Published on December 2nd, 2019 | by Lyla Saudi
Zumba Burn It Up!
Summary: Combines fitness with dancing without the need to go to the gym.
Feel the burn!
Zumba Burn it Up! is a dance fitness game published by 505 Games and developed by the team that brought you Guitar Hero Live (Kuju Games). It is a single or multiplayer experience which is designed to get you off the couch and shaking your hips. Using the Nintendo Switch controllers to track your movement, players will follow choreographed exercise routines to get the heart rate up. Zumba Burn it Up! is ‘Just Dance’ with less skill and more sweat and is well designed to keep you exercising in the long term.
Zumba is a fitness craze which was borne out of Latin America about a decade ago and is renowned for salsa inspired and hip-hop styled booty shaking. It relies on foot stomping beats, high energy movements and always has a constant rhythm to keep you moving. It is dance with attitude, it is exercise with style, and rhythm with hype.
This is definitely a ‘workout’ experience and an exercise tool rather than a gaming experience. While those with a sense of rhythm and some ‘moves’ will have more fun, even those that feel awkward and uncoordinated will be able to get their heart rate up and feel the burn in their arms and legs. The game is well set-up with player tracking, daily goals, and weekly challenges which encourage repeatability and players to get active and healthy over an extended period of time. The full class mode is a great timed workout shuffling through different song selections to get an optimal experience based on your fitness level and your available amount of time. The varying intensities came into play wonderfully here and are the best way to experience the game and build your fitness.
The audio quality is great and there is plenty of bass to help get you moving and grooving. However, games of this nature ultimately live or die by the soundtracks and unfortunately the current offering is less than one would hope for. The song list is relatively small at around 30 titles of varying tempo and intensity, and although Cardi B and Ciari are included in the song list, none of the songs used would be considered huge hits.
The game runs smoothly throughout with limited loading times which is important in keeping the heart rate up and calories burning. Each song has its own choreography designed to work your entire body and led by qualified Zumba instructors. Your instructors are live captured dancers who take you through your Zumba workout. And these are not the faceless silhouettes of Just Dance, these are real people, and this makes a big difference in your engagement as you feel like you are being ‘instructed’ through your exercise routine.
I did find myself at times questioning the accuracy of the motion sensing in relation to the scoring. Unlike the now defunct Xbox Kinect, the Switch has always relied on the hand based JoyCon remotes which makes a lot of the hip and waist movement, which is synonymous with Zumba, a bit frustratingly irrelevant. This was highlighted in my ability to get better scores by flicking my wrists rather than actually dancing which is a small limitation to the long-term replay-ability of the game. However, if you take this as a fitness experience, and not a dancing game, this ultimately doesn’t really matter as getting fit is the main goal, not chasing high scores.
Don’t mistake this for a dance game, it is not really meant to be played competitively, but instead it is a fitness experience. For fans of Zumba, or those who want to try it, this offers a great exercise and the opportunity to work up a sweat in an enjoyable way in the comfort of your own lounge room. This professionally package workout game is nicely presented and offers a fun fitness motivator and is a solid alternative to heading to a gym, provided you have the space.
Title: Zumba Burn it Up!
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Kuju Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: November 2019