Zumba Fitness

Music and dance games have always been one of my favourite genres, but it often seems like developers rush these titles out with too little concern for quality. It takes more than a handful of tracks and a basic control system to make an enjoyable game. Zumba Fitness is an example of this kind of attitude, since it's full of the kind of oversights that make the difference between fun and frustration.

First of all, most of the text is too small to read unless you have an ogre of a TV . Some of this text pops up between tracks when you're playing, but it's there too briefly for any normal person to read. However the biggest problem is apparent when the images of the dancers you're meant to copy appear. Instead of a video of them, or a photorealistic avatar, there's a shiny outline-like image picked out in a few bright colours. When you do a correct move this figure changes to yellow or green, and loses even more definition. This often makes it really hard to figure out which way you're meant to be moving in three dimensions.

Unfortunately the poor visuals aren't so much of a deal when you factor in the next major flaw: it doesn't matter where you move, because the tracking is completely inaccurate. This is most apparent on the cool down music, where you lose points if you actually copy the instructor. What you have to do is keep moving rhythmically, even when you're meant to be holding a stretch, which is ridiculous.

Zumba Fitness is structured with a mixture of tutorials, classes, single routines, a workout calendar, a party mode, and both competitive and co-operative multiplayer modes. Zumba Party is the one you have to play to unlock all of the content, with 10 increasingly advanced classes leading up to one hour-long Zumbathon. There are 30 songs available, although when you browse through them in single routine mode there's no preview of the music. Given how illegible the text is on smaller screens this means either you have to squint, or take pot luck with what you're getting. The music is a mixture of calypso, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, and salsa styles with a touch of pop and hip-hop maybe thrown in. I can't fault the music or the lively choreography, and the tutorials for all the different types of moves are very easy to follow too.

However there's no calorie count when you play, and after you've unlocked all the classes there's nothing else to work for in terms of awards or bonus content. On the whole that makes this a fairly short game with little replay value. There's perhaps as little as 7-10 hours of gameplay in it, depending on your boredom threshold. Although I liked the music and dance moves this game skimps on too many details, and it has too many irritations, for it to have lasting appeal.

2 star rating

Review Ros Jackson