The Zumba Fitness Wii game is the next in what seems to be a never ending line of exercise games for motion control systems. Althought this game is available on all the motion-sensitive platforms, we’ll be taking a look at the Wii Zumba game. In case you aren’t familiar with the concept, Zumba is a Latin dance-based exercise regime that is usually set to peppy South American techno music. The moves are flashy, yet easy to learn and double as great exercise. It’s sort of a next generation Latin Jazzercise. The Wii Zumba game strives to bring the Zumba studio experience to your home via pounding Latin music and easy-to-follow on screen instructions.
The game is easy enough to set up on the Wii. You are provided with a belt which you strap around your waist, and the Wii remote fits snugly inside. It’s not the greatest system, but more on that later. You can choose from one of the games routines and then it’s as easy as doing what the person on screen is doing. I’m not going to lie, I’m sort of a glutton for embarrassment, so dancing games in general usually don’t phase me. Zumba Fitness requires you to do a little more than dance while standing still, and I soon found myself twirling and gyrating all around the room and having fun doing it.
However, there is a downside to the way that the game works on the Wii, and by proxy the PS3 as well. Even though you are supposed to wear the gaming belt with the Wii remote inside, the detection seems to be a little wonky, and during the tutorials I was resorting to shaking the remote manually in order just to get through them. It’s possible you could do this though the entirety of the game, but the reason most people do Zumba for will probably keep them from cheating: the exercise. After the tutorials are passed, the wonky detection isn’t so much of an issue, although you might find yourself frustrated by your scores sometimes.
Don’t let that discourage you though, there’s plenty to like about this game, and if the Wii is the only system you can play it on, then go for it. It’s got quite a loadout of routines, with 30 in all ranging from beginner all the way up to the advanced, long-haul exercise routines that I honestly never even touched. The soundtrack, while a little generic, does a good job of keeping you pumped up, and the addition of an on-screen trainer who informs you when to take breaks and drink water helps to keep the game feeling like the real Zumba experience.
All in all, though, if you’ve got a Kinect, go in that direction instead. The game was obviously designed for that system and ported to the Wii and PS3, and does a much better job at detection from what I’ve seen, since it requires you to keep your entire body moving and not just your Wiimote. If you don’t have the option though, the Wii should work just fine.