If nothing else, Fitness Adventure sure is novel. By embracing Jillian Michaels’ belief that exercise should be fun, Fitness Adventure turns working out into a relatively entertaining experience. Short of delivering an actual adventure videogame, Fitness Adventure does include levels, leaderboards and collectibles that provide an assortment of different workouts while giving the whole experience an enjoyably unique setting and an additional purpose beyond the burning of those dastardly Christmas calories.
Dressed in Lara Croft-esque fatigues, Jillian Michaels (a famous trainer on the popular Biggest Loser TV show) takes you through a selection of Indiana Jones-like locations as you run, jump and kick your way through each level in as fast a time as possible. Played from the first person perspective, Fitness Adventure provides a surprisingly enthralling experience. It doesn’t deliver in the same way as a traditional FPS would, but as a happy medium between traditional videogame and fitness instruction, Fitness Adventure really does hit the nail on the head.
With green and red orbs available for collection as you run through each stage, spikes to dodge via lunges and even giant spiders to kick out of the way, Fitness Adventure does a very good job of taking your mind off the fact that you’re actually working out (surely a God-send for those who hate the gym). With a little image of yourself in one corner and another of Jillian showing you how to correctly take on each challenge, the majority of actions and challenges are very easy to navigate with little in the way of confusing objectives or tasks – it may look like a traditional videogame, but Fitness Adventure is as user friendly as Wii Fit.
Each stage is relatively short, but they can be played one after another allowing for extended workouts for those looking to get a major sweat on. Stages can also be played individually and in any order with work out, and practice sessions also available. These practice sessions provide the option to have Jillian run you through the level so that you know what to expect and what is needed for success before each event. It’s a nice touch and one that will inevitably help to ease casual gamers into the experience.
While many will obviously welcome the customisable difficulty settings and the ability to take things at their own pace, I was amazed at just how competitive I became when taking each stage on. Thanks to the inclusion of online leaderboards for each level, rather than thinking about how many calories I was burning, my mind was usually on shaving a few additional seconds off my time – a potential addiction that I’m sure will help many to push that little harder during their daily workout.
On top of the adventure-based stages, there is also the option to take a more traditional approach to working out and to create individually designed workout procedures based on the moves available from the main game. There is also the option to customise your workout based on what area of the body you want to work on or what type of training you are interested in. It’s not as fun as taking the more adventurous route, but for those looking for a more specific workout, it’s a very nice option to have.
As great as all this may sound though, be warned, there are a few technical issues. Like all Kinect-enabled games, there are moments when the sensor fails to read your movements. It’s not as bad as in other Kinect titles, but there are a few situations in which your perfectly suitable pose isn’t accepted by the game. This can lead to a great deal of frustration as progression in each stage is only allowed once you have achieved the specific pose required, thus leaving you stuck in the middle of a level as you desperately flail about in an attempt to make your little Kinect sensor happy. Whether this is the fault of the game or the Kinect technology itself is hard to say, but either way, these moments of frustration occur a little too often for my tastes and can become a major pain in the ass.
Minor technical hiccups aside though, Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Adventure is a very decent stab at delivering a genuinely entertaining fitness videogame. You’re not likely to play it for giggle alone, but if you are keen to work up a quick sweat in a competitive and entertaining environment, then Fitness Adventure’s combination of hard work and fun might well prove just the ticket. The fantasy setting is a nice change of pace from the usually character free fitness videogames cluttering the shelves, and, while it’s no Uncharted 3, it’s certainly home to some pretty decent visuals and lighting effects. It’s by no means perfect, but for those looking to add a unique twist to their new year fitness regime, Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Adventure is well worth a look.
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