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[Zumba Fitness] Review: Aerobics dancing, Latin style! [8/10]


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[Zumba Fitness] Review: Aerobics dancing, Latin style! [8/10]
02-13-2011, 10:20 AM (This post was last modified: 02-13-2011 11:35 PM by Clemens.)
Post: #1
[Zumba Fitness] Review: Aerobics dancing, Latin style! [8/10]
Zumba Fitness

[Image: 2wp5s3t.jpg]
  • Official site http://=http://www.majescoentertainment....a-fitness/
  • Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
  • Developer: Pipeworks Software
  • Genre: Fitness/Dance
  • Players: 16
  • Xbox Live supported?: Yes
  • Uses avatars?: No
  • Age group: 16+

Zumba Fitness - The good
  • Diverse styles of dancing with a Latin flavor
  • Online multiplayer up to 16 dancers
  • Continuous jukebox-style dance classes
  • Customizable workout calendar

Zumba Fitness - The not so good
  • The tutorials mode
  • The tutorials mode
  • The tutorials mode
  • Very nitpicky on what constitutes a "perfect" move

Zumba Fitness - Introduction
Zumba Fitness is an exercise game based on the exercise series that is present at many gyms around the country as well as a series of home exercise DVDs. It holds the promise that you can do your entire Zumba exercise routines in the comfort of your own home with accompanying tutorials, dance routines, an exercise calendar planner, and online/local multiplayer dance parties.


Zumba Fitness - Kinect experience
The user interface is different but controls well. The facial recognition is good. Just wave your hand and it picks the correct account. The body recognition is very good but the flip side is that it's very nitpicky on what constitutes a successful move. When you do a move completely correctly, your body will be green. But if you do a move partially correctly, you'll be orange and most of the time you'll be orange because of how much movement there is in all the moves and because of all the spin moves. Dance Central, by comparison, was more lenient on what was a perfectly successful move and the moves were far simpler with less hip action and less spin moves.


Zumba Fitness - Graphics
The graphics are bright and colorful with a cartoony appearance. As you perform better during a routine, more fireworks-like effects occur and the number of dancers on the screen multiply. You also see silhouettes of your actual body in a couple windows in the background.


Zumba Fitness - Gameplay
Under the "Play" heading, you have Tutorials, Zumba Party, Zumba Class, Single Routine, Multiplayer (local, meaning everyone in the same room), and Xbox Live multiplayer (playing with people over the Internet, up to 16 players).

Under the workout calendar option, you can create your own workout schedule or you can select from a number of preset calendar choices that cover the entire range (from 2 beginner workouts a week for 20 minutes each workout all the way to the "Zumba Glow" schedule which is an expert workout every day of the week lasting 45 minutes or 20 minutes per workout).

If you're expecting Zumba Fitness to be Dance Central with Latin music, you'll be severely disappointed. If you want a game that teaches you to dance with a great tutorial system, Zumba Fitness is not for you. Although they have a similar superficial structure (tutorials and dance routines), they are designed differently. Whereas the tutorial in Dance Central matches the difficulty level you choose (i.e., you pick Easy level for Poker Face, you get a breakdown of the easy level steps for Poker Face), the tutorial section in Zumba Fitness does not distinguish between easy, medium, or expert. Each tutorial has all the steps of all difficulty levels for that particular routine. The Zumba tutorial starts with an easy step such as stepping forward then backward. Then it progresses to a more advanced version of the step such as including the hips. Then it incorporates the arms. The Zumba Fitness tutorials do not have a slow motion of the steps like in Dance Central. Also, in Dance Central, you can keep doing the exact same step interminably if you choose so. However, in Zumba Fitness, that is not the case. In fact, the tutorial section is essentially "broken". I've played Zumba Fitness on the Kinect and the Wii and have watched many tutorial vids on the Playstation Move and it's broken across all platforms. Let's face it. The tutorials section is not good. But the way to use the game is to play the single routines. There are multiple game types: Zumba Class, Zumba Party, single routines, etc. The problem with the tutorials is that they combine all the steps of all difficulty levels into the same tutorial. So for example, the Calypso Basic tutorial contains easy, intermediate, and expert steps.

But when you do the single routines (e.g., Calypso beginner), you only do steps for that difficulty level. So the tutorial is actually harder than the actual routine! Plus, the single routines are fixed times and have repetitive steps so for example, in one single routine which is about 4 minutes long, there's quite enough repetition for you to get the routine down. Whereas for the tutorial, the tutorial's length of time changes and it's very difficult to repeat the steps before the tutorial ends. So I would recommend you do the single routines and get the steps down. For example, do the Calypso beginner routines (there's 2 of them). Then go on to maybe merengue beginner routines. etc. etc. or maybe something like the Calypso beginner routines, then the intermediate routines, etc. Once you get all the steps down in the single routines, then go on to the Zumba Classes or Zumba Party modes. There's really no point in doing the frustrating tutorial mode. sidenote: For some of the tutorials, I ended up recording the tutorials and then setting them to 0.25X. So the tutorials sit on my PC and I stream the video to the 360 so I can do the tutorial at 0.25x to get the nuance of the hip movements and the rotations.

Beyond the tutorials are the actual game modes: Zumba Party, Zumba Class, and single routines.

Zumba Party includes: Beginner 20 minute class 1, Beginner 20 min class 2, Intermediate 20 min class 1, Intermediate 20 min class 2, Intermediate 45 min class 1, Intermediate 45 min class 2, Expert 20 min class 1, Expert 20 min class 2, Expert 45 min class 1, Expert 45 min class 2, Zumbathon.

Zumba Class includes: Beginner 20 min, Intermediate 20 min, Intermediate 45 min, Expert 20 min, Expert 45 min, Zumbathon.

Single routines include: Asalto (reggaeton / cumbia intermediate) 4:56, Baila pa emociona (calypso, warm-up beginner) 4:11, Bla blab la (cumbia/reggaeton expert) 2:58, Bring it on girl (latin dance expert) 3:49, Con movimiento (raga / dancehall expert) 4:53, Don't stop (samba expert) 2:39, Echa pa un lado (meringue / swing intermediate) 5:02, El amore el amore (meringue beginner) 4:20, El bacilon (meringue intermediate) 3:57, El twist de la munequita (rock `n roll beginner) 4:43, Enciendemela (cumbia/rumba expert) 3:31, Feel like dancing (ragga / dancehall intermediate ) 3:52, Funkizinho (warm-up expert) 4:57, Hala (reggaeton expert) 3:57, La bruja de la cosquilla (meringue expert) 4:40, La luz del flow (meringue / hip-hop expert) 3:51, Mawa sillah (calypso intermediate) 3:54, Mueve la cadera (meringue expert) 5:38, No quiero mas (salso intermediate) 2:57, Pa la discoteka (techno/cumbia expert) 4:13, Quiero volver a mis (bachata expert) 4:10, Sahara oasis (belly dance, cool down intermediate) 4:10, Sigue gozando con zumba (salsa expert) 4:05, Slide (warm-up intermediate) 3:12, Tu boquita (cumbia beginner) 4:50, Vamos DJ (conga/hip-hop expert) 5:04, Zocalypso (calypso, warm-up beginner) 5:35, Zumba lluvia (cool down expert) 4:06, Zumba mami (reggaeton beginner) 3:34, and Zumba sueno (salsa beginner) 4:37.

As you can see, you have a whole slew of different dances ranging from salsa to merengue to bellydancing to rumba, etc. etc.

Zumba Party is just like your typical Zumba class that you attend at the gym. It is either a 20 minute or 45 minute session that incorporates many different routines within that time frame. You can choose your difficulty level as well (beginner, intermediate, expert). Zumba Party is very intimidating because it's a very long session and it quickly jumps from one routine to another with somewhat abrupt transitions. If you don't know the steps, it can quickly become frustrating and makes it feel like you're flailing. Remember, to learn the steps, use the single routines. The single routines will also help you build up your fitness level and endurance since the single routines are only 2-4 minutes in length rather than almost nonstop 20 or 45 minutes. Once you do know the steps, the Zumba Party is fun but the steps are a problem since the tutorials are essentially broken. The goal of Zumba Party is to complete 10 classes from beginner to expert. Once you complete a skill level, it unlocks the next set of classes on your punchcard.

Now the single routines are where you really learn how to dance and it allows you to specifically dance the routines that you enjoy rather than a continuous jukebox of routines. The personal problem I have is the organization of the single routines. They are arranged not by difficulty or by style of dance. Rather, then are arranged by alphabetical order according to the Spanish words. So for example, if you just want to do calypso, you have to scroll through the entire list to get to Baila pa emociona (beginner), Mawa sillah (intermediate), and Zocalypso (warm-up beginner). I don't know Spanish so scrolling through a big list was not fun. And once you finish a routine, you are put all the way back at the beginning of the list ("Asalto") rather than at your last selected song.


Zumba Fitness - Multiplayer options
Now, if you don't go online with Zumba Fitness, you have single player, cooperative players, Zumba Attack!, and 2p vs 2p available. Cooperative players is where you and a friend are dancing together and you share the energy bar and you have to work together to build it up. Zumba Attack! is similar to Dance Battles in Dance Central. You are alternating turns and whoever builds the highest energy bar wins. 2p vs. 2p is you have 2 teams of 2 players each. Whichever team builds the highest energy bar wins. One team performs a whole routine. Then the next team performs the whole routine.

So once you get tired of dancing Zumba Fitness all by yourself in your home or run out of friends to dance with, the major selling point of Xbox is the online community, Xbox Live. Zumba Fitness allows you to find other people dancing online. You can either create your own Zumba Dance party with up to 16 players or you can hop into someone else's party that's already going on. It's like going to the gym to dance with other people but not actually having to go to the gym. You can chat with each other via headsets as well which brings the communal aspect into play.

When I was testing the online for this review, I was playing Zumba Fitness on the west coast at 11PM. That's 2AM for people on the Least Coast. So you can imagine there aren't a lot of Zumba classes going on at 11PM or 2AM and it couldn't find any sessions for me to join. I tried other times such as 9:30PM Pacific time and was able to join a class. And once you join the class, it's pretty cool. Being able to chat and do Zumba with other people. Now, you can't see the other people (which is a good thing or bad thing depending on your perspective), but you can chat with each other. So my advice is to find some Zumba friends, get to know them, and set up regular Zumba parties rather than depend on randomly finding a class to join.


Conclusion
If the tutorials worked like Dance Central, I would've rated this game a 9. The same as Dance Central but for different reasons. Dance Central gets a 9 because of its tutorial system, great soundtrack, and fun dancing. Zumba Fitness would've rated a 9 because of its continuous jukebox system where you can dance continuously for 20-45 minutes, its multiplayer capabilities, its online capabilities, its unique music, and its workout calendar. The only reason I can forgive the bad tutorials mode is that the single routines mode is almost like a tutorial mode. If you like Zumba, like Latin music, and can work without a great tutorial system, it's most definitely an 8. The game itself is nearly identical between the Wii, 360/Kinect, and Playstation Move so nearly all the comments here apply to all platforms. So whatever platform you have, Zumba Fitness is a good game. With the Kinect, you don't have to wear a belt, there's nothing to hold, and the motion detection is more accurate (check out the Wii and Move videos on youtube: with the belt system, all you have to do is shake the controller and you'll be green meaning you did the move "correctly"). The online community is a very cool touch. If you're expecting Zumba Fitness to be Latin Dance Central, don't buy it. The music is Spanish and also very unfamiliar to English speakers. The beats are good and the melodies are interesting. But for most people, they won't recognize any of the music. In the end, Zumba Fitness is stylized aerobic dancing, Latin ballroom-style, rather than a dance game.

Screenshots
[Image: ZumbaNatal2.jpg]

[Image: 10.4.10.51-image101.jpg]

[Image: ZumbaNatal1.jpg]

Video

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02-13-2011, 11:35 PM (This post was last modified: 02-13-2011 11:36 PM by Clemens.)
Post: #2
RE: [Zumba Fitness] Review: Aerobics dancing, Latin style! [8/10]
Great Review, thanks a bunch! Very informative! Especially like the way you compare it to Dance Central.

Thanks!

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02-14-2011, 08:29 AM
Post: #3
RE: [Zumba Fitness] Review: Aerobics dancing, Latin style! [8/10]
here's a sample video i recorded of a single routine. it was a cell phone cam video at 640x480 but it was big and my internet connection isn't that fast so i shrank it to 320x240 to get the size down so sorry for the poor quality.


I do have a question and I haven't quite figured it out yet. In your profile, you can choose beginner, intermediate, and expert setting. But the routine itself is labeled, beginner, intermediate, expert. So I'm wondering if the profile setting is for the leniency in scoring.

In the background, you can see my silhouettes and it's real time. So when my timing is right, it matches the onscreen character. But I had been playing Dance Central and Zumba for an hour so the human lag due to tiredness was kicking in. I also should've practiced this routine so I wouldn't look like I was clueless in the moves. Big Grin
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