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Under Review: Zumba for Kinect

Zumba for Kinect I’ve been a huge Zumba fan ever since Jenn and I used to make fools of ourselves taking the Latin-fusion dance classes together. I’ve loved the Kinect for Xbox 360 ever since I tried it out and discovered how awesome using your body to control a video game is. Combine Zumba and the Kinect? Love love love!

I’ve never tried out Zumba workout DVDs like Jenn has, so I can’t compare the video game to the other at-home Zumba workouts. But I can say that when you combine really fun music with really fun dance moves and call it Zumba, it’s a sweaty blast.

Now, I’ve been taking it slowly getting back into shape post-baby. It’s been waaay too cold and snowy to get outside to work out, so I’ve been struggling a little bit to fit in my cardio. Now that Zumba made its way into my life, I’m back on the cardio track!

Like other games for the Kinect, you use your body to play, mirroring the Zumba instructor. You score by doing the moves correctly and filling up your Energy Meter, and a countdown timer lets you know how much time is left in each segment. Performance indicators appear on the instructor depending on how well you’re matching the moves. So if your feet, hips or arms are wrong, red circles will let you know to adjust your moves. I don’t know how accurate these were because I swear sometimes I felt like I was right on the money and it was still telling me I was wrong, but I do admit I’m an inept dancer so it’s highly probably that I’m more off than the sensor is. Honestly though, I didn’t really care about the scoring aspect or my accuracy as much as I care about it being a workout, which it is! I definitely got breathless and sweaty, even in the shorter 20-minute segments.

You can learn basic Zumba steps in the tutorial, but I skipped most of that and went straight to the workouts. The Zumba Class workouts are available in different skill levels and lengths, and the Zumba Party is a sequence of 10 progressively more advanced classes. The more you Zumba, the more levels you can unlock, so at this point I haven’t even tried the more advanced classes. The music pumps me up and gets me grooving, and while some dance moves are tougher than others, I’ve never felt lost through the intermediate levels. (We’ll see how the advanced levels treat me!)

Like any good fitness routine, the game provides warm-ups and cool downs. And you can play multi-player games or compete with friends via Xbox Live. Zumba for Kinect is definitely not as insanely awesome as the live classes where you feel music in your bones, but it’s a great substitute when the weather is frightful and you’re stuck indoors! My daughter even gets a kick out of me attempting to dance. 

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★

Overall: ★★★★

Fit Bottom Line: Zumba for the Kinect brings a fun, interactive Latin-fusion experience into your house. While it’s still no live class, it’s a great substitute and will get you sweating!

Have you tried this high-tech version of Zumba? What did you think? —Erin

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