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Zumba Fitness Core Review

Rating: 0/5 (0 Votes)

Kinect is a remarkable piece of tech but where it really comes into it’s own is with dance/fitness games. Zumba, an energizing dance-fitness experience hit the limelight a decade back but probably first became known to gamers in 2010 with Zumba Fitness, one of the first games to take advantage of the Kinect technology. The latest title, Zumba Fitness Core is now here and ready to get you working hard towards those flat sexy abs but is it a better fitness app than the EA Active offerings or a better dance title than the world leader Dance Central? Jack of all, master of none?

 

From the get go, things look very nice with the graphics being an improvement over the likes of Dance Central. Your ‘instructors’ have much better facial features and even the silhouettes (that are there to show you the next move), are clearer and more defined. Whilst these don’t really have much of an impact on the overall gameplay, along with the multiple camera angles, it is nice to see.

With 40 new songs and more than 30 international dance routines from around the world there is a fair amount of variety in the dance steps you’ll be learning. Unfortunately I’m not sure how many you will be checking out. Any low intensity track is pretty straightforward and will be the ones used by the majority of players. Move up to the medium and high intensity songs and you will find yourself either completely out of sync or just standing there throwing your body around the room any which way you like. Keep going on the high intensity and you may just find yourself collapsed on the floor as well. This is certainly a game that has been designed to flatten those abs and get you into shape. As such, it isn’t for the faint-hearted. If a game where ever to think about crossing the line between good physical fun and good physical torture, this is surely the one. It would be nice if there were the option to slow down, dissect each and every song and catch a little breath but instead you only have the option to learn individual moves or hit the whole song in one go. For a newcomer to Zumba this is a real turnoff.

If one song at a time isn’t enough for you, you could always go and hit a big session. Listed as ‘short, mid-length or full-length classes’, these are full on experiences that will have you sweating in no time. 20 minutes is apparently a ‘short’ amount of time and I guess if you are sitting down playing a game of FIFA, it is. Standing in your living room for that long, attempting to recreate the actions of a pro Zumba instructor is however a different matter. For the record, mid-length classes run for around 45 mins and you’ll be touching an hour for a full-length one.......In other words, only for those Zumba fanatics!

 



Everything you do in-game is logged and there are a variety of stats available for you to peruse in the ‘progress tracker’. You can also use this to set yourself goals and the such-like, to check on your friends in the leaderboards and to have a nose at the unlockable bonus content. There is a fair amount of unlockable content but it will require you to 5* a few songs to get to view it.

There is also the option for having 2 players playing at the same time but with space being a bit of an issue even for one player, things get a little out of hand when two step up to the plate. Unless you have your Kinect sensor setup in some empty ballroom, you really are going to struggle to get any long term enjoyment out of dancing with a friend.

A section called Zumba World is also present. I went into this fully expecting some new dance routines and DLC songs. What I got was in my mind a bit pointless. A couple of free videos and the game demo (surely you don’t need the demo if you are playing the full game?), a little bit of ‘Zumba news’ and a load of pages listing every Zumba class the world over. I guess it could be what those interested in Zumba are after but I’m really not sure.

With in-game Kinect menus, you need to have big on screen ‘buttons’ which are easy to hit. Too many times either Kinect didn’t pick up the hand movement or the wrong button was hit. A tad annoying to say the least. Thankfully this unresponsiveness didn’t pass into the actual game play. All dance moves were picked up nicely although the usual ‘cheat’ of being able to stick your own moves in instead of those you are meant to be mastering is still a bit of a letdown. This isn’t a Zumba Core problem though as it seems to be the case with most/all Kinect games. In the same respect, the voice navigation was also very poor and failed to work correctly even after a little* shouting (*ALOT OF SHOUTING!).

To go alongside the above issue, it really didn't help matters that, even in a fully lit room which is usually suitable for Kinect use, the sensor kept deciding to forget who was playing and therefore had to identify the victim before each and every song. Maybe this was put in to allow the person to gather breath and ready themselves for the next onslaught but in my eyes it was just another tech failure.

34 achievements take you up to the usual 1000 gamerscore and anyone with a little willpower or dance technique should be able to hit the majority with relative ease. Tutorial cheevos are simple enough to get as will be the ones that encourage you to sign in a certain amount of times in a week/month. ‘Completing a high intensity song with five stars’ is going to be a little tougher though!

If you are a Zumba veteran, this is the game for you. If however you are looking for a dance game, you’ll be better off sticking to something along the Dance Central/Just Dance lines. On the same line, if you are one of those sit-down gamers who like to use a controller.....steer clear! That’s not to mean it’s a bad game (far from it), just it will only be properly enjoyed by those already into the whole Zumba craze.



 

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