Your Shape: Fitness Evolved Preview (Xbox360)

Ever since Wii Fit demonstrated how lucrative a fitness game can really be, everyone’s been striving for a slice of that keep-slim pie. Even though eating pies isn’t an ideal way to lose weight, the fitness game variety is filled with steaming-hot dollops of cash. Which is inevitably why following the announcement of Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing camera tech at E3 2010, there were more than a few obligatory keep-fit titles gearing up for the November launch and beyond.

Performing Tai-Chi in the Zen Garden is quite relaxing

We normally reserve an air of cynicism for this kind of thing, but from the moment we stepped in front of Kinect to sample Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, we instantly ‘got’ the appeal. On show at Ubisoft’s Summer Fair – an event aimed at press members that missed out on E3 – was a very slender slice of Your Shape, which had only two mini-games and a measuring function available to play around with, giving a neat overview of the title.

Your Shape’s introduction takes your initial measurements while you kick around some coloured balls on the floor, before then scanning your body and transforming your projected self into a flaming orange figure. This reveals your body’s details, such as shoulder width, arm length, leg length and overall height (6’1”, thanks for asking). From here on then, the aim is to presumably shift inches from your flabby waist rather than pounds from your huge ass (which is sure to naturally follow) like Wii Fit, which measures your weight using its bespoke balance board.

Of course, it’s not all about strenuous exercise and Your Shape has its very own virtual Zen garden, in which you can paddle in ankle high water before learning some Tai-chi moves. Be warned though; you might want to ensure that you’re wearing a loose pair of trousers, as some of the squatting might see you tear a seam. Beginning in a wide stance, the blonde female instructor slowly moves into a position, and your task is to simply follow her lead as a diagram in the top left corner of the screen gauges your movement. Using the basic skeletal guide that turns green once you manage to move into the correct shape, red if you’re getting it wrong, you’re essentially shown how to do actual Tai-chi, which is every bit as relaxing as it should be, and that’s got to be a worthwhile addition to any fitness game.
Smash those green blocks! Smash 'em good!

So far, so good then - already Your Shape: Fitness Evolved has defied our expectations, which to be fair, were initially rather low. Moving on to the crux of our demonstration - and the most fun of the mini-games on show by a country mile -  we got a brief glimpse of the potential of Kinect with a simple but remarkably compulsive game that could have you working up a bit of a sweat with repeated play - kickboxing. This mini-game involves merely striking green blocks across your chest and by your midriff, then smashing them by your feet using swiping kicking motions before smashing a blue one at the centre of the screen. It  will most likely start out as a novelty, but then become increasingly competitive as you attempt to best one another’s scores by upping the rate at which you pound the blocks. Oh, and do it wrong and the blocks won’t smash, which shows that Kinect can detect exactly what it is that you’re doing.

Once you learn the pattern, you’ll be clearing the screen in seconds, burning more calories (about 44 per session if the readout is accurate) with each go. Divided into short rounds that make for short bursts of activity, you’ll be keen to continue playing and improve your score, which for a fitness game is encouraging. Getting hooked on playing over and over will have you burning off the burgers faster than you can say “anyone fancy a KFC?” Therefore we see no reason why this can’t be an addictive and enjoyable diversion from your usual diet of FPS games and so on, although you’ll need plenty of space to be able to use it properly. In fact, you’ll need to distance yourself roughly 2.5 metres away from the camera and give yourself a generous radius in which to be able to flail around, unless you’re happy to knock stuff over and perhaps cause personal injury. Remember, where there’s blame, there’s a claim, but you can’t really sue yourself for failing to clear enough room, can you now?

With its clean lines and crisp presentation, Your Shape looks every bit the lifestyle fitness title it ought to be and will undoubtedly have massively broad appeal when Kinect ships, with its addictive and well thought out mini-games. If the rest can follow suit and measure up to what we’ve seen so far, Ubisoft will be on to a sure winner. The Kinect motion-sensing capabilities, while not quite 1:1 are pretty damn close and as such perfectly suited to deliver on its promise. It may not be the revolution that Microsoft is talking it up as, but it’s heartening to see that it does the job it’s designed to do, and does it pretty darn well to boot.
Training is a good idea if you want to grasp the core concepts

There’s no doing things by halves in Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, which is currently ‘shaping up’ to be one of Kinect’s strongest launch titles. If Ubisoft can deliver a variety of equally compulsive and entertaining mini-games to match the ones we’ve played, we could be looking at something that might sway us into believing that Kinect might be something special. Until we see more though, consider us still firmly in the column marked ‘Kinect-sceptic’ for now – a ‘Kineptic’, if you will.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is due to launch with Kinect in November 2010.


By bosnian_dragon (SI Core) on Jul 18, 2010
This is so silly :) I mean, who would want to stand in front of a screen a practice Tai-Chi? :) That's ridiculous!
By BoneArc (SI Elite) on Aug 07, 2010
*hides his preorder of The game*
yea its silly , who would want to be able to be in the game like that ?
pshhhhh no 1 thats who .
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 07, 2010
Good for old people wanting to get in shape using Kinect - guess this is direct competition for Wii Fit. :)