Now that the Kinect is out, exercise games are coming out for it in droves. Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved arrived at launch, and EA Sports Active 2 arrived soon after. However, one other game that’s worth noting is The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout, based on the NBC show of the same name. In case you’ve never seen the show, it’s a competitive weight loss program where overweight folks try to drop as many pounds as possible, with the help of Jillian Michaels and that other guy, Bob. The game is related more to general workouts than featuring anything from the show, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile product.
In fact, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout shapes up surprisingly well. The first thing you’ll notice is the wide range of activities and exercises available. If some things don’t tickle your fancy (like the heart-pounding cardio), chances are you’ll find something else to your liking in no time. The game evaluates your body structure, then makes recommendations from there on what to do. There are a few exercises that don’t work properly with the Kinect, namely the floor ones that don’t get a 100 percent body reading, but for the most part, you’re able to mimic the actions in the game via a virtual grid of your figure standing alongside the trainers.
For a first-time Kinect workout game, The Biggest Loser works. The game keeps a reading on your movement in real time, letting you know where you need to improve and if you’re going too fast or slow via a colored gauge on the bottom. Your trainer will also notify you via audio commands if something’s working great or not, and you can shout audio commands to let them know how you’re holding up or if you need a break. It’s a good idea, but it doesn’t always work properly, and as a result, the menu disappears seconds later without recording your response.
Along with solo workouts, The Biggest Loser also gives you the option of working out alongside friends online. It’s not the greatest group activity we’ve engaged in over Xbox Live, but it is an innovation, and you can probably form a nice little workout league if you’re up for it. You can also share your results with fellow gamers, and keep track of your progress without breaking a sweat.
If you’re serious about losing weight, the game also provides you health tips and nutrition-based recipes, so you can feel like you’re actually participating in the show without feeling Jillian Michaels’ personal wrath. These make The Biggest Loser an all-around comprehensive package, and one for serious workout nuts.
As for the presentation, it’s not amazing, but it is competent. The music is mostly forgettable, but you can always blare your own soundtrack in the background via the Xbox media player. The trainer commands are helpful, though a little harsh at times, and it’s great hearing their feedback in real-time. The visuals do a good job letting you keep an eye on the trainer, while tracking your own progress as well. There are a variety of places to work out as well, and watching others get into the action is somewhat fun.
While The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout may seem like another fitness knock-off, the fact it has so much health-related content packed into it, along with mostly good interactivity with the Kinect, make us feel like it deserves a recommendation. This Loser will make you feel like a winner — if you’re strong enough.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]