I must admit I had to Google the word “Zumba” when this title was sent to me. Turns out Zumba is a kind of fitness class based around dancing the pounds away. It’s a good alternative to getting fit if sit ups, push ups and lunges don’t appeal to you. Rush seems to be an improved and extended version of previous titles, this time with Kinect support – so I had no pesky controllers to slow me down.
I feel I should point out that doing the Macarena is the limit of my dancing prowess, so trying out a game based around dancing was an interesting challenge for me (and was probably hilarious to watch). Needless to say, I tried my best.
Zumba Fitness Rush features several dance styles, including Latin, Hip Hop and Bollywood. There are tutorials to help you learn the basic steps of each style at slow and then normal speed, but beyond that, you’re on your own. You can choose to play single songs or full classes, which is really just a series of songs. There are small visual cues given each time your trainer switches to a new move, and there’s a rather small player tracker to show you what you’re doing. Between the small size of these indicators, the fast pace of the songs (even the lower intensity ones), and the changing camera angles, I really had a hard time knowing what to do. In the end, I just flailed around following the general movement of the trainer, and ended up with a decent score (all things considered).
This led me to understand that the point of the game is not really about skill (though it does help for improving your score), but more about enthusiasm. The idea is to get off the couch and start moving and burning calories, not to be the best dancer. Still, I would have preferred a few more training modes so that one day I might be able to dance in public. Whether or not this is the case, you can also have a partner join you for two-player madness (just make sure you have enough room to avoid injury). This is a good way to get fit with your significant other.
There is a huge number of songs to choose from, broken up into the various styles (Latin, Hip Hop, Bollywood, and so on) and intensities (low, medium, or high), and allocated to one of the trainers. I recommend skipping the songs you know you don’t like, otherwise you’ll be wanting to murder your trainer by about halfway through the song.
There are also voice commands available, which is useful as the Kinect controls sometimes feel a bit painful. Unfortunately, they don’t always work, leaving you a bit frustrated. It’s not quite as polished as it could be, but if you want to get fit through high energy dancing, you’ll definitely feel the burn!
This is not quite a dance game, or even an exercise game, but falls somewhere in between. The game seems to track both your ‘enthusiasm’ as well as your actual dancing ability, so if you try your best, you can still get the benefits. The game succeeds in this regard; a bit more in the tutorial department would have helped.
Design and Presentation: 7.5/10
The menus are basic but clear, though some of the song menus can be difficult to navigate with the Kinect. Voice commands are useful, but don’t always work. Trainer models and venues are very colourful and animated (though there’s one guy that has a permanent, rather freaky Cheshire cat grin), though this can be a bit distracting while dancing.
There are a good number of songs included in this title, along with a large variety of pre-made classes, and the ability to make your own. There is also a nice variety of trainers and venues, plus some videos to unlock, so if you enjoy this title, it could potentially keep you busy (and fit) for a long time.
If you’re looking to get fit in the comfort of your own home, and enjoy dancing, this may be the perfect title for you, especially if traditional gym routines leave you bored. Just make sure that you like the styles of music available, otherwise you might not get much joy out of this game.
Last Updated: March 7, 2012