Game Rant's Jason Weissman reviews Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
America's infatuation with exercise programs is insatiable. Consumers spend millions of dollars each year on the newest exercise device and routines. Ubisoft's Your Shape: Fitness Evolved looks to capitalize on this phenomena by creating an exercise program that offers a new level of interactivity with the help of Microsoft's new motion controller, the Kinect.
While Ubisoft's use of this new technology definitely raises the bar for exercise titles on consoles, Your Shape unfortunately fails to supply users with a well-rounded workout regiment and will likely have a limited appeal to those craving results without the gym.
Let's get Physical
The first thing that is noticeable when first starting Your Shape is the elegant interface. The Kinect camera scans the user's full body and displays it onscreen. The device then appears to measure your body parts and reportedly, "50,000 dots on your body." Whether these measurements are truly for tracking purposes or just to impress the user, the process does provide confidence that the Kinect is "seeing" you accurately. You'll then undergo a Fitness Test to determine your workout level, which frankly seemed like a waste of time since the game does not create a recommended workout program (more on that below).
You then can select your activity in the menu by holding your hand over a particular option, and then holding your hand over the word "go." It is very intuitive and works well. What does not work quite as well is when the interface requires the player to use his or her feet to make a selection as the "floor buttons" will often move just out of reach as you attempt to step on them. Fortunately, this mode of interaction is mainly used to select the amount of players participating in an activity.
The workout movement detection is good and more often than not, the Kinect will detect your movements accurately. During certain movements however, the motion detection can become very inconsistent. For example, every time I performed the Bent-Over Dumbbell Row, Your Shape would intermittently state that I was "out of rhythm," with the onscreen avatar, when I clearly was not. This was occasionally a problem with lunge-related exercises as well. For those who are perfectionists, this glitch will drive you nuts as Your Shape will criticize your form and lower your score as a result.
Feel the Burn
Your Shape has three main types of activities that can be selected: Personal Training, Fitness Classes, and Gym Games. On the Personal Training side of the house, there are plenty of classes to choose from, including programs from Men's Health and Women's Health Magazines. Ubisoft is already offering additional downloadable classes as well. I initially signed up for Men's Health "Sleeve-Busting Workout" which consisted of twelve 10-minute sessions with dumbbells. Since each session was hardly much of a workout, I tried to start another fitness class concurrently. Unfortunately, if I picked another class, I would lose my progress for the first program. As for the class I started, Your Shape did not place the sessions on a schedule. In fact, someone who didn't know any better may conclude that he should do this workout every day, which would be a big no-no. While the dumbbell exercises are varied and effective with enough weight, none of the routines include push-ups or crunches, which are the basic building blocks of any workout. This does not seem to be a weakness with the Kinect as these exercises are included in The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout and EA Sports Active 2.
The Fitness Classes are also a mixed bag. Your Shape currently offers Cardio Boxing and Zen Yoga sessions of varying difficulties. Both work pretty well and the motion tracking is strong here. One bit of frustration with these classes is that each session must be unlocked. In fact, you cannot start a complete workout until all of the sessions of a particular difficulty level have been played. This may be okay for those who are just starting a workout after months of limited to no exercise, but is an annoyance to those immediately ready to break a sweat. Another problem is the length of the Cardio Boxing sessions. The Gold level, which is the hardest, is only 4 minutes and the fully unlocked workout is only 12 minutes. The easiest level only offers a 10-minute workout. Aerobic routines should typically consist of at least 30 minutes and no such program is offered with the release version of the game.
Lastly, the Gym Games consist of four mini-games and each has three difficulty levels. Virtual Smash, where you punch and kick blocks that appear on screen, was the most fun as it is similar to kickboxing. Light Pace requires the user to step onto floor targets as they light up, but as stated earlier, the "floor button" interface rarely worked properly. In Loop-a-Hoop, you are required to move your hips as if you were playing with a hula hoop, which is fun at first due to the onscreen effects, but wears out its welcome rather quickly as it only offers the same repetitive movement. The last game, Stack 'Em Up, is actually a good shoulder workout that has players catching shapes with a board and then dropping the shapes into holes when they temporarily open. The Gym Games can be a fun temporary diversion, but they are very short encounters that do not offer much re-playability and do not burn a lot of calories.
Before Starting, Consult Your Physician
The biggest problem with Your Shape is that it provides no guidance on how to get fit. The program does not create a fitness plan but instead places the burden on the user to figure out what activities should be utilized. This may lead some players to overwork certain body parts and neglect others. Additionally, there is no in-game calendar tracking your progress or telling the user on which days he or she should exercise. Lastly, there is no way to input how much weight you are using for a particular exercise, so that you can chart your progress.
Your Shape only tracks your calories per session, total calories burned overall, and how many sessions of a Personal Training program you have completed. Ubisoft has set up a website so that users can access their calories burned and total workout time once you link your Xbox Live account with your Uplay account, but this is minimally helpful feedback. The game and the website offer no proposed diet menus or advice on how to lose weight, and there is very little to motivate those who need encouragement.
In conclusion, it is hard to figure out the audience Your Shape is targeting. For those who routinely workout, Your Shape will be a frustrating series of stopping and starting exercise routines and may not be very challenging. For those trying to lose weight and/or achieve a minimal level of fitness, Your Shape could be a useful tool, but the game provides very little guidance in meeting those goals. Even worse, none of the routines, other than the Zen Yoga, offer any kind of warm-up or stretching program, which could lead to injuries.
There is a lot of potential here as the level of feedback from an exercise device is unprecedented. If Ubisoft updated Your Shape via free download to include a more well-rounded experience, this could be an excellent alternative to a personal trainer or exercise routine. Until then, it is hard to recommend Your Shape as a serious fitness tool.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is exclusively available for the Xbox 360 and requires the Kinect sensor.