With a new control system that detects arm and leg movements, a fitness game was inevitable. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved fills the void at launch, but does it have enough staying power to warrant a purchase? In a word, yes.
The game, taking a cue from Wii Fit and EA Sports Active, includes exercise routines and tracks your progress over time. In addition to the straight exercises, there are two fitness classes (yoga and cardio boxing) and minigames that require strenuous movement.
As you perform movements, the game judges you on how well you’re lifting your knees, moving your arms and keeping in rhythm. This is where the game’s a bit finicky, as sometimes it just misreads you and doesn’t register a kick or squat. It’s not crucial, though, since the percentage scores that result aren’t the focus of the game and nothing’s tied to it. It works most of the time, though, so it’s good enough at what it’s supposed to do: encourage you to do better.
The exercises are grouped into routines that are designed for a specific purpose, be it toning, losing weight or just breaking a sweat. Each has a length, and when you start one of the programs, it tracks your progress for a set number of sessions.
The games are interesting, if derivative. There’s a hula hoop game for people who want to move their hips, a Simon-like step-on-the-lights challenge, one where you hold your arms out to balance blocks on a plank and one where you punch and kick blocks that appear in front of you. The most entertaining is the punching, as it’s satisfying to watch the blocks explode in Mario-like fashion. All work fine, and though multiplayer is supported, they’re really only useful for taking a break between workouts.
One headache for Kinect owners at launch has been the shoddy menu frameworks in most games, but Your Shape totally nails it. It measures your arm length, then puts selections around you so you can reach out and touch each one comfortably. This works wonders, and is leagues better than the “hold your arm out in an exact position that isn’t pointing at anything in particular” setup of the first-party games, not to mention some third-party attempts.
Ultimately, none of this matters if you don’t want a fitness game. If you have a Kinect, though, you’re fairly likely to desire one, though, and this fits the bill rather nicely.