|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 6, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Ubisoft was, at one time, the publisher of some of the most ground-breaking 3D games to ever come to market, with titles such as Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Beyond Good & Evil, and the reboot of the Prince of Persia franchise under their belt. In recent times, however - insomuch as Nintendo systems are concerned - the once-revered game maker has focused more on ultra-mainstream releases, including the Imagine series, Petz games, and a collection of virtual language tutors.
Adding to this latest thrust toward commercial viability is My Fitness Coach for Wii. With the undeniable success of WiiFit, it's no surprise to see Ubisoft jump on the fitness bandwagon (don't worry, EA's got one in the works, as well). But is this product a worthy alternative for folks looking to get a real workout?
It should be stated up front that My Fitness Coach (MFC) does not offer the same level of interaction with the system that WiiFit does, nor does it use the Wii Balance Board (or even the Wii Remote for that matter, other than to simply select menu items or respond to your coach). MFC is exactly what its name implies. It's more akin to a fitness video, though there are some obvious advantages, which we will discuss.
Your coach's name is Maya, and when starting out with MFC, Maya will ask you some basic questions about yourself. The questions are meant to help determine what type of workout program is best suited for you, as well as aid her in making suggestions for a fitness goal to work toward. She'll ask you your name, weight, and birth date; she'll then have you check your pulse; you'll then be instructed to do two-minute's worth of jumping jacks and then check your pulse again. If you can't actually finish the two-minute workout (which might not be uncommon if your main pastime is playing video games), then she'll tell you to do as many jumping jacks as possible and input your heart rate when finished. After wrapping up by going through a checklist of fitness equipment you already own (though none is required), you'll be ready to get started with your first workout.
There are six workout types - cardio, upper body, core body, lower body, flexibility, and yoga. Maya will suggest a workout type based on, presumably, your progress toward your fitness goal, as well as your current wellbeing. You can set a weekly regimen and workout duration, but of course, it's up to you to keep your commitment.
Most of the workout types are made up of the same exercises, though each workout has a few exercises unique to its area of concentration. The exercises in the early part of each workout are aerobic, dance-like routines - Hustle Up, Grapevine, V-Step, etc. - but as you progress, the workout will gradually move into slower-paced, more stretch-oriented training. Additionally, as you become better fit, Maya will present you with higher-level exercises to perform. It's a sensible set-up - with moments of rest in between - and if you are the type of person who can truly commit, you'll likely find yourself benefiting from a daily appointment with MFC.
The one workout that truly stands apart from the others, however, is the yoga program, and Maya doesn't make a recommendation for this one early on. The stretching exercises in yoga are definitely a bit more advanced and demanding. That's not to say they're impossible or even that you can't benefit from them early on. For instance, some of the more basic yoga moves, such as Monkey, Sunflower, and Cobra, should be easy to perform, regardless of what shape you're in. My personal favorite was the Corpse, which required me to simply lie flat on the floor yeah. But generally speaking, the entire yoga workout does include exercises that are comprised of multiple stretch types that can be difficult to get down right from the start.