Our quest for improved health continues in our latest Kinect installment with Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. As the name implies, this is a title that has fitness at its core and features workouts created by Men's Health and Women's Health publications. Will this be another hum-drum fitness title or will it deliver fun along with the cardio?As those who have been following along with this series know, I am not a fan of working out. Please do remember this piece of information as you consider this review. This title, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved while it does have some "mini games" is focused on fitness which for those who are not fans of fitness means it is not terribly fun. With three main components making up the title, Personalized Training, Fitness Classes, and Gym Games, there is no shortage of activities designed to get you moving.
One of the oddest things about this title is the virtual space that you work out in. Most of the time your avatar is in a large white room and sometimes there are colorful balls around you. Sometimes these balls will take flight and circle you (this happens during the Hula Hoop Gym Game) and this is a bit weird. Also weird are the petals or small colorful objects that cannot be identified that leave the top half of your avatar and float to the sky. To call them weird is a bit of an understatement and it kind of looks like your body is disintegrating into ash.
The first time that you use the title you will be asked for some details and your picture will be taken. This picture of your face will pop up repeatedly during game play and will be displayed near your workout stats. One of the nicest things about this title is there is no structure forced on you and you are free to move around each element of the game and complete the modules. Each module is around 5-10 minutes and this makes it easy to customize a quick workout.
Since the ability of the Kinect to "see" has been talked about in each review, it would simply not do to neglect that part of the review. This title lays out a green outline in your white virtual space which indicates the area in which the Kinect wants you to be. Despite being firmly in that area there were quite a few instances where the Kinect would not accurately register my movements. This is frustrating since unlike other titles, this title will not let you move on until it sees that you have completed the repetitions properly and in sync with your trainer. This means bad things if you lack rhythm and have a Kinect that has difficulty seeing you. Think 3 minutes of squats as opposed to 60 seconds.
My favorite part of the title is the Boxing Fitness Class. Like every element of this title it is exercise, but I felt it was a little bit more fun than the squats. One more thing to note is that the Games are designed for multiple players (up to 4) should you have others in your home that contains a huge living room that wish to Hula Hoop with you.
After a few workouts I started getting bored. Not even watching my top half disintegrate was doing it for me and my Zen Fitness Class (complete with stick legs that you must make match) was making me a bit "stabbity." I did notice when on the Xbox site that there is an add-on for a Bollywood workout. Since I am a huge fan of multiple people dancing in unison at odd times, I would quite like to try this add on. Perhaps it could be just the thing for the whole "I want to workout but it not to feel like working out" problem that I have. Should I have a chance to try this add-on, I will be sure to review it as well.
Bottom line, we'd recommend this title for anyone looking for a workout that also has elements that the entire family can enjoy. If you are "accent sensitive" like my delightful significant other, you will have the added fun of pointing out when the voices in the title sound "super Canadian." While not as entertaining/ strenuous of a title as Active 2, Your Shape ($50) does have some interesting potential through add-ons. Bonus, it is also the only fitness title we have tried that had us wondering if our virtual gym was is in some sort of Tron-like universe populated by Canadians with a penchant for dressing like they were going to sing in the Eurovision song contest.
What has your experience been with Your Shape ? Have you tried any of the add-ons?
Weeks 1-4 with the Xbox 360 and Kinect: