GAME NAME: Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
DEVELOPER(S): Ubisoft Montreal
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): 30 November 2012
I’m a massive fan of gaming console fitness games. I’ve tried them all, from the one that started the fad — Wii Fit — to one-shots like Zumba Fitness, UFC Trainer and Nike+ Kinect. When all is said done, my favourite fitness games are the ones in Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved series. The Wii U launch brings us an exclusive iteration of the chain, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. But, is ditching Kinect camera tracking for a Wii U GamePad and Wii remote a good or bad move (no pun intended, Sony fans)?
It’s a bit of both, really.
If you’ve played Your Shape: Fitness Evolved or Evolved 2012, you’ll be used to its setup. Using the Wii U GamePad, you’ll start off by setting up a profile, recording your height, current weight and age. From there, you’re spoilt for choice; you can take part in cardio classes, zen programs, workout sessions targeting a specific muscle group, or have the system set up a workout program with a variety exercises that will cater to your goals. All up, you can choose from 125 different workout programs that will access 215 unique exercise moves.
New to the series are revamped dance classes that have a lot to thank Just Dance 4 and its “Just Sweat” mode for evolving. Also, mirroring functionality in Nintendo Land, participating in any routine will grant you workout coins that can be spent on new exercise unlocks, or fun items like additional clothing for the game’s virtual personal trainers. Last but not least, Fitness Evolved 2013 has a “Fitness Pal” mode, which is essentially a healthy recipe book with over 150 dishes to choose from. The recipes are accessed and displayed on the GamePad so you can take the portable device into the kitchen for reference when you’re ready to cook. “Fitness Pal” is a simple, yet genius move on Ubisoft’s part that gives the title a big value-add boost.
Sounds great, right? Mostly. As a Fitness Evolved veteran, I found that exercising on the Wii U was overly complicated and patience-consuming. First off, the game makes you select your exercise using the GamePad, and then switch to the Wii remote when it’s time to exercise, then back to the GamePad to move forward, and so on. In actual exercises, I had a huge problem performing kickboxing and zen moves with an ever-present Wii remote in my right hand for tracking purposes. In the same vein, I’m used to playing Fitness Evolved with a HUD on the TV that tells me how many calories I’ve burnt and how much time I have left in my exercise program; alas, in Fitness Evolved 2013, your timer sits off-screen on the GamePad. There is a thing as too much sensory input, and frankly, I yearned to go back to my Kinect for some quick and fuss-free workouts.
Moreover, because your body isn’t actually being tracked like it is via Microsoft’s Kinect, there’s no way for Your Shape to identify if you’re performing moves incorrectly. Or, for that matter, if you’re intentionally cheating by just waggling your arm to simulate proper exercise. As someone who’s used to useful corrective feedback in the Kinect Fitness Evolved games, the Wii U’s generic “you’re doing great” voice-overs pale in comparison.
My biggest disappointment was that I couldn’t find a way to connect my Wii U Your Shape profile to my existing Kinect one. I could be overly hopeful here, but I was eager to link two years of calorie burning in Fitness Evolved with this new title, as I did from Fitness Evolved to FE 2012. As I’m registered with the same uPlay account on both platforms, I can’t imagine that functionality would have been too hard to deliver to loyal users.
All up, Fitness Evolved 2013 is still a great fitness title for Wii U, and easily surpasses Nintendo’s previous attempts in the genre with Wii Fit (Ubisoft, bonus points for not requiring a Balance Board!). Newcomers to the franchise will especially enjoy it, though loyal fans may feel like the title is somewhat lacking. With the Christmas season approaching, Wii U owners have a great game in front of them that will help in burning off those holiday calories. Word to the wise, though: if you own both a Wii U and an Xbox 360 with Kinect, go with Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 on your 360 for maximum enjoyment and results.