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I LOVE Zumba. I've been to some really bad classes in my time, but I'm lucky that my local gym holds a fab class every Friday. I asked for this game for Christmas in 2011, so that I could have a go at shaking my thing at home!
The game comes in a small cardboard box, which contains the disk (in a usual PS3 case with instructions) and a fitness belt for use with the game. A Playstation Eye Camera and at least one Move controller are required to play this game, but are sold separately (I already had these) You set the camera up to watch you, and then slot the Move controller into the belt so that it can monitor your moves. The cost of this game was around £27.99 but I bet you can get it cheaper on Ebay these days as it's quite old.
The game has a number of options, 'Tutorials', 'Workout' and 'Single Songs'. The tutorials I found pretty boring, just doing a couple of steps over and over. Workouts are pretty good as you can set them at different levels and for different times, eg 20 minutes, 40 minutes. This includes a warm up and cool down. Personally, I prefer to do 'Single song' and pick my favourite tunes to dance to!
The game design is pretty poor. The colours are basic and the whole background lacks any definition or clarity. You're guided through the moves by some very overly American high school-esque instructors, whose simpering 'Don't forget to drink your war-der!' really irritates me!
The idea of the game is that you gain levels and open extra levels by mimicking the moves on screen, but actually it's how much you move the controller that makes it work. If I sit down and wave it about I get a higher score than if I copy the moves on the screen perfectly! I also find that at the end of the song I have to use the move controller to move onto the menu, but removing it from the belt every time is a pain as it's quite tight (presumably so it doesn't fall out during routines). It would be better if you could use a regular controller at the end of the song (which you can use on the main screens!)
My biggest bugbear with the game is that you can't preview the songs to know which one you're going to play. As they're often in spanish etc, it's hard to remember the name of the songs. Quite regularly I've started a song, waited for it to load, realised it's not the right one and had to cancel and go back to the title menu. Frustrating!
There is a multiplayer with this game but I haven't attempted it, however I've heard from other reviews that there's never anybody online to battle anyway.
As I have done Zumba classes regularly for two years, I know many of the routines already, so I tend to put the game on just to play the music through our sound system. Zumba music is fiercely protected by the company and is notoriously hard to purchase, so it's a good way of practicing songs between classes. I don't even use the belt and controller or particularly follow the instructor - I just do my own thing!
Overall, I'd say this game is good if you have a basic grounding in Zumba and just want a bit of a go at home, but the game is very poorly made and doesn't do anything for me. It has been consigned the way of most fitness games I've bought - used very infrequently!
When my friends introduced me to Zumba classes I was instantly addicted and thought it would be good to invest in the Zumba Fitness game to allow me to learn the steps and therefore spend the actual hour in my class doing the workout rather than playing catch up.
*~*Requirements of the Game*~*
To be able to use this game you will need to have the Playstation Move, this consists of the Playstation Move Motion Controller and the Playstation Eye Camera.
All playstation move games have a blue band underneath the Playstation logo at the top of the boxes and it will also say on the back of the box.
You will also need the fitness belt to be able to follow the routines properly. The motion controller slots into the belt and therefore needs to be positioned correctly on the hips to ensure you complete the moves correctly.
*~Using the Game*~*
Once you fire up the PS3 you will need to set your player up, this is just adding your name so that you have a profile to set up exercise routines, for me I didn't really need to do this as I was the only one using this game, my husband only agreed to me purchasing it so that he could get entertainment watching me struggle to follow the steps and try to be a latina!
Once you are set up you can launch straight into the game or learn the steps.
Unlike most of the games I purchase I actually started this game from the beginning, learning the different dance styles: Reggaeton, Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Hip-Hop, Mambo, Rumba, Flamenco and Calypso
You learn the moves via a computer generated character and the idea is to mimic the moves as accurately as you can, if you get it right it goes green, if you are not quite there it will go amber and if you are nowhere near the character will go red.
I found it frustrating that I was trying my best to get the moves done yet staying amber most of the time, maybe that is me not letting myself go completely or maybe I am just getting it wrong and with no verbal feedback or accuracy guide I still am unsure on how I can improve other than keep doing the routines over and over to try and perfect the moves.
The graphics on the game are a far cry from what I was expecting with bright burred out images and a limited number of phrases that get repeated at certain parts of the game.
The music however is great, you find yourself following the beats quite easily and this helps to pick up certain moves.
The main purpose of the game is to follow the routines by filling up the energy bars which then progresses you onto harder routines. The one thing I have found about Zumba is you are having so much fun that you only realise how much you are sweating when you are almost finished but that depends on how much you put into it. There is no real push if you slack off on the game to keep going something an instructor would do so you have to be motivated to turn it on and use it!
You can compete against other players and have "Zumba" off or you can all dance together, although I only use this game alone so cannot really state how good this function is but I can imagine its a laugh with a few good friends to participate.
One thing I have noticed and it has been mentioned by other users, that the Playstation Move Controller cannot really accurately gauge how you are able to mimic the instructer's movements. I have even found when I was walking into the kitchen to get a drink that it praised me at how well I was completing the moves! Yet when I was trying to mimic the moves I was barely getting any praise for getting the steps correct. Something I think that Sony need to address.
I purchased this game for £27.99 and this included the fitness belt. I do think this is a reasonable price to pay as long as you ensure that you keep motivated to do the routines.
In terms of a fitness game it does have a journal for you to track your weightloss and even breaksdown your performance on routines to ensure you have the most suitable workout I found this ideal for me as I wanted to track my weightloss and be able to complete Zumba as and when I felt like it along with my weekly fitness class.
Zumba Fitness will not be for everyone and I think the developers have a long way to go to get it on par with lots of other fitness games as the graphics are somewhat poor and an accuracy guide in my opinion would be much more beneficial to ensure that I get the most from my workout.