The Power Pad is back! Kinda. Okay, maybe the original NES peripheral was a bit overhyped and underwhelming, but in our opinion, its biggest downfall was people not using it correctly. You, in other words. How many of us actually beat Cheetah without ending up on our knees, pounding the buttons with out-stretched palms? That’s right, we all cheated.
But it doesn’t matter with Active Life: Outdoor Challenge, because the pad allows you slap at will in some modes, while in other, the pad will work in conjunction with the Wii Remote... just to keep you honest.
Our hands-on (and that's not to deny our feet) saw us running and jumping over logs in Timber Trial, as well as toiling through Mine Cart Adventure, which honestly, left many a game journalist just a little winded. With two peeps in a kart we used the Remote to pump for speed and shoot obstacles blocking our path. But the real expenditure was having to choreograph the placement of our feet when barreling around turns. If we didn't shift our weight as a team, we’d fall off the tracks. While fun, it's a little harder than it sounds, especially if you're not working together.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Namco's hinting at a number of other game types (just look at the screens, cupcake), including the self-explanatory Water Trampoline, which could be the first game ever to replicate the unwieldy "Double Bounce."
They’ve also confirmed a system that will tabulate how much energy you expel at the hands of Outdoor Challenge, although they weren’t quite dead set on a scientific denomination, such as calories, since different folks can play in different ways (or again: cheat!) Understandable, since Active Life: Outdoor Challenge's focus is on accessibility to everyone. They even made mention of varied training modes for different types of players, whatever that means.
Either way, Namco Bandai stated that Outdoor Challenge won't be the last you’ll see of their Active Life series. We've been assured that the pad will recieve continued support with other games, so it won't be left to collect dust under the couch. It looks to be another solid addition to the Wii's rapidly expanding menagerie of casual party games, plus we hear it'll be significantly cheaper than the Wii Fit bundle - to the tune of twenty or thirty bucks. If that doesn't nail you're preorder, two words: Mii support. Woot, suckas!
Apr 22, 2008