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*Warning! Repressed memory surfacing!* I still have flashbacks to that terrible day, 20 years ago, when me and my two schoolfriends decided to go to an aerobics class at the local leisure centre. There we stood, skulking at the back of the class, in our baggy T-shirts and tracksuit bottoms, surrounded by lithe, toned, athletic women in tight bra tops and shorts, who obviously went every week. As the class went on, we huffed and puffed our way through the routines, our faces getting redder and our sweaty hair sticking to our faces, whilst our glamorous classmates did not even break out a sweat. The low point of the whole thing was when the whole class did a 180 degree turn, and to our shock, we found ourselves at the front of the class, staring back at our pathetic reflections in the mirrored wall. I think that was the point that I realised that excersise wasn't really my thing.... Sorry....ahem...getting a little traumatised there..... Anyway, nowadays I am in possession of the fantastic Wii console, and the indignity of public excersise classes is now a very distant memory. With the latest generation of games, I can bounce around the living room, looking as ridiculous as I want, because (as long as the curtains remain shut) there is no-one apart from the cat who can see me. I have tried a couple of fitness games in the past, including the first My fitness coach game, which I loved, so when I saw that they had released another game in the same series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it to see how it would compare with it's predecessor. *Dance Workout* The first MFC game was an aerobics game, basically like an interactive fitness video where you copy the movements of the trainer on the screen. The first game, although being lots of fun, had a few limitations, namely that the game had no way to tell whether you were doing the moves correctly, and also that it did not incorporate the balance board, which was brand new at the time, and I think people that were used to Wii fit, were expecting the balance board to feature in the game. Looking at the new game, I can immediately see that the makers have addressed these issues by incorporating the balance board, although it doesn't matter if you don't have one, as it is optional. They have also made it easier for the game to assess your movements, as you now have to strap a controller to your wrist while you workout. If you have two controllers, you can strap one to each wrist to give the console a better idea of your movements and how well you are keeping up with the dances. *Getting started* When I first inserted the disc, I had to wait a while as the console updated itself. This usually happens when you try a new game for the first time. Once this has happened, you can play the game by clicking on the icon on the Wii menu. The game starts with some funky Latin music, to give you some idea of the kind of thing you will be dancing to. When you start the game, there are various things you need to set up, although it doesn't take long to get started. I was relieved that there was no fitness evaluation, like in the first game! The game requires you to create an avatar of yourself, which is lots of fun, as you can choose from lots of different looks and costumes. You can unlock more costumes for your avatar as you progress through the game. You also have to choose a personal trainer. There are two men and two women to choose from, and again, you can dress them how you like! The trainer will ask you various questions, such as why you bought the game and what you hope to achieve, and also quations about your diet and lifestyle. You then have the option of a three day trial course, so you can see what the game involves. Once you have completed the trial, you can go on to do a 7 or 14 day course with your trainer. The game comprises of several routine elements, and although it is called "dance workout", it contains an equal amount of cardio boxing routines. There are also minigames to workout various muscle groups. *Workout* A workout with the trainer will comprise of several short routines. On the three day trial, there are 5 routines each day, which last about 15 minutes altogether. On the later workouts, the workout can comprise of 9 sections, lasting a little longer, but you can tailor the game to your own needs and the amout of free time you have available. Warm up: The workout sesion always starts with a warm up and it is always the same. This routine irritates the hell out of me, as I would like a bit of variety in my warm up routine. We see our trainer on screen with two other people in the background (don't ask me why!), slowly warming up on screen with neck stretches and gentle side to side movements. Very boring. Latin dance: Depending on what you have chosen as your focus area, Latin dance lessons will take up one or more spaces on your routine list. The lessons start of with tutorials for very basic steps, but be warned-they are prety fast and the trainer does not slow down to explain things to you, you are thrown in at the deep end! At first it can seem really hard and confusing, and you think you are never going to get the hang of it, but I would encourage you to persevere, because after a few goes, you will get better...I promise! A meter at the side of the screen tells you how well you are dancing based on feedback that the game gets from your Wii remotes. And yes, you can cheat by just sitting on the sofa shaking the remotes in time with the music, but you will never get fit doing that! The dances are either set to traditional Latin music, or chart music, with a good variety of tunes from Lady Gaga to Blondie. After the dance, the Wii console will break down the moves for you on screen and you can see how well you have performed in each section. If you are unsure of a particular move, you can click on ot with your Wii remote to see it played back in slow motion to allow you to really master it. The Latin dance section features various styles, including merengue, salsa, samba and reggaeton. A word of warning- you will get hot and sweaty doing this! Boxing: The cardio boxing feature of the game is one that I really enjoyed. I suppose it is a great way to get rid of all that pent up agression! Like the Latin dance, the boxing sessions are set to music, by favourite one being Jai Ho, which has a fantastic beat that really motivates me. The moves include jabs, uppercuts and hooks, as well as twisting your body and performing squats and jumping jacks. Although these are boxing moves, it still looks like a dance routine when set to music, and again, really gets your heart pumping and your body sweating. I usually do this in the living room with the back door open, as I get really hot! Minigames: I am not really a big fan of the minigames, and find them a bit of a mixed bag, with some being better that others. This is the only part of the game that features that balance board, other than the "weighing in" option on your profile. The games are designed to work various muscle groups, so there is a running game, which is a bit like the Wii fit jogging, except that lions are chasing you, there is a game where you box a kangaroo (not for the animal rights activists!), a canoeing sim, where you sit on the balance board and use your remote as an oar, a swordfighing game, a karate game, and a matador game, where you have to dodge oncoming bulls. The controls in the minigames are a bit "messy"and your on screen avatar does not seem to do what you want it to do when you move the controller. Also, you don't really feel as if you are using much energy playing the games, despite the console telling you that you are buring lots of calories. For me, the minigames don't really work well, apart from one or two of them, and i would have preferred something more similar to the adictive minigames on Wii Fit, which are a lot more fun. Cooldown: Again, this is always the same stretching routine, although it only lasts for about a minute. I usually skip this bit and go and have a drink! Heart rate: In the longer routines, you have to measure your heart rate half way through your set. This gives the game a good idea as to how well you are coping with the routines. If your heart rate is too high, the game will recommend that you slow down and rest. *Calories!* One of the things that I really love about this game is that after each excersise session, the game tells you how many calories you have burned, and shows you a picture of the equivalent food item. This gives you a really good idea of the correlation between what we eat, and how much energy it gives us, or, in my case, how much energy I need to use to "work off" that cake or biscuit that I sneaked earlier. This is great at motivating you when it comes to food, as you soon start to look at food in terms of energy needed to burn it off. It is surprising what a difference that makes. I can now look at a tempting cake and think: "Hang on, I'd need to do half an hour of excersise to burn that off." On the other hand, I may think after a hard excersise session: "Oooh, I've burned off a doughnut's worth of energy. Let's go and find a doughnut to eat, as I won't get fat if I eat it now!". Flawed reasoning, I know. The great thing about the game is that it keeps a cumulative total of all the excersise that you have done that day, even if you leave the game and play it again later, so you see the calorie total building up to bigger and more fattening food totals. On the first day I played, I burned off about 500 calories, which the game said was the equivalent of a pasta dinner with a meaty sauce. So guess what I had for dinner? *Main Menu* There is a lot more to the game that simply doing your daily workout session with your trainer. You can also opt to do a "quick workout" selecting one of the shorter dance, boxing or minigame routines to fit in with your free time. As each individual routine lasts no more than 3 minutes, it is easy to get some form of workout done each day, even if you don't have time for a full session with the trainer. There is also a "my workout" option on the main menu, which allows you to customise your own routine by hand picking your favourite dance, boxing or minigame routines and building them into a workout. The two player option lets you play against someone else, and get really competitive. Unless you have 4 remotes, you will need one remote each, and the two player has added features such as special moves for extra points. I got trounced when I played against my son, despite the fact that I had been practising the game all day and he had never played it before. This is a really fun option for kids, as it is quite similar to the "just dance" game for wii where you copy the dance moves as accurately as possible. It is also great for getting kids up and moving, and they love the modern music tracks. My profile allows you to dit your avatar, but also to use the wii balance board to weigh yourself. For some weird reason, i find that my weight on this game is slighly lower than on the Wii fit game, so obviously, this is my TRUE weight! There is about a 2lb difference. Odd, I know. You can also look at acheivments that you have attained during the game, which are listed on a chart. *Conclusion* For someone gym phobic like me, who wants to keep fit and shed a couple of pounds, this game is absolutely fantastic. It is a lot of fun to play, and you feel a real sense of accomplishment when you master the dance moves. I am now so familiar with some routines, that I can do them without looking at the screen, and I never thought I would say that! I have had the game just over a week and have already shed a bit of weight and felt my muscles getting more toned. On the down side, there are still some things that the makers of the game could do to tweak it further. I still don't think that the game accurately reads your movements, even with two remotes, as there is no way to tell what your legs are doing! In fact, my legs are usually all over the place and I get a high score because my arms were moving at the right pace! Also, a big downside, is the poor quality of the minigames, which are not a patch on wii fit, and I actually dislike most of them intensely. Despite these slight downsides, I think that this is a game that I will enjoy for some time to come, as I think that the harder levels will take me a very long time to master! This is a really good addition to the MFC series, and at the moment, my favourite game! When you compare the price of this at about £8, to the cost of gym membership, this game really offers great value for money. This review is also on Ciao under my username.
I have been attending Zumba classes for a couple of months now and am eagerly awaiting the release of Zumba for the Wii. I have had this game for sometime and not really bothered with it however the other day I thought I would give it ago again and I am really pleased with it. This game was released in August 2010 and is inspired by Latin dance moves. I purchased it originally because I like dance DVDs and the Just Dance games for the Wii so I thought it would be a good alternative. This game from the beginning is a more exercised focused game it is designed so you can set up a programme to meet your fitness needs and is designed to be used everyday. When you start you set up your own profile including your height and weight. Weight can be measured with your Wii fitness board so you are getting accurate measurements or you can enter your details manually. Once you have a profile set up you can begin. The fitness activities in this game are broken down into sections there are mini games, Latin dance moves including salsa, samba, rumba to name a few are used in the dance section, there is also boxing where you can practice your hooks and jabs. There are 14 different dance routines in all some of which are performed to a variety of songs including Just Dance - Lady Gaga which is one of my favourites and also I will survive Gloria Gaynor alongside many Latin inspired tracks. There are also 9 different boxing routines again performed to a variety of tracks. The mini games include boxing and Latin inspired games such as bull dodging where you sway your hips to avoid the bulls, bamboo chopping moving your arms to meet the moves also skipping and running. You have the choice each time you put the game on to chose the individual games or routines you would like to do which is great for practising your moves. Or you can do it in the my workout personal trainer section here you have a choice of how hard you want to work out and a routine is provided for you each day for you to follow. For this you can also choose the style of workout you would like to do as well - I choose Latin inspired so the majority of my workouts are the dance ones with just 1 boxing and 1 mini game on some days you can also choose to have a variety if you wish to do so its up to you. On the intense workout the sessions last around 20 minutes including a warm up and cool down, and stops at some point for you to measure your pulse so you can see whether you are in the fat burning one yet this is a good feature and pushes me harder. Every day you play you mark on the calendar which means I want to play everyday so I get my stamp. The graphics for the game are quite basic a instructor sometimes with backing dancers shows you the moves and you follow. There is a hint on the screen to show you what is coming next so you know what s happening and numbers also come across the screen on some parts so you know when to change moves. You have the choice of playing with 1 wii remote or 2 wii remotes one in each hand. As you play if you move the wii remote when they feel you should then you wil get a great if you miss you miss or you may get an ok. As you play a calorie counter also goes up, which also encourages me to carry on. Once you have completed your workout the calorie count comes on the screen and shows you the picture of what those calories equal so it maybe a chocolate bar or a cream cake. I like this because it makes me think about what I am eating and how much exercise it take so to burn the food off. With the calorie count the game will save your score not only for the personal trainer but also if you go on to practice workouts as well which I like after every extra activity you get a total calorie count. The Wii I find sometimes picks up my moves and sometimes does not. I started off playing with 2 remotes but found my calorie count was actually no less just using one so I have stuck to just using the one remote to save myself the batteries. I find that for the Latin Dance the pick up is ok but the boxing one it does not seem to like. The main thing I think though is I am moving and that better than not and aslong as I know I am giving it ago that s all that matters. 2 player is also fun and you can do the dance routines with friends and compete to see who can do the best. In this mode it also counts your calories and shows you each what you have burnt off at the end of the game. The dance section 2 player also has extra bits for you to do like star jumps or punches on the spot. I like doing this with my friends when it is to cold to go for a walk and there is no Zumba. I really recommend this game the moves in the dance section are very similar to Zumba so until that game is released this one is great for me. 5 stars recommended. Also found on other review sites under the same name.
I'm a very late comer to the Wii party, only having used it since my daughter returned home, bringing all her electronic paraphernalia with her, which included her Wii. I'm not what you'd call a gamer but had a go at the Wii Sports and I can't say I was particularly good. In fact I was absolutely useless at the bowling, the tennis, the golf and the baseball. As for the boxing, well, talk about releasing one's inner tigress. That cartoon boxer only hit me once and did I give him what for! He was on the canvas in the blink of an eye and the following day, I discovered I'd been using muscles in my arms and shoulders that I didn't know I possessed. For my birthday last month, one of my presents from my daughter was the Wii My Fitness Coach and the My Fitness Coach: Dance Workout. I was thrilled, having visions of drifting around the room looking ethereally beautiful like a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing but sadly, no ballroom routines are included and no chance of looking beautiful when I'm sweating like a pig! Price and availability: This was a present and I'm unsure where it was bought but I checked on Amazon and this is currently selling for £10.99. My opinion As an (almost) Wii virgin, I had help setting the game up but I'm told it's simple! I was relieved to discover that this game doesn't require the balance board, as we don't have that, although it can be used if you prefer. The game comes not only with a selection of dance workouts, all based on latin dances, but also some additional sporty games too. I haven't really spent much time on these games, other than the jogging one, which I've found really useful. The other games include martial arts (sword fighting and karate), canoeing where you have to avoid the crocodile and a couple of rodeo games, which has shown me that I'd be well advised to keep away from large bovines with a ring in their nose! As I say, other than the jogging, I've only dabbled with these games, so on with the dancing. Once you've entered all your details such as height, weight etc, the Wii calculates your BMI and gives you an initial 3 day workout plan, and then, clutching your remote (or both remotes if preferred) we're ready for the off. The initial workout plan was fairly easy and there's the option to add in extra exercises which you pick from the menu, and the routines concentrate on a different dance, salsa, samba, merengue and the like. It's also possible to design your own dance routine but I'm leaving that until I'm more proficient at the set pieces. There are four levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced and pro and, of course, I am a beginner. I did find it quite difficult to follow the dance routines to begin with, especially as you're still learning one move and also being shown the next one coming up by means of a little video in the corner of the screen. However, the routines begin slowly enough to follow the steps and then gradually build up speed. During the routine, your coach also puts in little bits of encouragement and the odd instruction and although I found these somewhat unnecessary, they aren't too intrusive. As anyone whose ever gone to aerobics class knows, those instructors can sometimes get right on your wick! Practice has made me, if not exactly perfect, certainly slightly better and as time has gone on, I've certainly improved considerably from my first attempt. As I've only had this for just over a month and I'm currently using it two or three times a week, I'm still only at the beginner stage, although I've now moved on to an exercise plan covering the next two weeks. One of the really good and very motivational elements to this game is that there is a little counter on the screen telling you how many calories you've burned which certainly spurs you on to burn off that bar of chocolate you shouldn't have had! Your heart/pulse rate is also checked in the middle of the routine too. The music for the routines is quite wide ranging with 32 songs, from Lady Gaga to the Pussycat Dolls but, quite frankly, most of the time, I'm too busy following the dance moves to take much notice of the songs, other than the beat. The only one I can sing along to so far is Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and the odd line from "Jai ho" Although, I'm delighted with this game in the main, I better put in some negatives. In fact, the only things I can come up with really are that I find some of the spoken instructions a bit vague but as these are also shown on screen, it's fairly easy to get the hang of the moves, and also it would have been nice to have some less "poppy" music included, such as more traditional latin music. With 14 dance and 9 boxercise routines, this is an excellent game for improving overall fitness, especially if you combine aerobics/boxercise with the dance routines. It's fun to do and I feel that my level of fitness is definitely improving. I certainly think this game is excellent value for money because you can tailor the exercise to suit your particular needs and there are sufficient dances/exercises to be able to vary your routines and hold your interest for a long time. I envisage it being several months, if not years, before I'm ready to move on. This game would make a great present for anyone who enjoys or is interested in latin dance.