Hey, video game players: you’re fat. You know it; your friends know it; your parents know it; your totally real and not made up girlfriend/boyfriend knows it. This is what game developers bank on us thinking, and that’s why we are subjected to an increasingly large variety of exercise games. It’s a phenomenon that comes part-and-parcel with this whole motion-sensing gaming movement that the Wii has thrust upon humanity – and that every other console manufacturer feels obligated to get involved with.

Get Fit With Mel B is another fitness game in the unremitting barrage of games this genre seems to be producing of late. It’s hook? You get to have Mel B as an exercise partner – your excitement is palpable.

The game is available on all three consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii) and makes use of each platform’s motion-sensing peripherals. I took Mel for a spin on my PlayStation 3. The game made use of my connected PlayStation Eye but does not require you to have the Move controllers – or so I initially thought.

As far as exercise routines go there are quite a lot to choose from. The game starts by getting you to fill in your physical attributes (weight, height etc) and then asks you to pick two goals. These can be anything from using fitness to lower stress levels, to toning yourself so you can increase your “Pulling Power” – oh jeeze. The game then generates a workout routine for you that changes each day. Should you feel like something other than what the game has prescribed, there are numerous options for creating your own workout. You’re also initially asked what gym equipment you have on hand (exercise ball, Thera-Bands, steps etc), which then opens up a suite of further exercise routines around those specific pieces of equipment.

To add to the whole package, the game comes with an extensive list of recipes for those who want to go the whole hog and change their diet as well. Each recipe has an ingredients list and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare each meal. It’s a nice touch, but what would have been better is if there was an option to email the recipes to yourself so that you could print them out. The game already has Facebook integration so a simple email send-off should have been possible.

Throughout the workout, video footage of Mel B is used to guide you on how to perform each exercise. She’ll do the counting for you and provide encouragement in that delightful Yorkshire drawl of hers, which some will find supremely grating. The PlayStation Eye then superimposes you onto the screen to perform the moves as well. Depending on how well you keep up with Mel B and perform the routines, a gauge fills to the right of the screen. Do well and the gauge fills up green; suck too much and it empties and turns red. And this is where one of the game’s biggest flaws comes in.

Prior to the start of each exercise program the game scans you in using the PlayStation Eye. An outline of a person appears on screen and you have to line yourself up with it. This process seems entirely unnecessary. In order to test the supposed hardware features of the game, I deliberately sat on the couch and did not get up to be scanned. The game carried on as normal, but judging by what I could see onscreen, it had only scanned me from the shoulders up.

I then took it a step further and simply rocked from side to side while sitting on the couch. The game registered movements and filled the progress gauge, albeit not entirely. Hmmm.

I then got up and re-scanned myself before starting a new routine, this time obeying the onscreen prompts during the scanning process. Instead of following Mel B’s movements, I stood still and just swung my arms from side to side. The progress gauge on the right registered me as performing the moves and filled up green. Double hmmm.

The only thing I can attribute this to is the lack of PlayStation Move controller on my behalf – something that I tried to use as an excuse for getting out of having to review this title, but Gavin was having none of it. Still, the game makes claims that the motion-sensing peripheral is optional and that just the PlayStation Eye will suffice. That’s obviously not the case because without the Move controller, the “pin point precision in motion tracking” (which the game proudly displays on its cover) is severely gimped. The solution is obvious: I’m sending the review copy to Geoff – he has Move controllers. Enjoy Geoff!

Get Fit With Mel B has moved out of the realm that games like Wii Sports Resort inhabits, and into another that takes the whole “getting fit with your gaming console” thing a hell of a lot more seriously. The problem with reviewing fitness games is that their ability to perform their overall purpose (to get one fit) is difficult to judge by merely spending a few days with the title. From the time that I did spend with the game I can tell that if one was to stick to the routines and follow the eating plans, then it’s highly likely that you’d see results. That being said, I’m no biokineticist or nutritionist, which makes me wonder whether videogame reviewers are actually the right people to be reviewing these titles in the first place.

Scoring:

Gameplay: 7/10

The routines are varied and numerous. However if you opt to get this on PlayStation 3 then I thoroughly recommend you have Move as well.

Presentation: 8/10

Minimalist menus that are easy to navigate. The video footage is clear and crisp and the varied exercise environments are an appealing addition.

Sound: 6/10

The music is meant to be unobtrusive background stuff; it gets the job done. Mel B’s accent and perpetually chipper attitude might irritate the more jaded amongst you.

Value: 8/10

It’s a good exercise title that offers variety. The addition of meal plans makes the package more rounded, and hopefully your girth less so.

Overall: 7/10 (not an average)

This really isn’t a game, it’s more like an interactive fitness DVD that just happens to use gaming hardware. Insofar as a fitness title goes, however, it’ll get the job done if you stick with it long enough.

Last Updated: February 24, 2011

Get Fit With Mel B
Summary
7.0

Miklós Szecsei

I'm a freelance writer who has somehow managed to convince people to pay me to play video games. By day I work a job, but by night and early hours of the morning, I write about video games. The one job provides a living for my family; the other provides a living for my soul. Dramatic, right?

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