Prepare to get into shape thanks to Ubisoft as “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” attempts to get you squatting, boxing, stretching and panting. If you haven’t already worked it out “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” is a get fit title for Microsoft’s Kinect and the technology it seems is perfect for this sort of ‘game’.
Setting up “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” couldn’t be simpler, when the title begins you stand in the ‘play area’, a virtual space where the Kinect camera can see you and scan you. Yes it actually scans you, so your body shape is the shape you see and it even notes your height. Whilst playing this title I had a stamped tee on and the Kinect camera even managed to pick that up (though it was in reverse onscreen given the mirrored image). Once you’re scanned in and you’ve entered a few extra details, like your age, weight, gender and how often you exercise, you’re good to go.
“Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” has a great navigation system that works by simply holding your hand over the choices you wish to make and these options are placed off to the side slightly of where you are, so it’s simply a case of barely stretching. There’s no long waits either with secondary options appearing within a second or two, neat stuff.
There are three main modes in “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved”, these are: Personal Training, Gym Games, and Fitness Classes. Each of these modes offer plenty of options, from the easy going Tia Chi style relaxing exercises, up to a full on cardio workout. A nice little addition too is the Gym Games, which are essentially little exercises disguised as mini-games. These consist of things such as punch the blocks, step on the lit areas on the workout mat or do the hoola-hoop. These are good for a light workout and the addition of the fact they’re disguised as games makes them sort of short burst exercises that are fun.
As for actual training there’s plenty to choose from also. Each personal training thing you do features a trainer (male or female, your choice) and a little tutorial before you begin burning those all important calories. Needless to say “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” keeps track of your progress and it also features 1-4 users should others in your household want to give it a try.
Aesthetically “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” is a sweet game, sure there’s not a lot going on, it’s all very crisp and clean, but nice touches abound. An example of this is what occurs when you leave the ‘play area’, your onscreen silhouette will sort of dissipate and return into being as you step back into the ‘play area’. A nice touch.
The only real issues I’ve had so far with “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” is though it is incredible at ‘seeing’ you, at times I felt things were ever so slightly out of synch, thus making the task of staying in rhythm with the personal trainer more difficult than it need be. This niggle aside though, “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” is great because it is just you without gimmicks (unless you opt to use small hand-weights as suggested for some exercises).
Female Gamer Angle
Fitness ‘games’ are generally aimed at women (fitness, dieting, beauty etc). Sure guys can play too, there’s a guy on the cover, the copy editor of which needs a kick! This little gem is written on the back, with accompanying images: “Fitness and Yoga For Her” in a nice shade of pinky purple, sitting right next to “Workout For Him” in blue. Yes women aren’t interested in weights and gaining “muscle and strength thanks to workouts designed by fitness experts”, that’s for men! Girls like to train by doing tai chi / yoga styled exercises. Whoever made the box art for this was a moron and this doesn’t help Ubisoft shake the “sexist” moniker a lot of female gamers see them as. That aside you can choose a female trainer if you want so there is female input as far as in game content goes. Seriously though, suggesting women do yoga and men do weights, a bit lame in this day and age, they should have left that off the box altogether, there was no need to even mention gender.
As far as these sorts of titles go “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” actually does a great job both technically and aesthetically. The ‘game’ is easy to get to grips with and there’s enough diversity in the exercises to keep you interested, but herein lay the problem with this title as with all these exercise based titles: They’re only as good as the willpower of the user. If you are looking for a fitness title that uses Kinect though, this may well be one of the best and let’s face it, we can expect a slew if them. It is early days and titles like Dance Central will see you burning energy also if you’re more into ‘gaming’ than full on training.
“Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” features a great user interface and a nice exercise selection, so if you’re looking to get fit in the comfort of your own home, you could do worse.
“Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” gets the Dana Fairbanks L Word rating. Like Dana, “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” is sporty, fit, fun, but still has room for improvement.