Active Life: Extreme Challenge Review (Wii)

Posted by Jim Cook, Aug 19, 2009 08:42

Two versions available: It should be pointed out there are two retail products of this game. One is just the game, for $40 MSRP. The other is about $55 to $60 and includes the pad you need to play. If you have a pad from previous Active Life games however, you only need the game disc version; that pad will apparently work with this release (disclaimer: Or so I’m told; I have no way to personally verify this). Note that the pad uses one of your Wii’s Gamecube controller ports, in case this affects where you need to put the pad and its wire.

Wii Fit has been a tremendous success, and it’s no surprise that other companies want a piece of the action. One such effort to cash in is Active Life: Extreme Challenge, which provides various ’extreme sports’ as minigames that you play on what amounts to a variant of a Dance Dance Revolution pad set on the floor. There are about a dozen or so games to play, all of them very short though interestingly enough they do require you to be in different positions. One event may require you to sit on the pad, another on your knees in front of it, and another still wants you to jump on it in various ways.

This variety is perhaps the only thing really going for Extreme Challenge, as each game is very short and while some of them read your motions very well, others are all too easy to slip up on; the sensors in the pad are apparently quite close to one another. This caused me to mess up in a few events, which is frustrating since some of them force you to start all over if you make even one mistake.

Each game is really basic, and some of them just amount to slapping your hands or feet against the same part of the mat over and over very quickly, like some of the racing events. Those are more like time trial events since most of the races send you alone down a track. Others require you to physically jump off of the pad (or jump between different parts of it), though others combine several actions such as foot-tapping to pedal a bicycle, and using your Wiimote held sideways to steer.

While the pad’s accuracy is merely ’passable’ (again, some events read it just fine, others seem too sensitive by far), the construction is alright; it seems to hold up to play fairly well. My only serious complaint is how thin it is, which isn’t fun when your floor is covered by only the thinnest excuse of carpet; I had to put a towel beneath the pad and even then it still hurt to play for more than a few minutes. This is perhaps not entirely the game’s fault however, since one look at the box suggests this is meant to be played in a living room as a family game where things will be more comfortable.

Ultimately, Extreme Challenge is an obvious cash-in on the Wii casual gaming market. It is not bad, but it does little to excel in the field and has some competition to deal with. I suspect this game really will bring joy to some people, but I also think it will bore many others. Personally, I’m not very fond of it and scored it accordingly, but I can’t universally condemn the game; I know someone out there will like it.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Active Life: Extreme Challenge Review (Wii)
3.0 Replay
There are a few extra events and tournaments to unlock, among other things, but I felt little reason to invest the time in it.
6.0 Graphics
An interesting mix of Wii Sports and Jet Grind Radio in overall style, it looks okay.
5.0 Sound
The music and sound effects are basic filler; nothing special.
5.0 Gameplay
The events are a mixed bag. Some work great such as luge racing where you sit on the mat, while others are too sensitive and it’s easy to mess up.
5.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
I had difficulty rounding up interested players, though there seems to be a little family/party game potential here, perhaps.
5.0 Overall
A stunningly average effort to cash in on the success of Wii Fit gets a very average score. Some will enjoy it, but dedicated gamers used to forty hour epics will be disappointed.

Rating: 2.0, votes: 1

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