|System: Wii, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Heavy Iron|
|Release: June 21, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
One of the biggest problems with fitness games is that it's hard to stay engaged with them for long periods of time. Sure, watching your profile change in Your Shape is nifty, and earning fitness coins in WiiFit provides a tangible reward, but at the end of the day, what any good fitness game needs to survive is a gimmick that will keep players coming back for more, even after rewards have been granted and new features have been unlocked. UFC Personal Fitness is a game that has that gimmick.
I recently got some time on the mat with UFC Personal Trainer, and though my time was brief, I came away impressed. The game puts you in the shoes of someone trying to get in shape for the UFC, and if you are an MMA fan, you'll appreciate the game's star-studded cast. Though Chuck Liddell won't be popping up to give you tips on how to squat, several notable UFC trainers are in the game. Fans will certainly relish the authenticity that these trainers bring to the experience.
While you might expect trainers for the UFC to be condescending drill sergeants, the exact opposite is actually the case. In my brief time with the game, the trainers that were demoed seemed helpful and encouraging. The mode I was able to go hands (and feet) on with was a simple lowest-common-denominator exercise mode where I was challenged to execute jabs, punches, and knees. Since we were playing the Kinect version, there was no tactile interface, and I had to rely on the game's feedback to know whether I was executing moves correctly.
Fortunately, the user interface is very simple and easy to understand. Arrows on the screen indicate what part of the body you'll be using, and the direction the arrows point indicates what you should be doing. The game gives you constant performance feedback, and as a result I never felt like I had to pause to figure out what was going on. The mode I was in was very easy, but even so, considering it was my first time with the game, I think my praise of the interface is justified.
At the end of the exercise routine, the game shows you what percentage of the moves you executed correctly and assigns a score. Once I was done looking at my score, I was able to look at some of the other modes. In addition to the regular workout mode, there are also targeted training modes and warm-up/cool down modes. The game gives you plenty of resources and makes you the master of your own fitness regimen.
In addition to the single-player mode, we were also told that the game will feature a "hot seat" multiplayer mode that will let players take turns trying to beat each others' scores. The game will also feature online "challenges" you can participate in with friends and Facebook/Twitter integration so you can share your successes and give yourself further motivation to succeed.
Although we were only able to check out the Kinect version of the game, we were told that the PlayStation and Wii versions would have a similar interface but would not measure your footwork. Instead the game would rely on "trust" exercises and assume you are doing the different movements on screen. It was also pointed out that the Wii and PS3 versions would support single or dual remotes.
Our time with UFC Personal Trainer was extremely brief, but it was certainly fun. The game looks to be quite promising, especially on the Xbox 360. Though the market seems to be flooded with fitness games right now, UFC Personal Trainer seems to offer a unique take on the genre that has not been tapped yet. If you are an MMA fan or are just looking for a new workout style, you would do well to check out UFC Personal Trainer when it releases this summer.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer