Exercise games have always been a staple genre in the Wii console. Coming in hot on the heels of their We Cheer series, Namco has developed their own exercise game called Exerbeat. Exerbeat is just what it sounds like: exercising to a beat. It’s good to remember these two things, as they will determine whether you thoroughly enjoy this game or not.
For players looking for an intermediate exercise game that offers a slew of features, Exerbeat is right up their alley. The game utilizes a wide variety of beginner and intermediate exercise moves which the player must copy while holding the Wii controller.
In Exerbeat, you start off with a few basic exercises in three categories: Dance Exercises, Martial Arts, and Body Conditioning. As your avatar performs an exercise action onscreen, your task is to mirror the motion. To aid you, a virtual arrow shows the proper direction of the movement, and a star that travels along the arrow path signals the timing. If done correctly, the Wii remote vibrates, giving you the satisfying feeling of having performed the exercise right.
Exerbeat is split into Aerobics, Hip-hop, Latin Dance, Yoga, Stretching, Boxing, and Karate. Boxing and Karate are notable among these, as Exerbeat is one of the only available Wii games out there that offers these two disciplines. Each category has about 20 exercise move sets each, adding up to a massive collection of routines that you can do.
To increase motivation and interest, the game comes with a story mode section that involves traveling around the world unlocking areas and advanced exercise moves. Unlocking the extra features depends on the number of calories the player has burned, which the game keeps track of. There are also five minigames namely Swimming, Dance Fever, Pizza Toss, Wall Smasher, and Pirate Attack. The minigames incorporate some of the exercise movements in the main game but offer unique objectives like breaking a wall with a steady barrage of punches or slicing cannonballs fired by pirates in half.
Finally, the game provides an instructor or coach that yells some motivational phrases to keep you going during the exercise segments. There are also progress charts, a heartbeat monitor, calorie counters, and customized workouts to make your Exerbeat experience as complete as possible.
The graphics and audio are pretty average for a Wii game. Exerbeat’s avatars aren’t as defined and animated as much as it should have been, and the soundtrack, which makes up half of the gameplay, is generic and forgettable. It does offer beats that you can groove and gyrate to, but overall most of the music is par at best.
The biggest drawback of Exerbeat is the motion detection. You often need to hold the Wii remote in a specific angle to allow the game to register your movements. This requires some trial and error and may test the patience of the majority of gamers.
Another negative aspect is the need to unlock the more advanced exercise moves. Unlike other exercise games which already feature the bulk of the routines at the beginning, Exerbeat hides them away and requires the player to go through an unlocking process. This is fine for those who plan on completing the main story mode, but others who just want to fire up the Wii and immediately perform the full routines are in for a rude surprise.
Finally, the moves themselves are intermediate at best. Don’t expect the Boxing and Karate sections to teach you how to defend yourself on the street. Although Exerbeat uses actual elements of the different disciplines, you won’t begin to scratch the surface.
The Exerbeat Wii game can be played in single or multiplayer mode. It uses the standard Wii console and controllers, but some exercises need the Wii Balance Board and Wii MotionPlus. It doesn’t really take away much from the game if you don’t have the two peripheral items, but you’ll be missing out on some of the more exciting features. On the other hand, having all of them might clutter up your living room for just a simple 15 minute exercise routine, so you’d have to decide whether to utilize the side items or not. The game also supports two Wii controllers in both hands for the exercises.
The Wii Exerbeat game is one of the better exercise games out there. It does have its drawbacks, but overall, if you’re looking for a quick sweat to burn those extra calories while grooving to some background beats, Exerbeat will not disappoint.