Kinect games have always been hit (Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved) and miss (Star Wars Kinect, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, Kinect Party…). Okay, far more miss than hit; with the exception of dance and fitness titles, Kinect’s pretty much just a voice command tool. With Microsoft’s decision to sell the Xbox One without the peripheral, Kinect games seem to be coming fewer and fewer with each passing month, but the good thing about this is that the titles we do see released are of quality.
Shape Up easily falls into that ‘good but probably won’t be played by a lot of people’ category.
It looks like Ubisoft’s shelved the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved brand in place of Shape Up. Honestly? It was a good decision. While Your Shape‘s always been a great fitness tool, it simply can’t compete against the hardcore Nike+ Kinect on Xbox 360 or the day one, mostly free Xbox Fitness on Xbox One. Shape Up tries to innovate the motion-controlled fitness genre by giving you a workout that’s fun and with as much gamification as possible.
The quest’s cardio bits are led by the game’s male or female leads, and are standard fare. Stretches, bicep curls and other common cardio moves are presented in a deadpan way with Lily, or with a whole bunch of humour thrown in thanks to Jake. While I very much enjoyed Jake’s jokes – basically, making fun of the bro-like culture of the gym – I have a feeling the same routine over and over again will be like pounding a nail into my temple.
The two final bosses in Shape Up are horrible stereotypes: an ever-giggling Japanese schoolgirl called the Beatmaster, and a masked (padded) muscleman called the Luchador. Because it’s Ubisoft, you can buy more quests through a monthly Shape Up subscription that I very much passed on. While there are a lot of mini-games to choose from, it seems almost criminal to charge $70 AUD for only two quests, with added option of dropping more money for extra variety. Poor form.
If you’re into companion apps, Shape Up Battle Run on iOS and Android will gamify your daily run. It pits you against an opponent, quest-style, and tasks you to, well… keep running. There’s not much too it, but that’s really all you need: an added incentive to be active.
In the end, Shape Up has two things going against it: it’s a fitness game, and one using Kinect at that. If you avoid exercise like the plague when you’re gaming, you’ve probably already passed on this review. On the other hand, if you’re wanting a new way to keep exercise fresh and fun in your life, this one’s for you. It’s a much better alternative to, say, Your Shape 2015.
Shape Up was reviewed using a promotional copy of the game on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.
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