Abarcy

My Fitness Coach: Dance Workout

The third title in the My Fitness Coach series may be subtitled Dance Workout, but there's a lot more to it than Latin dance, which makes up only around a third of its content. The rest is cardio boxing and a range of mini games and exercises.

This is a serious fitness game. There's fun to be had, but it's also the sort of game that will make you sweat and leave you in good shape. It begins with quite a detailed profile questionnaire to assess your fitness level. You can skip this part by playing as a guest, but on the whole you get the best out of this game by customising it fully. The benefit is getting workouts that are more accurately tailored to your needs when you play in Personal Trainer mode.

Personal Trainer suggests a set of exercises based on your performance and your answers to the trainer's questions. In Quick Workout you can select games one at a time, whereas in My Workout mode there are preset routines, or you can create your own workout. So there are plenty of options to allow you to control the length, intensity and style of your exercise.

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Latin Dance features 16 routines and 22 music tracks. These start off fairly fast, and as you move from the tutorials to the more advanced difficulty levels they soon get complicated. You'll feel like you're learning something.

Unfortunately the Latin Dance can be quite buggy. The action tends to freeze in the middle of a routine whilst the audio commentary keeps going. When this happens it's very frustrating because it inevitably messes up your score and timing.

Cardio Boxing suffers no such bug. It offers nine routines which give a good all-round workout. On average the eight minigames are lower in intensity. They consist of dodging or riding bulls, paddling a canoe, slicing things with a sword, running from lions, skipping, boxing a kangaroo, and punching boards and pieces of fruit in karate. It's pretty varied, though you'll need a balance board to get the most out of these activities.

There are short, gentle warm-up and cool-down sequences. There's also a two-player mode who can be played with two or four Wii remotes. This takes a lot of space because players aren't always doing the same moves as each other. In all there's a lot to do, and My Fitness Coach Dance Workout scores highly in terms of longevity. There are 106 achievements to obtain, plus medals for getting good scores and new outfits for your avatar and trainers. Unlocking them all could take three months or more of daily play.

Fortunately this is the sort of game you're likely to want to return to day after day. With its musical theme and fun mini-games you get a workout without it feeling in the least bit like work. It's varied, customised to your personal fitness, capable of offering demanding workouts, and fun. There are probably more results charts and high score tables than most players will ever look at, including charts of your activity over time. The tendency of Latin Dance routines to freeze up is annoying, but if not for that flaw this would be a brilliant game.