time as stepping on and off the balance board in sequence with the foot movements shown on the screen. This one is quite enjoyable, it requires a bit of co-ordination and I feel like I'm working out as I'm virtually always moving with this one.
This is really a very boring game. It is simply a case of using the wii-mote to hit a virtual shuttlecock over a net. I really enjoy playing tennis on EA sports, so though I'd like this, but there is no variation in the game at all. It is simply using the same motion to hit the shuttlecock - right hand volley, then backhand volley. Five minutes doesn't sound a lot, but by the time you get to the end of five minutes playing this you will have lost the will to live. You may also have repetitive strain injury!
Gladiators ready! Pugil sticks is the art of hitting an opponent with a giant cotton bud. This is very similar to the cardio boxing to be honest. You need the nunchuck for this one and the idea is simply to follow the moves on screen in sequence in order to hit and defend yourself from your opponent. Like the cardio boxing you must do each move individually when told by your instructor first before it will actually let you play the game.
The names of all the moves come up on the screen alongside a symbol for each one, but the game is quite fast paced, so it can take a while to get into the rhythm of things and I do feel like I'm getting a reasonably good workout from this section.
==Graphics and sound==
The graphics on this game are OK but not outstanding. The actual characters have a sort of grainy look about them, but their movements are quite realistic and they don't look robotic. On the whole though it doesn't seem like a whole lot of effort has gone into the graphics side of things.
The sound is really irritating. It's just a sort of generic, annoying, almost electric sounding music and I have to admit I usually mute the TV. The instructor has an American voice and I don't mind her too much, she's not too sickly sweet on helpful mode and can actually offer some mildly funny putdowns on the bossy mode.
==Price and Availability==
This game is available from Amazon for £11.50. Having looked around the cheapest I have found it new is actually Argos of all places where it costs just £7.99. It seems second hand you will be looking at paying around £5 at the moment.
Overall, I think this game is OK, but it is certainly not the best wii fitness game available. I would have liked to have seen a larger variety of games to prevent boredom setting in, as a lot of the games on here are very samey.
I do enjoy the step aerobics in particular though and with that one I feel like I'm getting a good workout. Other exercises on here - such as the badminton - don't really feel like much of a workout to me and I don't feel they are overly effective.
Most of the exercises are simple and suitable for beginners and so I don't think you need to worry if you haven't done any exercise for a while or aren't very fit. One thing I would like to see here is a warm up and cool down section, as they are not included and we all know how important it is to stretch and warm up the muscles before exercise to prevent injury.
If you already own a few wii fitness games and are looking for something new, then I would recommend giving this a try. If you don't then I would recommend going for wii fit or EA Sports active before you try this one, as those ones really are much better.