Abarcy

Zumba Fitness 2

Zumba seems to have come out of nowhere to take over dance halls and fitness studios as the popular dance style of the moment. Zumba Fitness was released to capitalise on this craze, and now Zumba Fitness 2 takes things a stage further with new music and routines to satisfy fans of this Latin-inspired dance form.

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This game features 32 tracks in styles such as Merengue, Salsa, pop, Indian/Bollywood, Reggaeton, and Cumbia. The music is handily categorised as low, medium or high intensity, and although these tracks aren't generally ones you might be familiar with from the music charts most of them are pretty catchy and good quality.

Creating a profile is a simple process taking only a single screen, and once you've done this you can learn the steps, play one song at a time, or do a set class or customise your own. These set routines vary from short ones of around 25 minutes, medium of about 45 minutes, or long ones lasting about an hour. You progress through the game by doing songs or routines correctly and getting awarded stars, which you need to win awards and unlock bonus content. There's a Progress Tracker section where you can see how you've done so far, as well as viewing statistics like your playing time, calories used, average score for the day, and so on. This is very motivating. There's probably enough content and goals to keep you going through at least 24 hours of continuous play, although to unlock every award you do need four controllers and belts. Oh, and four players. Presumably you also need a private dance studio. I have trouble enough with finding the space to do zumba on my own in my living room, because even for a fitness game it's not exactly a compact activity.

When it comes to the gameplay, I found the tracking accuracy pretty good. The belt stays where it's supposed to be, leaving your hands free. The moves are demanding enough to work up some heat, but they're not impossible and it doesn't take long to get co-ordinated. I didn't find the moves complex, but there's a box that comes up on screen to show you which way to go when the move is about to change. Visually it's very straightforward. There are avatars of the dancers rather than videos, but they're quite photorealistic. I'm not sure why the developers chose avatars over real-life videos (maybe it's because they couldn't get an enormous yacht to dance on in real life), but there's not much to choose between them. It's very easy to follow what you're meant to be doing.

The cool-down tracks don't always have much in the way of stretches, and in some of the pre-set routines there aren't any stretching songs at all, it just ends on a high-impact dance. I also didn't believe the number of calories the game tells you you've burned, which seemed far too high. The bonus content is also a little thin, often it's nothing more than some concept sketches or the Zumba choreographers saying how stoked they are to be in a game.

Nevertheless Zumba Fitness 2 is a lot of fun to play. It's more accurate than its predecessor and this makes it very satisfying, whilst its clear visuals make it accessible, easy to understand and attractive to look at. This is a game that gets the important things right: the music, activity level, player incentives and playability. Zumba on!

4 star rating

Review Ros Jackson