Your Shape: Fitness Evolved Review for Xbox 360

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved Review for Xbox 360

Stinky living room

I had to take a shower before I sat down to start writing this review. All of the praise in the world – and there will be plenty of it in this review – can’t overshadow that one most important complement. Your Shape Fitness Evolved will rock your body…but only if you want it to.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved screenshot

Kinect was seemingly built from the ground up to succeed in a few very select genres. Dancing games have recently become a focal point of the industry since the success of Just Dance on the Wii, and family party games have also been something Kinect has focused on. But the one genre that will make or break Kinect is the workout game. If Kinect can become a hub for great workout experiences, then it will be a huge success and will become a system quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen in this business. Your Shape Fitness Evolved is a great first step towards that future, and we should all – hardcore and casual gamers alike – be very happy about that fact.

Your Shape isn’t perfect by any means, and it has some glaring flaws that we hope future games will correct. But despite its imperfections, it’s a fantastic proof-of-concept that reinforces my faith in both Kinect and workout video games at the same time. Many gamers might have passed on the class of workout games available on Wii (mostly because many of them were poorly made) but games like Your Shape on Kinect could very well introduce workout gaming to a whole new group of people.

Your Shape’s success begins with its great aesthetic. The whole game takes place on a nearly pure white background with objects and surfaces thrown in where necessary. It’s simple, but it’s never boring. For instance, during the Zen lessons there are Japanese watercolor paintings in the background and flower petals float from your limbs as you move. In the lessons there is also a decently-rendered trainer character that will guide you through each exercise, and the player’s body is also represented on screen. You’re not shown in true color though, which many people will appreciate. Instead you’re represented by a silhouette of yourself in neon. It almost looks as though you’re carved out of jello. This gives you just the right amount of information during your workout. You can see what you’re doing without having to stare at yourself and all the reasons you started working out. It can be switched to a true color image of yourself if you want to change it.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved screenshot

The workouts themselves are said to have been developed by several marquis brands in the fitness industry such as Men’s Fitness. Whether or not that’s actually the case or if it’s just brand advertising, I’m not sure. However, the exercises all feel like they were put together professionally. They have that authentic feel your body gets when you’re working out with somebody who knows what they’re doing. You feel it immediately as you realize one small motion has been specifically designed to engage many different muscles simultaneously.

One of the best aspects of Your Shape – and indeed the reason it’s called Your Shape – is the customization that goes into crafting your workout. Just as if you’d just met with your personal trainer for the first time, Your Shape starts you out with some basic exercises. It then rates you based on your first performances. This not only gives the game a feel for your fitness level, but it lets them know how good you are at the game so it can plan accordingly. You’ll also be asked about your personal goals (read: why you bought this game). Do you want to shed pounds? Tone your muscles? Or perhaps just feel better and have more energy? Each path has workouts that build towards your personal goal.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved screenshot

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.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved screenshot

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.

Eye catching, sterile white theme, and tons of great special effects. 3.5 Control
Kinect has its issues with controls occasionally, but I think more people will be impressed with the controls than will be frustrated. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The narrator is fantastic and is used to great effect. She will guide you through the motion and give you small tips to help you align your body to get into the right positions. 4.0 Play Value
There’s not a staggering amount of content here, but there’s plenty of unique things to do here to keep you busy during your workout though. There’s not enough of a “game” to subtly convince you to continue on. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Experience the most advanced Kinect technology. Your Shape’s proprietary Player Projection technology tracks one-million dots on your body (instead of the sixteen-joint tracking in most other Kinect games). The game sees you and projects your actual body into the game for better tracking and absolutely no lag.
  • The game will create a workout program for you based on your fitness level and goals. The program will evolve as you get closer to your goals, which means you won’t get bored and every minute of your workout will move you closer to reaching your fitness goals.
  • Unprecedented feedback system — The technology in this game is so advanced that it is able to detect when any body part is out of alignment. Your in-game coach will tell you exactly how to correct your form and guide you so that you always have perfect form. This will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workout safely.
  • Never buy another fitness program (or gym membership) again — With new classes and special programs available for download every month after launch, you’ll never get bored with your workout.

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