Posted on November 16, 2010, Shawn Sines Your Shape Fitness Evolved Review
Exercise games are a mixed bag. While all of them aim to drag you off the couch and get you moving on the road to a regular exercise routine, there is something about a real-live trainer giving pointers or encouraging you that you just can’t replace.
Thanks to technology, Ubisoft’s first exercise game for Microsoft’s new Kinect hardware removes one of those obstacles, but does it really replace the value of a healthy does of verbal abuse or is it just a gimmick to show off that $150 investment?
Your Shape Fitness Evolved’s approach to exercise lets gamers break free from the glorified scale of Wii Fit. You gain the ability to be measured for compliance to ideal form while performing exercises.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (XBox360 [Reviewed])
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: November 4, 2010
Ever wonder why hours spent with other exercise programs never got you the payoff you expected? Chances are you were doing things wrong all along.
While your heart was beating and the blood was flowing, you were not getting the best workout if you weren’t using the correct form. Achieving proper form doesn’t mean just burning calories, its about actually targeting the correct muscle groups at the same time. Measuring your form accuracy is a core benefit of Kinect and Your Shape Fitness Evolved.
Like most exercise games on the market now, it offers a mix of fun and fitness activities including cardio routines, personal training, exercise games and Zen Yoga. Where Your Shape excels is gender specific workout routines and the personal trainer process. It’s a good choice if you’re looking to start an exercise program when you don’t have the resources or time to visit a gym.
The personal trainer functions start with a basic fitness test, and then challenge users to pick a workout and set fitness goals. The estimation isn’t too brutal. Once you’ve set up a personal profile and had your fitness evaluated, you’ll find that the game features some well-designed basic workouts.
Where the workout functions are lacking, it’s less a flaw in the Your Shape game itself, and more in the nature of the Kinect technology. Since the Kinect cannot read motions associated with floor exercises like push ups or sit ups, don’t expect to be doing those as a core of your workout plan.
Your Shape also suffers from the Kinect’s need for space. To execute the moves requires a fixed amount of free space and some workout discipline. Since the game maps its workout analysis to the user’s joints, you’ll notice your workout attire has little impact on the game. Your Shape does a reasonably good job of judging and encouraging you when needed, although some of the feedback is frustrating when you don’t match what the game expects.
Thanks to built-in social networking features, players can share progress and gain encouragement online through Ubisoft’s exercise website. Players push updates to the web after exercise sessions and others can view and comment on your good (or bad) progress, adding a useful social motivator.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved offers a nice mix of exercises but over time they are guaranteed to get stale. The game supports downloadable content, so chances are good that Ubisoft will add new routines and options as time goes on. Also, a number of exercises need dumbbells or a resistance band (neither is included with the game) for best effect.
Gamers looking for some active exercise while playing games should enjoy Your Shape’s choices. My favorite is Brickbreaker which encompasses punching and kneeing colored blocks in rapid succession. The visuals and rapid fire challenges make Brickbreaker really fun. There are also other choices, like the psychedelic Loop-a-hoop mode or the combat classes to spice things up.
During a regular exercise routine I noticed that Your Shape Fitness Evolved was pretty reliable at grading my performance. The camera seemed to dislike judging how far down I could squat but otherwise responded well.
Two weeks into the challenging workout program I’ve not grown tired of the exercise routines, which is something Wii Fit never managed.
That alone makes Your Shape Fitness a worthy buy. Undoubtedly as the Kinect technology is better understood by developers like Ubisoft and EA, there will be better fitness games with a larger game component, but as a Kinect launch game it is a passable effort with some nice features.
- Good variety of exercises and activities
- Knows how to challenge the player
- Online exercise tracking
- No support for floor exercises
- Requires dumbbells/resistance bands for many exercises (not included)
- Occasional tracking issues when judging form