There’s no shortage of good fitness games for Kinect from EA, Ubisoft and more, but Zumba Fitness: Join the Party is the only one based on a real-life dancing craze. For those in the dark, Zumba is a fitness programme based on high-energy rhythms that’s designed to be taken in large classes, but how does it translate to a mostly solo experience at home?
After enrolling you can take on a Zumba Class, Zumba Party, play some multiplayer – locally or via Xbox Live – or take on the tutorials, which are recommended as the game’s workouts start at a strong pace. An on-screen instructor performs the step slowly at first and all you have to do is mirror their actions, with the instructor turning green if you’re doing well, yellow if you’re making some mistakes or red if you’re completely missing the mark. Red circles emanate from the body part you’re most out of step with but there’s no clearer detail, so you’re not always sure if your arm should be higher or lower, for example.
Unlike every other fitness title on Kinect you have no clear reference image of yourself on-screen – a dot-matrix display in the background shows your movements but they’re really for aesthetic appeal, rather than any form of user feedback.
In each tutorial you have to master a step before proceeding, with the steps getting progressively quicker and more complicated, though we were able to complete one step tutorial by standing still, arms folded. Sometimes the game skips ahead two steps as well, making the tutorials a fidgety and eventually unhelpful addition.
Should you decide to jump straight into a full workout you’ve got several choices, though overall there’s nowhere near the same range of options as Get Fit with Mel B or EA Sports Active 2, for example. Each class starts with a warm-up before going into the full-on exercise, changing music and style every few minutes to keep things interesting, but if you’re completely new to Zumba you’ll likely struggle to keep up with the instructor. As you get a feel for it and pull off moves you’ll boost an energy bar that calls extra dancers on stage at certain points, a small reward for your exertions.
If you can’t face one of the full 20-minute-plus classes, you can pick and choose one of 30 single routines that start from three minutes upwards. Sadly you can’t chain these together to create a custom workout, with the game’s workout calendar being a throwaway addition compared to the plans featured in the competition.
The appeal of real-life Zumba classes is the communal aspect, so it’s good that Zumba Fitness features online routines for you to play with others, and if you’re able to arrange regular sessions with friends you’ll no doubt find this boosts your enjoyment level significantly. Anyone just wanting to purchase a title to play alone that’s going to keep them motivate, however, will find Zumba lacking.
There are a few other niggles too: menus are fiddly, with a slider at the bottom to flick between menu options proving unnecessary. With big boxes to hover over to select each option it’s surprising the developers didn’t do away with the slider altogether, as it only serves to slow down the navigation experience.
The strongest aspect of the game is its audio accompaniment, predictably, with plenty of high-energy rhythms to keep you going during workouts. Your instructor will also offer verbal encouragement to spur you on, whether you’re doing well or need a little boost, though it’s rarely more than “great hips!” or “come on, you can do better”.
Zumba Fitness isn’t bad, just mediocre: its motion detection is passable, the presentation is clean (if a little light) and in offering simultaneous Xbox Live multiplayer it does a decent job of bringing the spirit of Zumba classes to Kinect. The problem is, with so many better fitness titles already available, why would you buy this one? There’s no doubt that although it provides a high energy workout that raises your heartrate, it does little else and just doesn’t cut the low calorie mustard.
I guess if you're confused on either getting a fitness or dance game, this one is just both of those genres rapped up into one mediocre package.
I was SO hoping this would be a great game :=(
i just want to let you know that my friend and I are having loads and loads of fun playing this game! it deserves at least a 8.5 or a 9!!!!! i have no regrets of buying this game. it is a lot of fun.
can you update the review to reflect the update that company sent out for the game? i read that people said it fixed the tutorial section and other things too.
Hey @dirtyvu, I didn't know the game had been updated. However, our policy is to review the game in the condition it was released in, so we won't be updating the review. Cheers!
I just got this game/fitness Saturday and I can't even sign in at the every beginning with my WAVE???? Going to see if i can return it! All other games work well.
I also just got Zumba on Saturday and I am also having issues. I can not even open tutorials and some of the other screens. Below is what I just read on another blog. Might be return it too.
COPIED & PASTED FROM ANOTHER BLOG:
Majesco has released a Title Update for the Zumba Fitness game for the XBOX Kinect System. The Zumba Fitness Kinect Title Update is now available for download to enhance the gameplay experience. Please visit http://www.zumbafitnessgame.com/titleupdate/ for additional information.
The user will have the opportunity to download the fix after logging in to their XBOX game console. I downloaded the fix right away, as I was having problems with some of the game play.
The most obvious fix for me was that now the tutorials were now playable, which were a big problem before. In my original XBOX ZUMBA GAME review, I reported that the very second you got the move "right" in TUTORIAL play, an new move was introduced without being able to spend any time dancing a particular step. Now the player has plenty of time to complete a dance sequence of the step being taught.
I haven't noticed any other enhancement or fixes yet, but I am pleased with this one, and was surprised it got past Majesco's test team in the first place, but then again, I don't suspect they had Zumba Instructors on their test team either.
END OF COPY FROM BLOG.
This might help some of you.
This is a HORRIBLE game. It never reads our hands. We cannot sign in, and it reads everybodies hands when trying to select an option. The game does not break down any of the steps for you. I will be returning this game right now and getting dance central. I give this game a 3/10.
Majesco says that if have no Internet connection to your 360, then you can send the disc back to them and they'll replace it with a new disc that has the fixes already built-in.
"Majesco will send you a re-mastered disc that includes the Title Update already on it. A re-mastered Title Update disc is only available for current owners of Zumba Fitness for Kinect.
Note: re-mastered discs will be available by the end of December. Check back here for an update on exact availability date."
This is the biggest waste of money EVER. I've had the disc for about 45 days and after FINALLY figuring out how to get the game to recognize me (you have to keep going back to sign-in over and over till it finally recognizes you), and after being able to FINALLY manipulate the green button to stop at the choice I wanted , all the routines have started to make an annoying "spitting" sound (I don't know how else to describe it) that doesn't have anything to do with the music or the score keeping or anything else that I can see. It's totally random and very intrusive. None of my other Kinect games, "Adventure', Dance Central', 'Sports', etc. make this sound.
I tried to get the disc replaced, but being over the thirty days window, no luck with either Amazon or Majesco.
Great concept, but garbage impementation.
DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!
'Dance Central' is far superior.
I have never Been able to start the game. Does the updated title correct this. Should I wait until a remastered disk is available. When would that be. Murray mceniry
So should i buy this game ? I like it but i go over the reviews so far no looking good ! Zumba Fitness or Ufc Trainer? Which is better
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