As many players of Kinect will have discovered, the vast majority of games utilising the technology have proved quite the workout, but THQ has released a fitness game that will get your heart pumping and your armpits sweating even more-so. Based on the US version of the game show, The Biggest Loser comes exclusively to the Xbox 360.
To give it its full title, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout consists of a range of workouts, programs and tips in order to burn calories and improve your lifestyle. The game’s workouts range from light to intense, allowing for players to choose a routine based on their motivation and capabilities.
Workouts are led by a virtual trainer which players must imitate. It’s this imitation which requires a lot of space, with many of the workouts requiring players to lie down and move about in all directions. Players are able to view how they’re doing by the on-screen replication which changes colour depending on how well the player is coping. Green signifies that the player’s pose is accurate, orange means that the player is struggling while red is a cause for concern. Also during workouts, players can track how many calories they have burned – a useful tool for those closely counting their calorie intake.
A rather nice implementation that further utilises Kinect is how the game allows for the player to respond to the trainer’s questions, often consisting of whether you want to stop for a drink. While it may take a bit of shouting for it to register, it does work and prevents the pausing of the workout.
The workouts include freeplay, circuit training and yoga, so there’s a range of modes to choose from. On top of that, some workouts integrate stability balls, resistance bands and weights that are detected by Kinect on use – making great use of the technology. All-in-all, there is plenty of gameplay to be had from the title.
As you have probably gathered, the game acts as a tool for losing weight. To encourage players to do this on a regular basis, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout includes the ability to start and run programs, whether it is a personalised program, allowing custom settings to be chosen, or a pre-set one. Over the weeks, the program gets progressively harder to discourage slacking. One feature that works well but isn’t essential to the game is the ability to record a video diary, allowing players to keep track of their daily on-goings. Overall, creating a program is for those who are serious about losing weight and not for those who would dip in and out whenever they felt like doing some.
Multiplayer within The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout consists of up to four players completing the same workout over Xbox Live. There is a sense of competition within the multiplayer with the game listing how many calories each player has lost, though it plays better as a co-operative mode – kind of like going to the gym together. While it does work, there isn’t anything particularly rewarding or exciting with the online aspect, made more troubling with a distinct lack of online players.
For those who are not just looking to have a workout but to also improve their diet and fitness, the title contains a game mode dedicated to health and lifestyle tips and recipes. The tips and recipes themselves are quite useful, though while it may sound like a simple case of reading what’s on the screen, this is made difficult by the game’s poor navigation system.
It's a major flaw; navigating through the menus is a slow procedure due to both the amount of menu screens and the slow selection process. This is particularly grating during the character creation, that makes selecting the character’s age and weight quite difficult. Simply being able to scan your face and body into the game using facial recognition or importing the player’s Avatar would have been the more sensible option.
Graphically, The Biggest Loser: The Ultimate workout is to a very good standard, especially the environments which are full of bright colours that are pleasing on the eye. The audio is also to a good standard, despite the lack of sound evident in the game, only presenting itself in the form of a soundtrack, consisting of gentle acoustic music to help players mentally.
Overall, The Biggest Loser: The Ultimate Workout is a great tool to help gamers lose weight. Whereas it doesn’t work as a video game, mainly due to the lack of enjoyment, if you’re looking to lose a few pounds without leaving your house, this is a great way of doing so.
David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.