If you have ever had a membership to a gym you probably went like clockwork for the first while, but at some point you noticed that you missed a day here and there. No big deal, you thought you would make it up, but then something else comes up or you are not in the mood and the next thing you know you have not been to the gym in months. I know my biggest hurdle with working out and exercising is motivation, and I know I am not alone. Exercising by yourself is not all that entertaining, even with your favorite tunes blasting. For me to stay dedicated to a specific workout or exercise regime I need to be inspired and focused without any outside distractions; this is where Ubisoft and their Your Shape Fitness Evolved titles come into play.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 is now on the WiiU and I was quite curious to see what Ubisoft’s fitness franchise could do on Nintendo’s newest console. I have played the previous ‘games’ on the Xbox 360 using Kinect. For the Wii U version, if you have experienced any of the previous Your Shape titles in the past, expect much of the same mechanics for workouts, routines, activities, challenges and whatnot. There are also a few new things this time around too. Keep in mind this title is not going to turn your couch potato gut into washboard abs; it is more of an addition to a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and proper nutrition, not a magical fix.
The first thing you do when you start up Your Shape 2013 is set up your profile. Here you input in your weight and height (with imperial or metric numbers). Make sure you know your height in inches or centimeters, as there’s no X-foot, X-inches scale of measurement. You will also take a picture of yourself with the GamePad’s built in camera that will be used as your icon and shared online with your friends should you choose. Your profile, stats and picture can be changed at any time and updated to reflect your current progress towards your fitness goals. (PLEASE NOTE ALL SCREENSHOTS AND ASSETS WERE SENT FROM UBISOFT AND ALL THE PICS OF THE GAMEPAD(INCLUDING BELOW) SHOWS GERMAN LANGUAGE. OUR APOLOGIES, BUT YOU SHOULD GET THE POINT).
The main screen on the GamePad gives you many options to choose including Activities, Classes, Workout, News, To Do, and Program. As you complete any of these your burned calories are calculated (and coins earned) and the more calories you burn the higher Fitness Level you can obtain. In regards to GamePad functionality, it simply shows you a real time tally of calories burned and time remaining on your current session. During any of the Zen activities you hold the GamePad in your hands, but the majority of all activities and workouts require you to hold a Wii Remote (the front of the box even tells you one is required) so make sure you always have one beside you before you start a session.
So let us go down the list of options in the main menu, beginning with Activities. Here you will have fun dancing or relaxing with some Zen activities. In regards to the dancing portion, you start off with four songs, Born This Way by Lady Gaga, Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO, She Wants to Move by N.E.R.D., and S.O.S. by Rihanna. Each of these songs has two difficulty levels. Obviously this is not the most robust soundtrack out there, especially if you are used to playing any other dancing games on other systems, but at least they are included here for a quick sidetrack or cool down session. If you have friends over they can grab a Wii Remote and join in trying to mimic the onscreen dancer too. The Zen activities have you sitting on the ground or standing in specific poses, like a sumo stance, where you hold the GamePad outwards and try to follow a moving orb as accurately as possible for the most points. While this may not sound exhausting, it can become tiring on your legs, thighs, and arms when you are struggling to not give up doing slow and deliberate movements. While it isn’t as exhausting as say yoga, it is meant for relaxation and body stretching.
The next option is Classes. Here you participate in various theme based activities. Along with some dancing there is a Kickboxing mode that starts you off with easy jabs, hooks, and uppercuts, but then moves onto kicks and other moves that will tone your thighs and arms. Cardio Dance is a burning dance session meant to bump up that heartbeat. Zen Zone and Zen Arena are Yoga and Pilate-like sequences along with some light punching. Cardio Classes attempts to boost your stamina with lunges, jogging, and other activities to work a sweat up. Lastly there is Power Training that will work every section from your abs, butt, legs, and thighs to boosting your cardio and stamina among other routines. You can do all of these modes with friends as well if you want work out with a partner or two.
The Workout option consists of your more traditional fitness routines to build muscle and target specific areas. Abs is the first section (as I would assume it’s also the most sought after) but you can also choose from arms, back, butt, full body, and legs. You pick the body part you want to work and then can choose the specific workout from toning, shaping, or sculpting. There are also Ultra routines that can be unlocked with your earned coins.
Tapping on ‘New’ in the menu will show you your own records and unlocked medals (essentially in game achievements), keep track of your friends and their progression, and links to the “Your Shape Center” (more on that below). If a friend reaches a new high score there will be a “Beat Score” button allowing you to instantly challenge their score. You are also able to encourage friends by ‘cheering’ their achievements and progression. The ‘To Do’ section is three daily random tasks for you to complete for extra bonus coins. This is a neat addition as it adds some variety and helps you if you if you cannot decide what you feel like working out to that day.
Finally there is the Program option. Here you can personalize a workout that has activities to keep you interested. First you choose to improve stamina, reduce stress, build muscles, lose weight, tone lower body, tone upper body, or play just for fun. Next you choose the length of your program; one, two, or four weeks of commitment, finished off with the choice of two, three, or four sessions. You can even pick your favorite style of activities from fighting, dancing, or Zen. Being able to customize the workout I wanted to do definitely helped with the motivation to continue it.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 also gives you more choices if you press the Menu button at the top left of the GamePad, making for some slight confusion. This menu gives you options to Play (main screen), view your Profile (where you can change your body stats or picture at any time), Medals, Store (where you use your earned coins to purchase new songs, workouts, trainer outfits, or routines), Options, and Fitness Pal.
In regards to the latter, I am kind of disappointed Fitness Pal is so hidden and buried away in a bunch of menus. There was zero nutrition and diet information in previous versions. Now it is here, but it is hidden away hoping you might find it. Once you do you will find a bunch of recipes (complete with mouthwatering pictures) for a healthier lifestyle. You can choose goals like Build Muscles, Child-friendly Cooking, Lose Weight, Improve Stamina, or Reduce Stress. The recipes are tailored towards these categories and you will even find more specific ones within, like Gluten-free, Cheap, Vegan, and Vegetarian, which is a nice touch. I appreciate that this has finally been included, but it is simply a picture, ingredients, and basic instructions. It would have been nice to have some videos to go along with it so you have a reason to bring your GamePad into the kitchen rather than looking the recipe online elsewhere.
You can link your game to your UPlay account and to the free service at yourshapecenter.com. Here you can set goals, join events, or make challenges for friends. You can link your Gamertag and Facebook, track your progress, share results with your friends and family, track your stats in detail, see your collective calories burned, join global events, view time played, view your events completed, create tailored goals, and much more. For a free service it is actually quite robust and a good tool to make use of if you really want to track your progress.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 looks great in HD. The trainer’s animations are smooth, fluid, and realistic. The latter is important as the trainers stay “human-like” and are not doing things you cannot. You may find that the trainer’s stamina and enthusiasm most likely won’t match your own at times. Backgrounds look inviting and relaxing yet everything looks sharp and has that Your Shape feel to it. As for the sound, the trainer’s voices are always calm and relaxing, trying to encourage you to push through the burn and carry on towards your goal. Sure there may be some repetition in the narrating, but how many different ways can you tell the player to bend those knees?
The only main issue I had with Your Shape 2013 was the accuracy of the Wii Remote when doing the dancing and workout routines. It was not always accurate; sometimes I get many perfects in a row and then next thing I know they are just ok’s. The problem is that there are no indicators or explanation to tell you what or why you are doing something wrong, so there is no way to improve or get better without trial and error. I will be honest, I didn’t have any Motion+ Wii Remotes but it never said it was required and the randomness of ‘perfect- to- ok’ seemed odd. There is nothing like actually trying your hardest in a workout only to find you only scored 4% because of the controller tracking.
If you’re looking for something to help you along with your fitness goals and recently bought a Wii U, you really cannot go wrong with Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013, especially if you want something to break up the monotony of going to the gym. Does this title make the best use out of the GamePad by simply being a live ticker of your calories burned and remaining time left? No, but on the other hand I would not want to be jumping and punching while holding it. While Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 may not have as many of the more fun activities as the previous games on the Kinect, there is a little bit of everything here to keep things fresh and keep you interested while you work towards your customized fitness goals.