I had quite some fun with Zumba, but I kinda got discouraged at some point – but not as severely as it would have been if it happened in a real life Zumba class.
After I closed the tray and the disc started to spin, the game started the presentation – a warm, pink and abstract menu with a concise description on how to navigate it. This was accompanied with some joyful music, that characterise this exercise, called Zumba.
Starting out easy
I started the tutorial, as I wanted to start out easy, and I suggest that you, the reader, does too – if you aren’t an advanced Zumba dancer and know most steps by your spine. I picked a song that were labelled with easy in difficulty – as I said, I wanted to ease in. Tap with one foot in front of you, and then with the other foot. Right, I can do this, no sweat! Suddenly the teacher picked up the speed and made some complicated moves I couldn’t imitate, and I was completely lost how to make these steps.
I would had preferred if the teacher would keep making these steps I couldn’t imitate (the game knew, as this is what the Kinect sensor is able to), but as it turned out, it’s just a recording with an overlay of color on the teacher, that changes, depending on how well you do the steps and moves. On the other hand, I could have been stuck forever in these steps in the tutorial before surrendering. A good way of solving this could have been a setting or a voice command using the Kinect sensors abilities* to tell the teacher that you are ready to proceed to the next move on the agenda.
The music is incredibly riveting and it’s hard not to just jump in the rhythm. The music used in Zumba is a variety and mixture of very different music that has their origins from various cultures throughout the world. We are talking about from Hip Hop, to Tango over Salsa ending in Merengue and African rhythms – all of course with Latin rhythm leading the rest.
There’s a wide variety of different songs to choose from, and there’s no reason to dance alone with the virtual teacher. You can dance with your friends both in front of the same sensor and TV, but you can also attend virtual Zumba classes online with other players. You can play for fun, or you can compete against each other – whoever gets the most points during the session, wins.
The teachers onscreen are actual Zumba instructors, including Beto, the creator. Every teacher has their own great personality.
*Voice commands are currently only available in the US, Mexico and UK.