By Spencer . September 20, 2007 . 3:33pm
Back at Namco Bandai HQ, I jumped at the chance to try out Family Trainer: Athletic World. There were only a few games in the demo, but I only got to play two of them. The first was a competitive game that has two players on the mat. When logs roll on the screen you need to jump to dodge them. Whoever gets hit two times first falls off and the other player wins. The logs start in basic patterns where both players have to jump at the same time to dodge getting rolled over, but later things got slightly more complicated with logs coming from the side. However, this isn’t a hard mini game at all. Log jumping is what it is. Things get a lot more interesting inside the mine car game.
Like the log game the mine car game is for two players too. The difference is it is cooperative, not competitive. While you casually stand on the mat the cart moves on a track. When you need to make a sharp turn you lift the opposite foot up to shift your weight. For example if you need to turn left, you want to lift your right leg up so all the weight is on your left leg and the cart makes a speedy turn. When you see uphill segments you make a jog in place to make the cart zoom up the hill. And to keep players on their toes there are holes in the track you need to jump over. As a fitness game, I found Family Trainer: Athletic World easy to play, quirky fun. However, the other person I was playing with didn’t seem to enjoy it as much and we ended up falling into those pits on more than one occasion. It’s either that or he was afraid to jump in public. The mine cart game also has a little Wii remote shooting where you can blow up boulders that impede the track.
There were two other single player games in the demo. One was single player log jumping where you jog in place to run forward and jump to hurdle over logs. The other was a rowing game where you made rowing motions with the Wii remote only. The rowing game didn’t use the mat much aside from jogging to get out of whirlpools.
Speaking of the mat… have a look at it up close. Remind you of anything?
Namco Bandai has plans to bring Family Trainer: Athletic World to North American and Europe, possibly with a different name, in 2008. Also here’s a critical detail I extracted, Family Trainer: Athletic World is the first in a series. Namco Bandai doesn’t want this to be a one shot deal at all.