Gamers of the world: Nintendo thinks you’re getting fat. Sure, they’ll throw Wii Fit and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout at you, but deep down, your fat heart hungers for something more. Something Pilates. It’s a workout program focusing on the core postural muscles, and it seems like a natural fit for the Wii’s motion-sensing capabilities to provide immediate, personalized feedback. Daisy Fuentes Pilates is the console’s first foray into Pilates, but it’s also a colossal misfire.
Fuentes doesn’t see it that way. A day after the game was released, the former MTV VJ told USA Today that it “really takes it that much further than what we are used to with [workout] DVDs.” It doesn’t, unless you were looking to increase your overall level of frustration with a workout session.
After an introductory video of Fuentes cheering you on for buying her precious game, you’re unceremoniously dumped into a playground of sloppy menus, vaguely tropical music, and Fuentes’ digital avatar—which more resembles Cindy Crawford’s ugly sister than the woman shown a few seconds earlier. It’d be easy to overlook the Sega Genesis-like graphics if the overall product was robust and engaging, but it’s unclear who this is intended for, as you spend most of the game buying new costumes for Fuentes’ pixelated avatar, or moving the camera around her while she exercises—which would be difficult to do if you were actually working out yourself.
And the workouts are confusing and dull. Newbies will be intimidated by the distracting elements you have to monitor simultaneously: You’re told to keep rhythm with an unforgiving timing bar for each movement at the top of the screen while also watching your onscreen instructor at the bottom, all while laying prostrate or hugging the edges of the Balance Board with your arms or butt, and trying not to strain your neck. Pilates veterans will be turned off by the lack of options: Sure, there are 10 core-strengthening exercises with supposedly varying levels of intensity (the difficulty level sometimes has no bearing on the exercises themselves) and you can program your own workouts, but that’s it. Having the option to change the onscreen workout area for Fuentes like in any fighting game (“Should I go to the massage cabana or the yacht?”) doesn’t exactly cut it. Nor do the menus filled with pep talks that Fuentes will read to you—in your choice of English or Spanish. But it doesn’t matter what language Daisy Fuentes Pilates is in: Ill-considered titles like this are what’s killing the Wii.