|System: X360 (KINECT)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Your Shape isn't just about strenuous workouts though. There is also a small set of fun workout games that can be played just for fun, but probably work best as a warm-up or cool-down exercise. There's a hula-hooping game, a boxing block punching game, and others. One of the real stars of the entire game though is the set of tai-chi and "Zen" exercises. These are meant to be relaxing stretches and maneuvers, but if you're not used to that type of activity, they can be good exercise too. Supporting your own body weight in certain positions can be surprisingly effective in working muscles.
At this point I've probably lavished a bit too much praise on this game. It certainly has its problems, but in most cases they're something you'll get over with a bit of practice. The biggest issue is that the game sometimes doesn't give you credit for a move even though you're doing it (seemingly) exactly like the trainer. The problem is that everyone is a different size. So even if you're doing it just like the trainer (from your perspective) the camera might be looking for you to be dipping lower or raising your arms higher. It can be confusing and occasionally frustrating.
There's a helpful narrator that will attempt to help you through the process though. The narrator does a good job at offering helpful suggestions like "raise your arms a little higher" or "spread your feet wider" to help you get the move just right. It's still just a band-aid on a bigger problem of body recognition, but at least there's some help. Without this, the whole experience could very well have been ruined.
The other, much bigger problem is that there's not really much of a game to this product. It's more of a piece of fitness software than a "game." A game can convince you to carry on through more exercises because you're compelled to advance. With Your Shape, the main impetus is simply wanting to exercise more. This doesn't seem like enough to motivate a lot of gamers.
Your Shape offers a great fitness regimen for many different desires. It can't prescribe a perfectly personal workout for everyone, but it still does a pretty good job. More importantly, Kinect is up to the task of bringing this type of game to life. It's something that's not possible on any other system, and it's exciting to see new ground being broken in this genre.
Rarely do I get a chance to review a game that will probably bring a lot of good into thousands of lives. More than just being fun, Your Shape is a chance at a good workout for people who refuse to accept junky Wii shovelware. Hopefully Ubisoft can improve the programming over the coming months. They have committed to offering additional classes and activities as DLC for the game over Xbox Live. If a patch can fix the recognition problems with the Kinect camera, then this could be a must-have experience for Kinect owners.
CCC Freelance Writer