Zumba Fitness Core
I have a confession to make: Iím not the target demographic for this
game. Like, in any way at all. My fitness regime is nonexistent and if I
chunk up a little I usually just stop eating for a few days and by the
time I wake up in the Hospital, BAM!l Iím back down to my regular
weight. However, having put on a few sympathy pounds during my partnerís
recent pregnancy, I thought that Iíll put my hand up to review Zumba
Fitness Core, the latest entry in the commercially popular exercise
series for the Kinect.
Following 2012ís Zumba Fitness Rush, Fitness Core deviates
slightly from the formula of past releases to focus primarily on the
abdomen area. Donít think that this means that the fitness routines are
easier as a result of this; theyíre even more physically demanding this
time around. The dance-based Zumba franchise, basically this
generationís Tae Bo or Jazzercise, is touted as a way to both get fit
AND have fun. Well, I donít know about the fun part but these routines
will whip you into shape quick smart.
You can choose to do a quick routine or attempt the more demanding 20,
40 and 60 minute classes. Set to a backing soundtrack of pop hits, the
routines run you into the ground, hammering your midsection relentlessly
and requiring quick feet and stamina to keep up.
Unless youíre a regular Gym Junkie, you WILL leave this game exhausted
to your very bones; one complaint is regarding the brevity of the
stretching sequences before the main workout. These seem a bit rushed
and, considering the intensity of some of the workouts, youíd imagine
that physical safety would be paramount. For someone who exercises
regularly this wouldnít be a problem but for newcomers this could
provide a barrier that could deter them from delving deeply into the
multiple styles of routines available.
Despite the focus being predominately on the abdominal muscles, your
quads, glutes calves and arms also come into play. Basically gameplay
boils down to following onscreen prompts as accurately as possible, much
the same as the myriad of dance and fitness games available out there.
In this respect Zumba Fitness Core doesnít bring anything new to
the table. The addition of different modes, calorie tracking, custom
tracklist creation and the ability to set personal goals for yourself
are all nice touches but thereís really not that much deviation from the
set formula available to a game of this ilk.
Working within these constraints, the developers have done an admirable
job. Typical as it is coming as the 360 is gasping its dying breath, it
seems that Devs are finally coming to grips with the motion tracking
abilities of the Kinect.
Usually when you see that purple Kinect game case you canít help but
shudder internally at the thought of the squandered potential and hours
of lousy motion tracking endured flailing your arms furiously at an
unresponsive screen; thankfully this isnít the case with Zumba
Fitness Rush, with precision issues practically nonexistent.
The motion tracking is as accurate as you could hope and if you mess up
a sexy Latin shuffle itís likely due to your own two left feet rather
than detection issues. Menus are easy to navigate and there is a wealth
of easy to obtain achievements available, although, as is usually the
case with these games, some of the tougher ones require time and
dedication to acquire. There could have been some more feedback
regarding your moves but for the most part the choreography is easy to
figure out how to perform correctly.
The soundtrack is a major draw of this game and the developers have gone
all out to rope in some big names. Routines based around songs by major
artists such as Tiesto, Pitbull, The Donnas and more ensure that,
musically at least, there are top marks all around. Personally I would
have liked to have had some tracks more conducive to my personal tastes
but I guess itís hard enough gyrating your pelvis to Slayerís ďReign
In BloodĒ without adding some jazzy finger snapping to the mix. The
sound quality of the music is crisp and clean and the use of licensed
tracks adds to the appeal of the game, lending a kind of Dance
Central/ Just Dance vibe to proceedings.
Graphically the game holds up well, with pleasant and easy to read
character models. The graphics have a vivid quality to them that is
complemented by smooth animation. There are times where youíll notice a
graphical glitch crop up but these generally donít affect gameplay. One
disconcerting aspect of the game is that on occasion you may find
yourself pumping your pelvis frantically for what appears to be a blue
shirted Chris Klein, famous for playing ďOzĒ inďAmerican PieĒ.
Once you see him, you canít ever un-see him.
The game assumes that youíre already adept at keeping up with quick
tempo choreography, making it a hard sell as an entry point for casual
gamers. Zumba devotees and fitness freaks will be able to jump
right in and jam out with the best of them but us regular folks will
find it hard, particularly at the beginning, to mould our jelly rolls
into something less prone to confectionary comparisons. If you stick it
out though the results speak for themselves, with noticeable changes in
definition after barely a week of use for this tubby reviewer
If this is your first foray into the world of Zumba you may want
to start with the less punishing Zumba Fitness Rush, as some of
the routines here are brutal. For what it is - Basically an interactive
exercise video - Zumba Fitness Core is a great addition to the
exercise genre, featuring some sublime examples of motion tracking and a
strenuous but rewarding workout.