As expected, another fitness game reaches us and again, from the trailers we have seen, we weren’t sure what to expect. Jillian’s Fitness Adventure claims to:
Leave the gym behind in this trip through a jungle setting that will whip you into shape one mission at a time. Jillian Michaels supercharges your workout with a wild thrill ride built around free-running, jumping, and freestyle climbing. Kinect monitors your movements and tracks your progress toward your goals in fully customizable routines. Switch things up with varied exercises in Individual Fitness Training or go for traditional Circuit Training in ten routines chosen by Jillian. You can incorporate fitness equipment you already have at home, post your progress on online leaderboards, and check out a calendar that logs every one of your Fitness Adventure workouts.
Unfortunately, it’s another sloppy title as most are that include floor exercises. The game itself is very bland, I was really hoping for some type of adventure game, as I did assume workout moves would be included on the way, but unfortunately that’s all it is, with collecting gems in between workouts. I believe the avatar is supposed to resemble Jillian but it doesn’t really do her justice and the graphics are sub-par. It’s very limited in what it could have been capable of. The only positive thing about it is that it does have a lot of Jillian’s workouts moves in it, so they are very tough, it would have helped if it detected better though.
Starting It Up
When you first start it up, it will scan you and typically recognizes your gamertag which is nice. It doesn’t seem to use Kinect ID but I have no idea, it could be modified code or something. Anyhow, once you choose your gamer profile, you are then prompted to set up your fitness profile. This includes your gender, age, height and weight. BMI (Body Mass Index) is auto-calculated for you based on what you enter, although I don’t think it makes a difference as all of the workouts are the same no matter what you enter. Once you set this up and save, you can start the game. You have to do this each time you start the game up, but it at least remembers your information after you enter it the first time.
The menu system wants to be like Dance Central’s but its pretty clunky. With the main menu items, you can figure it out, but trying to get to the back button, you have to figure out where that invisible button is in front you, and it may take you a few times to find it. The menu offers 4 areas; Fitness Training, Fitness Adventure, Stats and Options.
Fitness training consists of 2 options. You can choose single exercises, which has every single exercise in the game. There are 49 regular exercises and 15 exercises that are recommended with weights but you can still do them without them. When you choose an exercise, you are prompted to choose a difficulty level between beginner, intermediate and advanced. The only difference is the number of reps you do on the exercise, typically 10, 20 and 30. That’s really all there is to that section.
The other area contains circuits which are custom workout routines. Jillian hand-picked 10 of them, and you are free to create 10 of your own. Some of the ones Jillian picked out are things such as Fat Burner, Strength, etc. They are fairly easy to figure out what you want to do.
After you choose either a single exercise or a circuit, you are then prompted with 3 options. The first is to preview the exercise(s) which just shows Jillian’s avatar doing the motions. There is a warm-up option that you can choose, although it doesn’t display your image in the game and doesn’t bother doing any detection, so it’s up to you to warm-up or not. For doing Jillian’s exercises, they are tough and I’m kind of baffled why they allow you to not warm-up, people might end up hurting themselves.
Your last option starts the exercise(s). Once you begin, Jillian will demonstrate it for you 2-3 reps. Then it starts you out. You have to keep up with Jillian and time it with her. If you miss anything, it basically marks you wrong for the entire session, and the game doesn’t bother waiting for you. How this helps you to get better I’m not quite sure. This mode was more annoying than anything. That’s really all there is to this section, like I said earlier, it’s very bland.
The fitness adventure is where I thought the game would shine. Unfortunately I was wrong again. How it works is there are 58 levels. On each level are 4 exercises to do with their own set of reps. Once you choose a level, you can preview the exercises, warm-up or start your adventure. At the start, you are in a first person view, I became excited. I attempted to turn my head, nothing. I then walked in place, it started moving really fast, you’ll get a message about collecting gems. Green ones are good, red ones are bad, fairly simple logic. I experimented a little and tried stopping. My in-game character continued to walk and then stopped about 10 seconds after.
I then tried to walk backwards, but this did nothing as well. I also tried to run to see if speed made a difference, none at all. At this point I decided I don’t need to wear myself out so I walked the whole time. You will then come to an obstacle. To defeat this obstacle, you have to do a set amount of reps via an exercise. Your in-game view will automatically move while you are doing reps avoiding/progressing through the obstacles. Obstacles consist of ducking, dodging floor spikes, breaking through a wall, etc. Once you finish up your reps, it’s wash, rinse repeat from here on out. You walk some more, collect some more gems and then do another exercise. After the 4th one, you complete the level. This is the entire adventure mode, only path and exercises change per level. I tried level 58 as well, but it’s just longer with more reps (ie. instead of 5, it had 15). Your overall goal is to collect all of the gems and make it through the level as fast as possible.
I was looking for so much more in this mode, I thought we would have mini-games or even if we could do our own actions such as ducking and dodging, heck, even level up your character and increase your skills, anything really and it could have been a worthy title, but this is as far as it goes.
Anyhow, I did create a video to give you an idea of how it works. This is just one level but not much is different in between levels, the path taken, number of gems and obstacles are different and the exercises at least kind of match to what you need to, but timing is all off and it just looks goofy, you can see in the video:
The stats section offers a fitness calendar, which just records what you’ve done for the day and a leaderboards option to see how you compare against the world. I checked the leaderboards and it’s broken at the moment.
The options are basic as well, offering audio/video, Kinect tuner and the credits.
This is another title with floor exercises. They sort of work, however you have to keep re-adjusting Kinect due to it not being able to detect you from far away, and when you get closer where it is detecting you, it then starts cutting you out. It’s not even worth it to be honest. If the game offered more, then I could maybe look past it, but you have to re-adjust for floor exercises, and then re-adjust if you are doing a jumping exercise (Jillian loves her jumping jacks). Can you imagine doing this between 4 exercises on a level that you are timed on with 2 floor and 2 jumping? Actually I tried that 🙂 It was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had.
For the most part, standing exercise detection works pretty good. It does project your image on-screen, and then highlights your whole body using a typical red, yellow and green feedback system. But like I said, if you switch up to a floor exercise, then you have to re-adjust your kinect tuner, otherwise your floor exercises will be red. I did also mess around with other floor activities and did push ups just mimicking the up and down motion without actually doing a push up and it marked me green on them, that’s when I lost my confidence in the tracking.
Realistically, this is quite a depressing fitness title. I will give them credit for putting Jillian’s actual exercises in it though, so I suppose if you compare this to her DVDs, it depends on what you want to work out with, but DVDs may be a better option. It offers her traveling push ups, hindu push ups, bicycles, squat jumps, etc. If you play this game without caring about the feedback system, you can work out with her exercises although if not done right, I’m not sure if it will impact you in a positive or negative way. Majesco is another publisher releasing half the amount of titles that Ubisoft is, so this may have been a quick buck title unfortunately as well.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Jillian Michaels Fitness Adventure
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