So, another rhythm-based exercise game makes an appearance on the Wii. Its always hard to judge these kinds of titles because, usually, they’re just a bunch of mini-games designed for fitness purposes. ExerBeat hopes to add some longevity and fun to the genre, which is already full of forgettable exercise sims that frustrate more than improve fitness. Hopefully ExerBeat will add something new and actually help in maintaining a person’s health whilst at the same time still be a fun game to play.
ExerBeat is a rhythm-based fitness game aimed at people of all ages who have the intention to stay in good health. With 155 exercises and various menu options, ExerBeat has the ability to take up much of your day, if you put the time into it. With so many options available, friends and family members can find something they like with 155 exercises covering 8 categories of popular exercise routines including Hip Hop, Latin Dance, Aerobics, Boxercising, Karate, Karate Forms, Yoga/Pilates and Stretching. As you progress through ExerBeat, you end up unlocking further exercises/workouts to get to grips with. There are also some Party Fitness exercises such as Dance Fever and Wall Smasher, which helps add some longevity to ExerBeat. The boxing and karate can become quite involving and you do feel yourself becoming more confident.
The workouts are easy and very accessible. You can follow each exercise by watching the fairly straightforward instructions as the instructor moves their body and Wii Remote to the beat. The amount of calories burned as well as METs (intensity of the workout) is displayed for each exercise which encourages you to try harder because the results of the workout are right in front of you. You can create a personal workout program by identifying areas you want to improve upon and, obviously, you can set the length and goals of your workouts. The instructors give somehelpful insight to ensure you are gaining the most from your exercises, but while they sound knowledgable and are good at offering you advice, they’re not very good at encouraging you to push harder, and becuase of this, ExerBeat just lacked a personal touch in this regard.
As mentioned previously, you can play party games with family and friends. The games on offer are reasonable and are quite enjoyable to play. Additionally there’s the race to complete Around the World mode, where your Mii travels around the globe based on your workout progress. There’s also a graph and calendar which is able to keep track of your family’s progress. All these functions make Exerbeat quite an interesting title as it’s not just a series of unrelated exercise games.
For Exerbeat to work, your movements need to be consistently recognised, otherwise, what’s the point of playing if your exercises are not registering. In ExerBeat the movements that work the best are the punching towards screen elements. The slower movements tend to be more hit than miss, but you’ll find the circle motions the most frustrating because they hardly register, something which is even more annoying for a beginner. ExerBeat does something quite unique to the genre in that many of the exercises are not available at the start; you have to burn enough calories to unlock additional exercises. Burnt calories allow you to travel the world via the Around the World mode, arriving in new cities opens up new exercises for you to try.
Graphically, ExerBeat won’t win anything for innovation or quality. The instructors models are pretty average, utilising a very limited selection of colours whilst the majority of backgrounds are quite bland. The instructors’ movements are easy to understand but look blocky on screen. With an exercise game the music is an important element, but in ExerBeat it seems to a lack a certain well… beat to it. ExerBeat was just as enjoyable with the music turned down, but the music won’t grate the ears if you decide to listen to it. In the party games the music is a little bit more upbeat.
Is Exerbeat an alternative to going to the gym or a general fitness work? You would have to argue yes if you are willing to take it seriously. Sure there will be plenty of people who can successfully play ExerBeat lying on a couch but that isn’t the point. If you enjoy keeping fit and don’t fancy venturing out of the house, then ExerBeat is a worthy addition to your Wii. Just remember to warm up sufficiently because it can be mildly embarrassing pulling a muscle playing a fitness game!
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