Helix Review

Those sneaky game developers! They’ve been insidiously trying to get us gamers to exercise by making these types of games fun. They started with Dance, Dance Revolution, Wii Fit, and now the latest game to hit the exergame genre, Helix for the Wii.

If you have anxieties about not looking cool while playing this game, you’d better play it behind closed doors or while everyone is out of the house. This game is basically Simple Simon on steroids. Instead of dancing your way to a top score, as you do in the Dance Dance Revolution games, you’ll be flailing your arms like Bruce Lee in Fists of Fury.

The idea is to mimic the moves of a little robot-like figure on the screen while holding a WiiMote in each hand. He moves his arm up; you move your arm up. He moves both of his arms straight in front of him, you do the same. The whole process is pretty easy to learn once you understand two things. Number one, the robot is the mirror image of what you are supposed to copy. If he moves his left arm forward, you move your right arm forward. The second thing you have to master is to do your moves a few seconds after the robot does them. You are basically always a few beats behind.

Just like the DDR games, there are some really nice tunes for you to move by. The majority of them are techno, house, trance, and eurodance. Remember I said the game is like Simple Simon? It is up to a point. In easy mode, even the rhythmically challenged will be able to follow the moves. But kick up the difficulty level to normal or hard, and your brain may go into overload. There are little horizontal bars which move across the screen, and they represent the time you have to duplicate the moves shown by the robot.

You are scored after each round and are given a grade on your performance. An “A” means you have achieved at least 90% accuracy in mimicking the moves. Less than 90% and you’ll get a “B” and so forth. If you are a grade overachiever in school, you won’t settle anything for less than an “A.” The rest of us slackers will be satisfied with Bs and Cs.

So how fun is this game? That depends on how much coordination you have. To give an example of how different people react to it, I tried to get a sports jock to try it out. He watched me as I was doing John Travolta Saturday Night Fever moves with my arms. He laughed, shock his head, and walked away never to be seen by me again. My next victim was my significant other. She is well known for not being coordinated, so I showed her how to hold the WiiMotes in her hand. She lasted little more than a few seconds on Helix and gave up.

Of course I laughed at her mightily. Not a good idea. I have the bruises on my arm to prove it.

The moves in Helix aren’t too complicated. The challenge is in synching to the music and trying to accomplish all the motions accurately. With that said, the game can be fooled. Some moves require you to point up and away from your body. Other moves have you stretching your arms to the right or left. To the Wii remote, it can’t really tell if you are duplicating the move or not, so you can “cheat” by just approximating the move.

But even cheating in this way won’t get you an “A” rating. You won’t be able to cheat your way out of the hundreds of combos you’ll need to do to get a high score. Although you need two WiiMotes to really get the most out of this game, it also offers a one WiiMote mode, which really isn’t that much fun at all. One irritating thing that you must do before you start each level is to “calibrate” which WiiMote is the left one or right one. Why can’t the game remember that you have two WiiMotes for the entire session?

Overall, the graphics aren’t too deep, but that’s ok because the game is primarily about copying arm moves. The tunes are really excellent and help to keep the game fun. Not everybody is going to be able to follow the Simple Simon moves because the combos can get quite complex and keeping rhythm may be too great of a challenge for some.

Helix is a fun game that will probably help you to get in shape if you stick to playing with it everyday. But above all, it is fun, although somewhat limited in what it can do. There are no “boss” levels, and you basically arm dance your way through the 26 tunes in this game.

For only the price of 1000 Wii Points, ($10) you can download the game on WiiWare and build up those kung-fu arms of yours, and you may even lose a few pounds doing it too.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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