My Fitness Coach Review for Nintendo Wii

My Fitness Coach Review for Nintendo Wii

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.

My Fitness Coach screenshot

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.

My Fitness Coach screenshot

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.

My Fitness Coach screenshot

Regardless of which workout you opt for, there’s usually a tutorial you can click on, which will explain exactly how to perform whatever exercise Maya is working on with you. However, tutorials weren’t consistently offered throughout workouts, and often I had to perfect many of the moves on my own mid-workout. The good news is, Maya talks to you the entire time, both encouraging you and offering instruction of her own. She’ll even inquire about how you felt about the last few exercises you did, and if you had trouble keeping up, she’ll lighten the load in that area during your next workout. When your workout is over, she tallies up an estimate of the calories you lost.

My Fitness Coach screenshot

Production-wise, MFC is pretty barebones. Maya is the only personality in the title, but her character model does look pretty good. Since it’s an exercise program, it’s important that the animations come off as convincing, and for the most part, Maya moves pretty gracefully. However, the environments are generally low poly, and there’s constant screen tearing. The uniform design of each background is attractive, but there are only eight backgrounds to choose from. Of course, visuals aren’t usually a make-it or break-it issue when the main goal is to get a workout, and MFC does “good enough.”

MFC’s audio is about on par with the product’s visuals. Music is all MIDI, and it’s similar to what you’d hear in an elevator or department store. You can select from types such as Hip-Hop, Eighties, or Latin before each workout, but that’s about the extent of customization. The music is all very generic, but it, too, works fine alongside your workout. As mentioned, Maya talks to you the entire time, and it really is a noticeable help. However, her voice will occasionally come through muddled and boxy when explaining how certain exercises are performed.

Overall, My Fitness Coach does what it says it does. It’s a virtual fitness coach priced comparably to your average fitness DVD/video. Of course, you get the added benefit of customizing your fitness program each leg of the way, and it’s easy to get lulled into the feeling that Maya is working exclusively for you. That said, the product is fairly shallow (unless you have additional equipment, but then, why would you need this software?), and it, in no way, offers even an approximation of what WiiFit does. However, folks serious about sticking to a workout regimen can certainly benefit from what’s offered here.

The constant screen tearing can be a bit ugly, as can boxy textures. Maya moves convincingly, though, and the backgrounds are generally pleasing. N/A Control
The controls aren’t really a factor for this software, though making menu selections works as it should. 3.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Having Maya constantly encouraging you does help, though her voice occasionally sounds muffled. Music is very generic, yet it works well alongside everything this software aims to do. 3.5

Play Value
This isn’t WiiFit, and pretty much everything you’ll be doing with the program you’ll be doing with only the aid of Maya’s voice – no Wii Balance Board, no real use of the Wii Remote. That said, the title is priced at around what it would cost you to buy a fitness video, but the customization and personalization features offered here make it a much better value.

3.5 Overall Rating – Goods
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Fitness goals and workout calendar: decide if your fitness goal is weight loss, upper body strength, lower body strength, core body strength, cardio fitness, or flexibility. Then choose the length of your program and establish how often you plan to workout.
  • Training sessions with over 500 unique exercises featuring Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Cardio fitness, Strength Training, Flexibility, and Weight Loss Routine.
  • Tutorials: during the workout you can pause the action and watch the model demonstrate exactly how a move is done correctly.

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