When the Wii U was announced I was not surprised that a Wii Fit U was also announced by Nintendo, and that it would not make it in time for the system launch. What did surprise me, however, is that the only third party publisher who attempted to even fill this niche was Ubisoft. With no signs of EA’s Active brand appearing on the console right now, Ubisoft saw fit to release Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 for the Wii U. While it’s the first fitness game for the Wii U, does it live up to Nintendo’s flagship Wii Fit series? And does it make use of the Wii U’s functionality as well as it can for a launch title? The answer to one of these questions is “yes”.
Upon booting Your Shape I was greeted by something familiar, given my experience with this franchise – and it’s nice to see that this aspect has carried over. Your Shape does a great job at making you feel like you’re playing something very futuristic – the menu and user interface are all incredibly clean, utilise a lot of white space and make the player feel like they’re doing something a little bit snazzier than what they actually are doing. This is a good thing, I guess, it makes the player feel a little bit inspired. Following your fascination with the game’s presentation, players can write in their weight, age and height using the GamePad, take a photo of themselves and begin working out to start shedding those kilos and burning those calories.
Your Shape allows players to do almost anything you can think of with options to work out on specific areas, do “classes” of activities as if you were attending a real gym as well as other cardio / power training such as kickboxing. Of course, taking a bit of a chunk out of the Wii Fit pie, Your Shape also allows players to relax in the “Zen Zone”.
The workouts themselves are well put together and most will have the player building up a sweat quite easily. During these workouts the Wii U GamePad has to be put down and a Wii Remote is instead used. This really makes you wonder how well this game properly uses the Wii U functionality. The GamePad displays time and calories burned, that’s correct, but maybe some kind of motion tracking technology utilised by the camera (as Ubisoft did with the Wii iteration of Your Shape) would be much more desirable. As it stands, Your Shape feels a little bit basic – it doesn’t utilise the Balance Board, it only uses the Wii Remote and it doesn’t really take full advantage of the GamePad outside of some gyroscope gimmicks thrown in during some workouts. In short – it’s a little bit disappointing and definitely something that could be done somewhere else.
The non-workout activities such as dancing are fun to play but generally players will have trouble maintaining their interest outside of ten to fifteen minutes. I always thought that dancing was a great way to exercise without realising you’re doing it, and in this game you not only realise you are exercising but it’s generally quite boring too. With five songs available (from the likes of Lady Gaga, LMFAO and Rihanna) it gets old rather quick and is surprising to see such a missed opportunity given Ubisoft’s other popular dancing franchise on the Wii.
The Zen Zone was quite a nice addition to the game that surprised me more so than when I played it on other consoles. Essentially it combines the concepts behind Yoga and Meditation and presents them to the player to allow them to relax or cool down after a very intense workout. It’s a nice addition, uses the gyroscope in an interesting way and is potentially the stand out of the whole package.
Given that there is so much to do in Your Shape, however, players can also choose to wade through everything to develop their own “program”. By doing so, the game can then present a course of exercises to suit the players’ goals and the time they want to take to achieve them. It’s a great way to get exactly what you want out of the Your Shape package, especially as the many options available might overwhelm some players.
While Your Shape is a comprehensive fitness package that offers players as many options to work out as it can, there’s a few issues with it. Firstly, it doesn’t really use the Wii U as well as it could and secondly the limited functionality of the Wii Remote means it’s pretty easy to ‘cheat’ your way through the moves – though one has to wonder why you would even bother with Your Shape if that was your intention. There were times when the admittedly outdated technology in the Wii Remote wouldn’t pick up our movements correctly, so that was a bit annoying too.
The game attempts to lengthen itself by allowing players to earn fitness coins after each workout, which can then be traded in for additional workout activities. The game also tries to give the player the tools and enable them to make healthier choices when it comes to food – offering several meals that can be organised into categories (ie. Food to eat to lose weight, food to assist in toning) so players can properly target and achieve goals. It’s a good thing to see a competitor develop a package as substantial (if not, potentially more so) than what Nintendo offers with its Wii Fit package. But obviously, your mileage may vary depending on how dedicated you are to your exercise programme / own personal health. The fact that the game gives the players the opportunities to better themselves outside of actual exercise is to be commended too. The game gives players a sense of community with an online function post-patch, but this just tracks how many calories have been burnt worldwide. It’s nice, but ultimately pointless.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 is a little bit of a weird game to review. On one hand it really does nothing to utilise the Wii U’s unique functionality outside of a few superficial choices, but on the other it provides a very complete fitness package that is sure to appeal to anyone who wants to better themselves in their own privacy no matter which level of athletic expertise they might have already acquired. A great package for anyone looking to get in shape for summer (or, in our case, the rest of our summer). Just make sure you’ve got a spare Wii Remote on hand already, as you’ll need it more so than the GamePad.