Zumba Fitness

2.0 Overall Score

Written by on February 15, 2011 in

ZumbaWii1

Alright.  Before I get into this, I just want to say that I got this game because it said “fitness” in the title.  I have the Wii and part of the reason I got it was to hopefully help me work out.  When Zumba Fitness came up for review, I jumped at the chance to get in shape.  I seemed to have jumped off a cliff.

Zumba Fitness is a fitness game based off of the dance-fitness program by the same name.  Starting in the mid-1990s in Columbia, Zumba uses music and dance as a form of excercise to make fitness.  The music used borrows from Latin and World music, including samba, meringue, salsa, belly dance, reggae and more.  Zumba is recognizeed as a legitimate exercise program.  So why was this game so bad?

There are many reasons.   But in order to reveiw this game fully, I would like to talk about it in two parts.  First, it is a video game.  Second, it is a fitness game.

Moving to number one.  As a video game, Zumba is pretty abysmal.  The controls don’t work at all.  It has the “wave your Wii remote like an epileptic to win” syndrome.  For instance, I wanted to do the tutorial.  It starts of slow, allowing you to get your bearings then slowly speeds up.  Seems nice, right?  Well, only if  the motion sensor knows a right move from a wrong move.  However, it just registers any move.  So I was stumbling to try and get what I should be doing and then the instructor lady said, “Good job!  Let’s try faster!”  No!  Go back!  I didn’t get any of that!  The game fails right at the tutorial.

With the tutorial not working, I jumped right into the class.  This is where most people will spend their time.  You can chose various difficulties and times for your class, although I do not know what the difficulties actually do to the gameplay.  Maybe the songs are faster?  I’m not really sure.  During the class, or routine, if you manage to somehow get the Wii motion sensor to pick up your movements at the same time that the game wants you to, the “instructor” turns green and a little progress bar starts to fiill at the bottom of the screen.  What happens when it reaches full?  Eh… not that much.  Stuff pops out from the background level and more dancers show up.  That is it.  Oh, and the new dancers are copy-and-paste of the instructor.  It’s pretty dull.  There are different stages, and if you do create your own workout, you can choose the stage.  The unlocks for additional stages are arbitrary and have no impact on the gameplay, so unlocking them seems pretty anticlimactic.

I will say the graphics work.  But that is about it.  They work in that they don’t push the Wii to hard and you can tell what the “instructor” is doing so that you can follow along.  The colors are bright and pretty, but they do not amount to much.  The stages almost look like a PS2 game and sometime they remind me of a mid-90s computer game cut-scene.  Nothing spectacular.

I should also mention that there is a multiplayer mode.  But I would image that it would just turn into a brawl fest rather quickly.  I just foresee two people excited to get a waork out together, then the whole time they just keep bumping into each other, or do some crazy hand movements and start wacking each other with the Wii Remotes.  Maybe it would work if both people knew what they were doing, but for two people to just jump in to try it out, I imagine that would turn pretty ugly pretty fast.

As a fitness game, Zumba Fitness seems okay.  Still nothing fantastic.  As I said, the controls don’t really work, so you could very well use Zumba as a workout video and workout scheduler and just forget the Wii motion sensor all together.   The workouts were interesting, and kept me moving.  There is no denying that Zumba is a real workout, but is it worth it to get this game.  Well, only if you reeeeaaaallly like Zumba.  And if you’re not a man, or are extremely comfortable in your masculinity.  No matter how much the orange woman on the screen encourages me, I will NOT shake my butt at the Wii Motion Sensor.  Sorry, not going to happen.  Many of the dances are geared towards women, like the belly dance.  It just doesn’t feel right.  I say this because there are many great alternatives to fitness games out there that would give you the same results.

One more thing before I end this.  The music in this game is terrible.  Its bad, poorly wrtitten reworkings of Latin , Reggae or other world music they are using.  All of it is made for Zumba, which is very evident when the songs say the word Zumba every ten seconds.  So the game fails even as a dance game.  There are better options for dance games with actual music.  Pull out our PS2 and get any copy of Dance Dance Revolution.  I guarantee the music will better than the cheap knockoff Latin songs in Zumba Fitness. The only song that is remotely good is the funk song that at least you can listen to without wanting to stick pencils in your ears.

Final words.  This is a brand title to sell to people who like the brand.  It is cheaply done and the Wii motion controls barely worked.  The game is basically a glorified scheduler app and workout video.  I did have a bit of fun playing it, but the kind of fun that lasts one afternoon and then just gets irritating and repetitive.  The music was awful.  I was at least hoping for maybe some cool South American classics or even just lame latin pop songs, but this just brand-labeled-techno-dribble.  If you like Zumba, chances are you are already in a real class and have no use for this disk.  If you want to get into Zumba and aren’t already in a class, find one.  If there are no Zumba classes near you and you have a Wii, then… yeah…  I guess I would recommend this game.  It works, sort of.  However, this game is also out for the Kinect and I have a feeling the more precise motion sensors on the Kinect might make Zumba a bit better, but probably not that much.

A copy of Zumba Fitness was provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.

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Author: Evan J Stark View all posts by

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