This latest health-themed software for the Nintendo DS is meant to promote a more active lifestyle. Packaged with two Activity Meters, Personal Trainer: Walking will help make you aware of your daily activity levels while encouraging you to improve your performance.
Less of a fitness game than a motivational and measurement tool, the software offers little in the way of content. Its main feature is a calendar which keeps track of your daily activity and whether you have successfully reached the day’s step target, which can be adjusted on a daily basis. The program also presents a detailed hour-by-hour graph of your daily walking, highlighting periods of active-walking and inactivity. Read More…
When reviewing your data for a given day, the game will compare your pattern with the previous day. Your start and end time, your longest periods of activity and inactivity, longest active-walking periods and the time at which you reached your target are all displayed. This information helps understand your activity patterns and lets you better plan your day if you are looking to improve your overall fitness.
However, if a second player signs up to use the software, their daily data will be compared to the first players’ results instead. This adds an element of competitiveness which might encourage you to step things up, though ideally both players would have their data compared to their previous scores and the other player’s results. Additionally, Personal Trainer: Walking offers worldwide ranking of your step count via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, so you can see where you stand in relation to other players.
Personal Trainer: Walking will allow you to register up to four Activity Meters per game cartridge. Additional Activity Meters can be purchased directly from the Nintendo online store at a cost of $14.95 USD/$15.95 CAD each.
After evaluating your rhythm, the software will assign a special description to your activity pattern. For example, if you have a quiet day where you walk mostly in the morning, you may be described as a “morning sheep,” while someone who walks a lot with few breaks during the entire day may be called a “daytime horse”.
Daily mini-goals add a bit of depth to the game by requiring players to focus on such things as maintaining their posture, eating proper meals, avoiding fatty foods or walking as much as possible in a day. While meeting these mini-targets changes nothing to the game, I did consider them an incentive to continue playing every day, wanting to know what the next mini-goal would be.
Personal Trainer: Walking includes two mini-games which let you play with your records. In Walk the World, your avatar uses accumulated footsteps to draw a picture for which related trivia is revealed. In Illuminate, the game will count the steps from that day and translate them to energy to light up a little town. Periods of simultaneous activity between yourself and game’s other users will generate extra power.
The design of the game is reminiscent of Wii Fit and features Mii integration. These avatars can be imported from a Wii using local wi-fi or created directly on the DS. Personal Trainer: Walking features an animated Activity Meter character which greets you upon every visit and also reminds me of the Wii Balance Board character found in Wii Fit.
The Activity Meters included with the software are very simple with only a button to sync to the DS and a light which flashes as it counts your steps. The light flashes red until you reach your step target, after which point it will flash green. It has an internal memory of about 48 hours, meaning that you can still register your step count if you accidently skip one day.
If you fail to reach your step target for seven days in a row, the game will prompt you to reduce it. I found this feature unfortunate as it appears to accept failure rather than encourage success. I believe a better approach would have been to suggest means to reach this step target rather than simply letting players give up.
The accuracy of the Activity Meter was also sometimes questionable. At times it felt like the meter started counting steps too late in the day or stopped counting too early. I also experienced difficulties monitoring some physical activity, like when playing fitness games such as EA Sports Active.
Personal Trainer: Walking can be a useful tool, particularly if you already walk a lot and it did raise my interest in maintaining a certain level of activity. However, the software feels incomplete and misses the mark as a “personal trainer” game. For example, nutrition tips could have been a good addition in place of the random trivia featured in Walk the World.
The game did serve its purpose for a time, though after about 20 days of playing I started forgetting to check my data or to wear it as soon as I got up. This software may not be worthy of a purchase at a $50USD/$60CAD price point, unless you are really curious about your daily walking patterns. Otherwise, you are probably just as well off purchasing a regular old step counter and setting your own goals.
+ Including Two Activity Meters Encourages Walking with a Friend
+ Brings Mii Avatars to the DS
- Not a Game
- Offers Little Personal Training or Relevant Advice
Game Forward Score: 3/5
Nathalie Caron > Game Forward
Personal Trainer: Walking (NDS) Quick Facts:
Developer: Creatures Inc.
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Price: $49.99 USD/$59.99 CAD
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)