Hidden away in the bustle of the Namco Bandai E3 booth, Active Life: Outdoor Challenge promised a wholesome sort of respite, so we went to check it out in the hopes of working off the effects of catered E3 meals and unlimited Skittles. Though it doesn't incorporate the Wii balance board, Active Life seems to provide a good balance of gameplay options, features, and thoughtful design that make it a candidate for cooperative fun times.
Compared to something like Wii Fit, Active Life offers the ability for players to compete or compliment one another simultaneously using the 8-point foot pad that comes with the game. For those who are exercise enthusiasts, the game actually categorizes its many minigames into "exercise sets" that you can access from a menu. There's even a tracking feature that somehow records your prowess at various activities, so if you'd like to incorporate hopping over virtual logs into your fitness regime, this is technically possible. The game's modes have easy, intermediate, and advanced intensity settings so you can control how much flailing around your living room you'll be doing.
We got to try our hand at one of the cooperative games, which was the Waterfall Climb. In this particular game, the player on the floor mat does the jumping, while the other player holds the Wii Remote horizontally and jerks it upward to pull on the rope. The game is timed, and some of the platforms the jumping player has to land on will crumble, so you need to be reasonably coordinated and quick. When the game completes, you'll get a teamwork percentage that lets you know how well you and your friend worked together. Apparently we're 95 percent friends with the Namco Bandai demo staff.
Active Life: Outdoor Challenge will retail with its floor mat for $60, so the cost is reasonable for some multiplayer active competition. If you're the type of person that likes your outdoor challenges civilized and confined to the comforts of your home, keep an eye out for Active Life in September of this year.