The 5 Best Wii Balance Board Games

Most people get a Wii balance board, the peripheral that watches how you move your feet, when they get Wii Fit.  But there is more to the balance board than checking your balance and doing yoga.  Here are the five best games for use with the balance board.  All of them will give you a workout, but most of them are more about fun than exercise.

No one would have a balance board if not for Wii Fit, which persuaded a generation they could get in shape playing video games.  But it is the exanded version of the game, Wii Fit Plus, that really makes the balance board sing. I am content to do my yoga without a video game teacher, but Plus is notable for a wonderful collection of mini-games that do pretty much everything with the balance board you can think of.  These games give you a workout, but they're also just plain fun, and for me they are the reason to buy this game. 

Road Trip was the first game after Wii Fit to do a good job with the balance board, offering solid controls and a fun experience.  Either this game or the sequel, Shaun White Snowboarding: World Tour, offer a fun way to snowboard without the risk of frostbite.

While the Super Monkey Ball series predates gesture consoles like the Wii, they fit so well together that it would be hard to imagine the games weren't invented for the Wii remote.  The first Wii Monkey Ball game, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, used the remote, but in Step & Roll the developers added the ability to control your monkey-in-a-plastic-ball as it rolls along narrow, twisty tracks by shifting your weight on the balance board.  This is a bit exhausting, but it works quite well, and is one of the most interesting uses yet for the balance board.

Unlike the other games on this list, Punch-Out!! doesn't center on the balance board.  The game mainly involves punching with the Wii remote and nunchuk.  But optionally you can stand on the balance board and use it to weave and parry, and this works so well and adds so much to the experience, both in fun and in exercise, that it is one of my favorite uses for the balance board.  It's a shame there aren't more games that manage to combine the remote and the balance board as well as this one does.

An admirable but flawed attempt to translate skateboarding to the balance board, Skate It is somtimes fun but often frustrating, mainly because steering is so difficult.  Steering seems to be the big challenge in skateboarding games; Tony Hawk Ride had similar problems, in spite of using a skateboard peripheral in lieu of the balance board, and the only reason Tony Hawk Shred was more successful was because it moved from open areas to narrow tracks that didn't involve a lot of steering.  So even though I found Skate It aggravating, I appreciate the attempt to do something this sophisticated with the balance board.  Anyway, a reader who contributed a user review said he thought I was crazy for not loving the game.

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