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GET FIT TO THE BEAT!
on May 21, 2011
After more than a year of using the Wii Fit Plus, my wife was looking for a new Wii exergame. Zumba Fitness is a nice fun diversion but it offers little in the area of structured aerobics and calorie control. In contrast, ExerBeat seems to be the perfect blend of new activities and a fitness program.
A PERFECT COMBINATION
More than 120 exergames, including yoga/pilates, karate forms, boxercising and dance-exercise (aerobics, hip-hop & latin). Only some of them are unlocked from the very beginning, the others become available as you progress, as is your personal trainer So, not only you get having fun with dancing aerobics (something missing from Wii FIT PLUS) but you also get to monitor your progress, intensity of workout and calories burned (something ZUMBA FITNESS is lacking). Your routines are customizable and can be focused on problem areas. What is more, to keep things interesting, you are presented with daily and weekly exercise challenges that are not considered successfully completed unless you score 70% or better.
Moreover, whereas in the Wii FIT PLUS you had to set your own stretching through yoga exercises, ExerBeat comes with its own stretching routines to keep your joints and muscles safe from stains.
The game can be played in its entirety with a single controller (Wiimote), the game will be asking you which hand you are favoring. Although two controllers are recommended for more precise results, they are not required. Similarly, up to two persons can join simultaneously, each with either one or two controllers. Just remember to setup the game accordingly.
The WiiMotion Plus and the Balance Board accessories are required for a number (but not all) of the exergames. Moreover, there is a non-competitive video mode where you try to match what is on the screen without having to carry the controller.
AT THE HEART OF IT ALL
Before actually starting a cartoon music note, named Rhythm, asks about your age, weight and dominant hand. Later on you will be asked whether you will be using one or two controllers. Since one needs to monitor his or her heart rate in order to reap the most benefits out of aerobic exercises, the game reminds you of this - but offers no way of actually measuring or calculating it. You can use an Heart-Rate Monitor or can measure and calculate it using a stopwatch. For some of the yoga/pilates exercises you may also need an exercise mat.
WALK THE EARTH
I appreciated the game developers' retro humor, because this motivational gimmick reminded me of a childhood TV-series, Kung Fu, where David Carradine did exactly that: he walked the earth enforcing his morality code with his martial arts skills. No morality code enforcing here but your cumulative efforts (workout time + rhythm points) are translated in distance covered ...walking the earth. Whenever landmarks are reached new exercises are unlocked, to give you a visual sense of accomplishment.
PARTY GAMES THAT BURN
My favorite is the Pirate Attack, where you get to swing your sword (...Wiimote) in the correct angle and direction in order to fend off pirate attacks. You get so into it you forget you are playing until your shoulder muscles burn. As will with Swimming and Pizza Toss. There is also Wall Smasher (a boxing game) and Dance fever (dancing face off).
The Nintendo Wii is the gaming system that was designed from start to finish keeping in mind that the person using it should be having fun. Otherwise, why bother? Sure, getting fit for the beach or loosing those extra pounds, leftover from the winter indulgences, should be equally important motivation - but who are we kidding right? It is so much easier to get into your workout outfit and sweat yourself to better fitness when you know you will be having fun.
And EXERBEAT excels in this.