If there was one theme that dominated the Wii last year, it was the sudden proliferation of fitness games. Most used some combination of the Wii Balance Board and the old remote-Nunchuk combo to get you bouncing around, but for Active Life: Outdoor Challenge, Namco Bandai introduced its own exercise peripheral. This multi-input floor mat looked like something that you'd buy bundled with a Dance Dance Revolution game, but in this case it was used for log jumping and mine-cart racing rather than dancing to techno. A sequel is now in the works, Active Life: Extreme Challenge, which will trade in the outdoor theme for a collection of extreme sports.
Active Life: Extreme Challenge is a collection of 15 minigames designed for one or two players. The "extreme" tag varies from entirely appropriate (BASE jumping) to slightly mystifying (double-Dutch jump rope), but for the most part, the type of activities that you'll find in this package are probably more dangerous than called for by your daily exercise regimen.
We had the opportunity to try a number of different activities at a Namco Bandai press event yesterday. Right out of the gate, we tried our hand at the skateboarding game. It's a pretty simple depiction of the sport: You drop in on a halfpipe and then jump off of the mat right as you're about to hit the lip of the opposite ramp. While in the air, you can hit various combinations of the mat inputs to pull off tricks, though you'll need to keep an eye on your position in the air to make sure you have enough hang time left before landing.
Next, we took a seat on the floor to try the street-luge event. No, you're not using your butt to steer like in Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party. Instead, you push on both the mat's left and right arrows to push for speed, and lean on either one to steer. The trick is to avoid obstacles on the track and hit speed boosts to improve your overall finishing time. Then there was rock climbing, in which you sit on the mat and hit the input shown on the next handhold on the cliff, and double Dutch, which is a simple matter of jumping off of the mat to avoid getting tangled up by the rope. Overall, the common theme to these minigames is definitely light and accessible. You probably won't pull a muscle with these workouts, but they do get your blood pumping more than usual Wii fare.
And finally, Wii owners with an extensive collection of extreme-sports athletes running around in their Mii parades should be pleased to know that the game will let you use your Miis in all of the activities. You'll be able to do that when Active Sports: Extreme Challenge is released this summer.