Walk It Out
Release Date: 01/12/2010
Long-time readers know that I’m the go-to guy for exercise or Bemani games on the Wii. Walk it Out is Konami’s attempt to cross the two over. With Rhythm games, Konami has generally done a really good job with DDR Hottest Party 1, HP2, and HP3, which came out a few months ago. There are also god awful rhythm based games like Just Dance.
Then there are the exercise games. Exercise games for the Wii have either been excellent or awful. Your Shape and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout are the best of the bunch while EA Active and Wii Fit turned out to be little more than snake oil giving the illusion of exercise while actually provided improper techniques and worst of all, exercises that are actually bad for you, especially your hips, joints, knees and ankles. One of the worst that both those high profile but crappy games feature is walking/running in place. It’s bad for your knees. Now treadmills have impact boards built in to counteract this, but just running in place on your floor or in your basement will put undue stress and pressure on your joints. Bottom line is you shouldn’t do it.
Now Walk It Out appears to have taken all that into consideration by providing you a game where you can use a DDR pad or balance board instead of using the default walking in place option. However, it’s also a game where all you do is walk. So how does it hold up?
So, here’s the game. You customize an avatar with extremely limited options while a “coach” voiced by what sounds like a cross between a six year old girl and Fran Dresher talks to you. After you make your character, you are let loose on a track to practice walking. After you pass the practice track, which involves listening to Katrina & the Waves’, “Walking on Sunshine” three times in a row, you are allowed to leave and then begins the actual game…
…which is just walking around an island with really bad 3-D graphics that look like they are early PSX/Saturn level in quality. That’s it. You just keep walking. While you are walking you can use the Wiimote to pick up little tokens that help unlock more places to walk or actual scenery so you’re not in a desolate wasteland. “Oh look, I got enough tokens to put a bench on the island! Now I have a fire hydrant! I guess I’ll walk some more, I’m so hooked.” You can also collecting things like Rainbow Spheres or pieces of CD’s to unlock more music, which I strongly suggest you do, because you are stuck with only a few tracks at the beginning and all of them are ear-bleedingly awful. I guess that’s one way to motivate you to play longer.
That’s it though. You just walk around the island looking at bad renders of people and places. There are three mini games that are available from the start as well, the only good one of which can only be played with the DDR pad, so if you are a balance board user, you are screwed. The hilarious part is that some games can’t be backed out of unless you hit the home button and go back to the Wii menu, losing all your progress. This game is full of so many design flaws it’s laughable.
So all you do is walk in a badly rendered island listening to (potentially) 120 tracks of music, most of which are pretty awful. There is absolutely nothing fun about this boring, repetitive game and I jog five miles every day. You would think I, who likes to get up and move my legs rather than being a sedentary couch surfer, would be able to find some redeeming value in this title. THERE IS NONE.
Modes Rating: Worthless
Every time I think the Wii has hit a new low with visuals for this generation, I get something that proves to be even worse. Walk It Out makes things like Valhalla Knights or M&M’s Beach party look like visual masterpieces. This game looks like something made in an early 1990′s “Introduction to Programming” course. Honestly, if the game is just walking repeatedly, you need to have some sort of decent scenery. It’s not like the game will let you run, so you can focus on speed and pacing. Nope, it’s just walking, and you’re forced to do it in front of some of the worst graphics to ever grace your screen.
Your avatar looks like Charlie Brown with a bad post-chemo wig. The colours are dull, things are poorly rendered. Visuals are basic and look like they were from a decade ago. Honestly, if you’re going to do a walking course, who the hell thought unlocking benches or shrubs would make the game interesting or exciting. Where’s a path along a bubbling brook or hiking through the mountains where the reward is a glorious view of a valley below. None of that is in Walk it Out. This thing is ugly. Damn ugly. I get a better view using my treadmill where I stare at a wall for thirty minutes.
Graphics Rating: Worthless
On one hand, this game boasts the largest soundtrack for a Bemani game ever. With over 120 songs, it dwarfs the collection you can find in an actually fun game like Dance Dance Revolution. On the other, the music is all god awful. Let me give you an example of where bad game design and the horrible choice of music can drive one mad as if this game was a Lovecraftian Horror…
There is a horribly designed mini game called slide whose controls barely work and for which you only use the Wiimote. The walking is just put in so you have to walk while playing. The song I was stuck with was The Pussycat Dolls, “When I Grow Up.” Now, you can’t back out of this game, or even pause it once you start. Your only options are to play or do a hard reset of the game. I had to listen to that damn song for ten solid minutes, looping over and over, while I tried to get the controls to even remotely respond. This, my friends, is no doubt what a sample of Hell is like.
It’s also extremely convoluted to change your song lists. First you have to go to the menu screen, which you have to reach with your wiimote while still walking. Then you have to go to the songs area. Then you have to choose from one of many preset playlists that cannot be edited save for turning a song on or off in them. Then you have to go into that list and decide what you want to listen to, many of which only have a single song for the beginning of the game which means you have to listen to the same awful track over and over again. Would it have been that hard to add a song fast forward, shuffle option, or skip button to the Wiimote controls? NO IT WOULD NOT.
So you have a large soundtrack but with tracks only the mentally infirmed can enjoy. Why Konami? Why do you hate your audience so? I’m also peeved you can put this many songs into a crap game like this and not into a DDR title…
Sound effects are pretty lame too. It’s basically 8 or 16-bit MIDI quality and it’s like blurp or squwark noises when you grab an item or unlock something. It’s all pretty annoying. Worst of all are the voice actors for your trainers. I want to know who cast these people so I can berate them (I’d say pummel, but that’s assault). They are some of the most obnoxious voice actors I’ve heard to date. They also say nothing of importance. It’s just awful all around.
I’ll be kind and give this game points for having such a large soundtrack, but when your big reward is unlocking more awful songs, there’s something insidious with your game.
Sound Rating: Mediocre
4. Control and Gameplay
Now here’s the crux. All you do is walk. Remember what I said in the opening about how you should never walk in place and how it is bad for your hips, joints, and knees? Well unfortunately, that’s all this game is. Basically you are paying $29.99 to do eventual damage to your legs. HURRAH!
The Wiimote and Nunchuk control scheme is right out because honestly, it’s bad for you, no matter what surface you are on. The game also expects you to walk in place for a mile+ every day, which is just ludicrous. Again, I run or jog every day and I can feel things not moving/clicking right in my ankles and hips after ten minutes with this game.
The DDR pad scheme is about as bad. After all, you’re still walking in place and at a very awkward pace. It’s doing it on quarter beats (although you can slow things down) but I walk a little bit faster than that so I am basically punished for having a faster gait. Thus the game becomes a very slow version of DDR for me and it’s awful. The one good thing about the pad is that you can walk around on it or use any of the face buttons. This means you do have to stand bowlegged on the left and right arrows, slowing stretching your groin muscles in a way you’re not meant to. You can even walk around on the pad, as long as it’s a direction arrow or button key. This prevents the straight up walking in pace wear and tear, but it’s not much better for you in the scheme of things.
Finally there is the balance board which, if you use it as a step that you go back up and down repeatedly, provides you with the closest approximation to actual exercise you will get from this title. However, there is a reason Wii Fit doesn’t have you use the balance board like this or this often and that’s because it’s simply not designed for that much wear and tear. Using this method means you’ll need a new balance board, which means you’ll have to buy a new Wii Fit, and honestly, if you already have Wii Fit or DDR, why would you lower yourself to owning this in the first place.
The other bit of control is holding down the B button and using the wiimote to look around. Sadly, the axis is inverted on this, and the game never tells you this, so expect to be confused as the motions aren’t natural or fluid. Younger gamers will be especially confused as to why up is now down and vice versa. All you can do while looking around is grab more crappy items anyway and using this often obscures your walker from your view as well as any potential arrows and trails you can go down.
Simply put, this is one of the worst games I have ever played. It functions, but just barely. Even worse, it does so in a way that is REALLY BAD FOR YOUR LOWER BODY. What the hell, Konami?
Control and Gameplay Rating: Worthless
There’s a lot to unlock in Walk it Out, be it scenery, music, or new places to walk. However, this doesn’t make up for the fact that it is both the worst game I have ever played, as well as the most boring. Honestly, in order to play it you need to already own DDR or Wii Fit and either of those is a better alternative to this. Also, considering the game has you walk in place in such ackward ways, why not just GO OUTSIDE FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES AND WALK AROUND. You’ll get a better view, better exercise and you’ll get some sunlight and possibly even make eye contact with another person. These are all things you can’t do with Walk It Out.
There is absolutely no reason to buy this game, much less play it. There are superior exercise options available for the Wii, and you can have more money going up and down stairs in your own home while listening to an iPod. You’ll get a better workout too.
Replayability Rating: Worthless
Balance doesn’t really enter into this game at all. It’s just walking around in place. Worst of all the game forces you to confirm to one of two rhythms, neither of which is a natural walking pace for the majority of people. This means you’re not so much as walking in place as hopping or shifting your mass in time with the beat. Again, this is not good for you and you have to wonder who thought this was a good idea, or even a fun one.
If one wanted to make a quality walking game it would need
A) to let one move at their own proper rhythm instead of forcing one on a person
B) feature extremely nice graphics to even remotely make this an alternative to going outside and actually walking
C) not featuring walking in place which again IS BAD FOR YOU.
In all, this is a badly designed game that does the opposite of what it is meant to be. Shame on you Konami.
Balance Rating: Worthless
There are lots of games that have you use the balance board. This is the first game outside the DDR games I’ve gotten to use my DDR pad with though. As well, although there are other games that contain walking in place horrors, this is the only game that has treated it as a SINGLE game. So yes, you’re getting the game for half of Ea Active or Wii Fit, but you’re only getting a single exercise, and easily the worst one any of these faux exercise games offers (Although crazy jumping is just as bad). If you want a cheap exercise game that actually works, plop down twenty dollars and go buy My Fitness Coach or Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout which is still in my top ten Wii games of all time because it is crazy fun as well as good exercise.
The game is definitely original in its ostentatiousness and Konami certainly has brass balls to sell a game this limited and shallow. It’s definitely a dip into the water to see what people will pay money for, that’s for sure. Walk It Out is certainly innovative in its own ways, but none of them are flattering.
Originality Rating: Poor
Are you kidding? Ten minutes into this game I wanted to stop. Why? Because I knew I was doing something that was bad for my legs. I knew it was ten minutes I could actually have been moving at a normal pace that wasn’t doing harm to me and getting fresh air and/or sunlight. I could walk through my quaint little village of Shirlington onto a path that a river runs by for miles. Even though we had a Winter Storm Advisory and it was coming down in huge white flakes, it still would have been better than sitting through this horrible game.
You’re paying thirty dollars to do something you can do better without anything other than your own flesh and blood! Why would anyone pay for that or willingly get this? More importantly, why would anyone willingly sit through this unless they had to review the game for a gaming website and they were the only staffer with both a balance board and DDR pad? Here’s a hint: THEY WOULDN’T.
Addictiveness Rating: Worthless
9. Appeal Factor
No one should buy this game. No one should play this game. If you willingly paid money for it, please still have your receipt. If you actually found something to like about this game, check yourself into the nearest mental asylum posthaste. There is nothing enjoyable, fun or stimulating about this game. In order to play it, you already have to have Wii Fit or a DDR Hottest party game, and those are far better exercise for you, not to mention more fun than this horrible disc of suck and evil.
NO ONE SHOULD EXPERIENCE THIS. NO ONE.
Appeal Factor: Worthless
This is the worst “game” I have ever played. Honestly, the only way a game could get worse is if you paid 100 dollars for a game that was nothing but footage of your friends, family, and pets being sexually violated and you used the Wiimote to control the camera angle. This game is bad for your body and you’re paying $30 to walk in place to a horrible video game instead of actually walking and seeing the world or going a few blocks and getting some fresh air. This, my friends, is insanity made digital “entertainment.”
Miscellaneous Rating: Worthless
Control and Gameplay: Worthless
Appeal Factor: Worthless
FINAL SCORE: AWFUL GAME!
Short Attention Span Summary
Walk It Out is the worst game I have ever had to sit through. This is easily the top contender for “2010′s Worst Game of the Year.” There is no redeeming value in it whatsoever. You’re paying thirty dollars to WALK IN PLACE which is horrible for your hips, knees, ankles, and joints to begin with. You are better off just going outside and walking a few blocks. It’s cheaper, prettier, and if you had some sort of music player, it’ll sound better too. If you know anyone that has willingly purchased this game, call your local religious official and have them perform an exorcism on them STAT, as they are no doubt possessed if not an agent of Dread Cthulhu itself. Ia! Ia!