Review By DAN MILANO
(NEW YORK) — On Feb 13, Zumba fitness dancing returns to XBox Kinect with Zumba Fitness Rush, bringing with it the craze that launched classes, clothing lines and, yes, even conventions all over the world. Will the new game live up to an in-studio Zumba workout?
While the Wii incarnation of the game works by strapping a Wiimote to the hip, which does little to score players correctly for things like arm movement, the game’s transition to Kinect has done a fine job of providing motion-tracking that scores accurately based on a full body range of movement and timing.
While some of the moves can seem repetitive compared to other dance games, the game does focus less on quickly throwing complicated dance steps one’s way and more on moving to the rhythm of the music. Don’t expect to interpret the lyrics with your body or do the robot; instead, you’ll get an aerobic workout with flares of salsa and reggaeton. Because Zumba Fitness Rush’s dance moves are sustained for longer than in other games, indicators for upcoming moves are not constantly in one’s face. They pop up sparingly, and the game is more aesthetically pleasing for it.
The songs and moves were lifted directly out of a Zumba class and the soundtrack includes all of the staples from the Wii version of the game, with plenty of additional tracks. Each song has only one level of difficulty, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In Zumba Fitness Rush, the tempo and length of the music inform the difficulty of the workout, meaning the slower-paced “easy” songs are not shoehorned into difficult mode by adding complicated moves that don’t fit the rhythm.
Zumba Fitness Rush could be the ideal game for those looking to learn how to dance, Zumba style. There’s a tutorial mode to teach you the ropes with step-by-step instructions. Kinect does a far better job scoring, based on full-body movement, than Wii does, so you’re more likely to pull off your moves correctly. Essentially, the game will train you into a Zumba dancing machine.
The game also provides an unexpected amount of detail. The stages are populated by real-world Zumba instructors, and the locations are places where actual dance classes have been held. Zumba Fitness Rush is like a sports title in this respect, trading stadiums and famous pro athletes for real life venues and celebrity trainers.
Perhaps most intriguing is the number of workout “classes” the new game was offering, increasing the total from 30 on Wii to 45 on Kinect. A one-disc game offers an impressive number of classes at 20-minute, half-hour and hour-long increments, providing programs of varying difficulties that can be continuously danced through without having to navigate menus.
Calorie counters track your progress. But for most of the game’s modes, don’t expect the game to record burned calories if you have to bail halfway through a class.
Anyone remotely familiar with the Zumba fitness dancing craze or the XBox Kinect motion sensor can recognize the potential of a game that does it right, and Zumba Fitness Rush delivers.
The Zumba curious or current Zumba fans will eat it up. And guys, there might be no better way to Kinect with your Valentine this year. So don’t overlook the game when out choosing between restaurant reservations and that trip to the drugstore for chocolates.
Zumba Fitness Rush is available in stores on Feb. 13 for the XBox Kinect.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio