Review: Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 (Xbox 360 Kinect)

By Wayne Webb

I promise I will never mock Yoga as an exercise again. After one seven minute workout I thought would be a good warm up on this Kinect package I have found a new respect for what I thought was a gentle art. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 comes boxed like a game and looks like a game, but it’s a pretty serious home gym system using the features of the Kinect.

The camera on the Kinect becomes the interface for you and your instructor who will guide, encourage and instruct you on how to complete the exercises. You have to be honest and put in your details, but as the camera shows a blurry picture of you on screen all the lying in the world won’t hide your image from you. From there it’s a simple affair, choose your exercise, workout or activity and away you go.

Only it’s not really that simple as the programs are designed to make you work for your goals. Half-hearted effort will get you paltry rewards. If you want to score big then you need to do it right. The Kinect detects the shape and movement of your body very well in the right conditions and forces you to comply if you want to score well and reduce your shape/increase your fitness. The program remembers you, keeps logs of your activity and will tell you how you are doing right now as well as putting you in the picture at the end.

About one minute into my seven minute “easy” Yoga routine I realised that I needed to do better at getting the shape and movement right to score well. Then one minute later my stretching muscles started to pay attention and I was sweating by the end of the seven minutes of very little, low impact movements.

The Targeted exercises, such as push-ups, are similarly punishing and exacting. The Game workouts, such as punch a block wall, seemed a little lame by comparison to real workouts but they are there for you to have fun, too. The Dance workouts, like Latin and Bollywood, are hard to master if you have trouble coordinating legs and arms at the same time. The instructions on Dance seemed to rely on you knowing what to do and how to copy the motions. It’s hard work to get it right and frustrating if you are not a dancer. No prizes for guessing that’s not my favourite workout.

The real limitation of this package is the Kinect. On one hand it’s a brilliant and accurate way to measure and play your workouts. However, it hates natural light and the brighter it is the harder it is to detect you properly. So my workouts were either at night under artificial light, which is a limitation, or in the day with all the curtains closed, making my living room a sauna by the time I had finished. If the Kinect improves its handling of natural light I’d happily give this another half point.

Pros: Varied and abundant exercises, intelligent, intuitive, hard to cheat, personal trainer and memory features.
Cons: Occasional detection issues, some “entry” levels too difficult, limited by the Kinect parameters.

 4 Shacks Out Of 5

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