Zumba has proved to be a massive hit in the UK, with people flocking to the gyms in their thousands to take part in the Latin dance-inspired fitness program. Also proving a success is the video game equivalent, Zumba Fitness, which was the best-selling Wii game of 2011 in the UK and came in force across all formats.
Zumba Fitness Rush is the highly-anticipated sequel to Zumba Fitness. Developed by Zoe Mode and published by Majesco Entertainment, the latest instalment in the series also utilises the Kinect technology.
The gameplay of Zumba Fitness Rush consists of players replicating the moves as they appear on screen, with ratings awarded for each move on the ‘Player Indicator’. Earning five ‘Zumba’ ratings without missing a move activates ‘Euphoria’, which creates different levels of background excitement. While this is a good indication of how players are doing, it can be quite off-putting for those trying to focus on the trainer. At the end of each performed track, players are assessed out of five stars and are given a percentage based on their technique.
While the predecessor contained plain backgrounds, Zumba Fitness Rush is more pleasing on the eye, with colourful environments and bright colours, similar to Dance Central, featuring Las Vegas, Rio carnival, New York nightclub and Bollywood settings. Also comparable to Dance Central are the moves, which will have players reaching high and low, as well as high-kicking and moving their feet.
The only real game mode in Zumba Fitness Rush requires players to choose a class and then dance to a number of the game’s 42 tracks. Players are able to choose between short, medium or full length classes, though they can determine how long they want to work out for and to songs of their choosing by setting up a custom class.
Each song contains its own dance style, usually one of or a mixture of Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and/or Reggaeton. Unfortunately, the amount of easily-recognisable songs is limited to just Pitbull – “Pause” and Nicole Scherzinger – “Poison”. The remainder of the track list consists of generic Zumba tracks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they are quite catchy and it reassures players that it is a fitness title and not just another dancing game.
Nevertheless, players can also import their own tracks using the custom playlist with the game adding dance moves to each of the songs. While it doesn’t feel as smooth as the tracks already available in the game, it certainly adds more depth and variety to the title.
The “Learn The Steps” game mode acts as an in-game tutorial, breaking down the steps within the four core dance styles so that players can learn at their own pace. While this is great for beginners, regular players of dancing Kinect titles will have no problem getting to grips with Zumba Fitness Rush and will no doubt overlook this game mode.
Players are able to track their progress using the (appropriately named) “Progress Tracker”. Statistics such as weight, time played, technique percentage and calories burned are available to view on day, month and year timescales. This is a vital tool for those who are looking to seriously monitor their fitness levels.
Zumba Fitness Rush supports up to two players on the same console. The magic of Kinect allows a second player to drop in and drop out whenever they please. Regrettably, playing with two players takes up a considerable amount of carpet space, so this is definitely only for those with larger play areas.
Something a number of Kinect titles have failed to strive in is menu navigation. Thankfully, Zumba Fitness Rush is very easy to work your way through. However, the actual menu design is quite poor and wouldn’t feel out of place on a film DVD. It would have been nice to see the developers be more inventive on the design front.
Overall, Zumba Fitness Rush is a great fitness tool. Even in small sessions, players will burn a considerable amount of calories and there’s great satisfaction in doing a workout. While more tracks would have added more replay value to the game, this will inevitably be solved through the release of downloadable content. This is a great way to keep fit in the comfort of your own home.