Fun and Fitness, surely you jest?
I've seen a lot of games over my time as a gamer, however I have yet to see one quite like Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for the Xbox 360 and Kinect. A game like this transforms the way that you use your console, as well as gives you a good look at how you can improve your general health and fitness.
I'm also for any game that has a Zen workout, a great place to learn many of the basic and advanced moves from Tai Chi.
If you can move your arms, you can interact with this game. The Kinect hardware works extremely well with this software and navigation is as easy as low-fat ice-cream laden slimmer's pie. The motion tracking and shape recognition are superb and the game actually maps you into the workout space, especially if you choose one of the realistic skins. You'll see yourself and the clothes that you're wearing - I was expecting the MCP to digitise me at any time and to have to fight for my life within some light-cycle battles, seriously.
Thankfully all I had to do was enter a few things about myself, since the game scans you in and works out your skeletal structure too. It then came up with a personalised workout for me based on my body type, which I promptly ignored and went right into checking out the various classes. Your Shape: FE does a really solid job of making you feel a personal connection with your trainer, the instructions are fairly clear and the feedback is solid.
If you're in the wrong posture, your avatar's skeletal display will show up red and you should be able to see the correct posture when the bones turn green. This works very well when it comes to classes like the Zen workout, allowing you to concentrate on posture and correct form. There are numerous training regimens in the game, as well as some gym games and fun stuff like hoola-hoops.
My personal favourite so far has been the block-destroying mini-game where you punch the blocks as they appear in the air, using low kicks and knee kicks to decimate the lower groups. The motion tracking again is spot on and there were no errors in movement tracking, the Kinect was surprisingly good at picking up the various types of jabs and so forth with hardly any missed blocks.
The game is not a replacement for a personal trainer or a visit to the gym, but it's a good supplemental and a great way to relax, with the Zen side. It's easy to use and offers a wide variety of various workouts on the fitness side, the cardio boxing is very good for working out and again, like all of the workouts - the instructions and on-screen indications are extremely clear.
Graphically the game is nice with a good quality of animation to mirror the movements on screen, as well as some of the best figure recognition and graphical immersion I've seen for a long time. With tech like this you are actually in the game and it's not some misshapen avatar or badly designed figure of you either.
The sound and music in Your Shape: FE is of a good quality, the voice is clear and distinct and the trainers don't get on my nerves like some voice work I've heard in the past. They have certainly done a good job at the recording studio and there are no stutters or glitches in the audio side of the game at all.
There are no real bugs or errors in Your Shape: FE, the game could have been fleshed out a little more with some more workouts and perhaps some other gym games. As a supplemental fitness tool or for someone with no time to go to the gym, this is an excellent starter fitness package that works the whole body and the mind.
It gets major kudos for putting in the Zen training and relaxation workouts, since I'm a major fan of Tai Chi and they make a great capstone to a daily workout. I can't help but like this one and I'll be curious how and when Ubisoft use the Kinect technology next, since they have implemented it in the game beautifully here.
This is one of the best Kinect launch titles to get for a family who want to get fit, maintain a fitness regime or just want to some fun that's also going to keep them healthy. Personalised workouts and easy feedback both visual and audible make this game fun and informative at the same time.