GAME NAME: Zumba Fitness – Rush
DEVELOPER(S): Zoë Mode
PUBLISHER(S): Majesco Entertainment
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360/Kinect
RELEASE DATE(S): 24 February 2012
Zumba Fitness – Rush is not the sort of game that G3AR is usually interested in. Primarily an exercise tool that can substitute for attending the increasingly popular Latin music-based Zumba classes that are popping up globally, the Zumba series of games are aimed at people who might at some point attend those classes. None of the G3AR staff really fit that profile. But someone had to do it and that someone was our charming female assistant who played the game while we watched, took notes and, occasionally, measured a pulse.
Zumba Fitness – Rush for the Kinect features extra content not found in Zumba Fitness 2, which was released for the Wii late last year, but they are essentially the same product. This content consists of extra routines, dance venues and instructors, not counting the Kinect capabilities that mean you don’t need to hang on to a Wii remote. There are 42 tracks in Rush that cover most Latin music styles, veering off into some hip-hop and pop for variety. Each track has its own routine, based off of four different dance styles. Salsa, Reggaeton, Merengue and Cumbia are the four in question and each style is broken down into four basic steps that can be practised in the Learn the Steps mode.
Speaking of modes, these are somewhat limited on the face of things. The only real options are Single Song, Full Class,and Learn the Steps. The online option, Zumba World, points players in the direction of DLC and might even show you if there is a live-action Zumba class nearby. The Progress Tracker option does exactly what it says on the label, offering a daily, weekly and monthly breakdown of your activities. Single Song lets players experience a single song and this section offers a very Just Dance sort of experience, albeit one that is tempered by the idea that you’re supposed to be working out. Full Class is where the major activity happens and is subdivided into a short, medium or full class that takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to complete.
For all these options Zumba Fitness – Rush is just variations of the same theme. Whether you are repeating the same single track, piling through a full workout class or trying a custom created class, you will be doing the same thing with slightly different motions. The length of time you play and which Intensity tracks you pick seem to be the deciding factor when looking to Rush as a weight-loss vehicle. It definitely makes players sweaty, which is one indication that exercise is happening, but a fair bit of playing is needed for any physical results to manifest. Or two sessions if you’re some kind of superhuman.
But how does Zumba pick up human movement? Sometimes players need to display a higher degree of movement accuracy that you’d expect in order to attain the 5 star ranking on a song but in order to hit the 3 star mark you only really need to keep moving. It may take a while for players to perfectly replicate onscreen movements but Zumba is more about the exercise than the form. There isn’t going to be a test later or anything. The Kinect manages to read human motion rather well for the most part, which enforces a greater degree of conformity to the program than would be seen from just a workout DVD.
But Zumba Fitness – Rush is still basically a glorified exercise DVD. Strip away the Kinect features and run the 42 songs as they stand and players could get an almost identical workout without the need for anything remotely gaming-related. But the interactive nature of Rush will find it more than a few converts and fans who will happily wiggle their various appendages on command and manage to lose weight doing it. Rush isn’t really a game and won’t appeal to most hardcore gamers but if you like this sort of thing there is no reason to not give it a shot. All you stand to lose is a few kilograms.