At the Nintendo 2012 E3 Expo press conference in Los Angeles, Nintendo took a few moments to share some highlights from the upcoming Wii Fit U. However, as it is, Ubisoft has beaten Nintendo to the punch — Ubisoft has now launched an edition of its popular Your Shape franchise for the Wii U, beating Nintendo’s own effort by a couple of months. Early adopters of the Wii U, looking to shed a few pounds after the holidays only have Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. Though the game doesn’t support the Balance Board, Your Shape for the Wii U does offer some interesting new options.
Your Shape started off on the original Wii console using an included webcam and eschewing the Wiimote except for navigating the menu. It therefore seems a little strange that four years later, on a new Nintendo console, the game forces players to hold a Wiimote for tracking. Those that tried the original game or one of the Xbox 360 Kinect versions know that the cameras aren’t perfect but, it does free players from having to hold on to something while working out. Your Shape for the Wii U actually makes players use two pieces of hardware.
From the beginning, the onscreen presentation is HD, modern, and pretty sharp looking. Gone is the Minority Report look of the first Kinect version of the game. Your Shape for the Wii U is a two screen experience. Players will create a profile using the GamePad and yes, you can lie about your weight and age. You could lie about everything, but the fitness calculations the software makes would be less accurate. Be careful when you take your picture for your profile as Ubisoft will share that photo publicly. You can also allow the game to share your progress in your friends’ newsfeeds.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 delivers a whopping 125 different workouts in a large variety of areas. Your initial ala carte menu choices are between activities, classes, and workouts. The activities are where the more fun dance and “Zen Flow” exercises can be found. The classes are eight theme based workouts from cardio-dance and kickboxing to the “Zen Zone.” Players can also opt for straight body part specific workouts as well as warm ups and cool downs. Of course you can create a personalized fitness program lasting up to four weeks. These are tailored to your current fitness level and preferences which are accompanied by an animated virtual coach.
Your Shape for the Wii U takes an interesting approach to motivating players. Besides the social aspects and peer pressure, Your Shape awards currency for your workouts. This currency can then be used in the virtual store to buy new workouts, songs in the dance activity, or other virtual content. Though there is a multiplayer option, there is no ability to sign in multiple Wii U accounts simultaneously. This means while a couple can do some workouts together, only the signed in profile will receive the credit. If that’s not a problem, the game does support up to four players as long as you have four Wiimotes.
The overall experience is somewhat a mixed bag. Going back to using Wiimotes is both a curse and a blessing. They do seem to track a little more consistently than full body scanning, but they only register where the Wiimote is located. This means it’s easy to cheat if you are inclined, but also that you are going to be soaking a piece of electronics in sweat if you’re not cheating. You will also likely be dripping sweat on your GamePad as you choose options mid-workout. The recipes in the “Fitness Pal” finally make sense as you can now take the GamePad into the kitchen, depending on your home layout.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 gets a lot of things right. Ubisoft has plenty of experience in making dancing games and brings a little bit of their Just Dance to Your Shape. The Zen exercise using the GamePad is also surprisingly soothing, but the rest of the interface seems to take a step backwards. The Wii U itself has some interaction issues and Your Shape does nothing to help. Considering that it’s the first fitness game to market, Your Shape is a valiant effort. Nintendo’s upcoming offering will likely offer less activities and do so in more of a game-like environment with similar interface issues.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Mild Lyrics.