Are you tired of the same old exercise routines? Check out my Xbox Fitness Review and see if this is for you.
The Xbox One launched in 2013 with the “free fitness game. I use quotes around free because it requires an Xbox Live Gold Account and an internet connection. You also need the Kinect 2.0, which isn’t available with the cheaper models of the Xbox One. If you meet all these requirements, then you can play the game for free.
Xbox Fitness is a series of exercise programs with a gaming interface. Follow the instructor’s commands to score fitness points and complete challenges. The game will keep track of your score so you can compete against your friends, if you choose to share your information with others.
This game is a great way to keep health, especially if you’re the competitive type. You’ll drive yourself to beat the other player’s score by as much as possible while actually exercising! It is better if you have friends that use the game to compete against, but for me I only had one friend that played a handful of exercise regimens. You can still keep track of your score against people in the same gender and age group around the world. If your score gets really high, you will compete against the instructor’s score.
The scoring system uses the Xbox One’s Kinect to track your movements. If you’re doing the exercise as well as the instructor, the energy gauge will fill up. Keep the gauge full to score major Fitness Points. That’s the basic concept, but sometimes the game doesn’t want to give you the score you deserve. Sometimes I do exercises as well as the instructor, or even better due to my flexibility, yet the gauge doesn’t want to fill up! Other times the gauge won’t move at all and I won’t score any points for some odd reason. The Kinect sensor’s heart rate monitor is really suspicious, too. I know my heart rate isn’t what it says it is most of the time. How it would detect heart rate using a camera is beyond me!
In addition to Fitness Points, you will be able to complete challenges during the workout. Some challenges are simple like “Get a 5 Star Rating,” some will unlock over time like “Complete 3 workouts,” and others can be tough to complete because the Kinect doesn’t want to work right on certain drills. Complete challenges to earn workout stars. These stars go on stamp cards and will unlock higher level stamp cards once all the slots are filled up with workout stars. The higher level stamp cards require more workout stars to complete. This may appeal to the completionists out there, but completing stamp cards doesn’t really seem like that big of a reward.
Another problem some users may come across is the space. Some exercise routines require a ton of space to complete, and if the camera isn’t at just the right angle, it may not pick up your movements when crawling on the ground or jumping up in the air. You’ll have to position the room and the camera just right.
There are a large number of exercise regimens to choose that range from 10 minutes to an hour each. The Xbox Fitness website boasts big names like P90X, Zumba, Insanity, and more, but in reality all those big name workouts require an extra purchase fee to use! You might be able to say that is false advertising! According to an Xbox Spokesman, it seems you will still be able to use Xbox Fitness with a Xbox Live Silver account if you purchased one of these other workout videos. Luckily, there are bunch of free workouts that will still get the job done. There are simple workouts for beginners and very high intensity workouts for experts.
The user interface for selecting exercise routines can use a little bit of work. You might accidentally select an exercise video instead of the menu that has all the exercise videos under that brand. If you accidentally selected the wrong exercise, you’ll have to wait a minute for the intro to play out before you can exit out to the main menu. Quitting a video will count as a zero and affect your average score. Furthermore, using the kinect to navigate around the main menu using only your hand is incredibly tough. Just keep the controller handy when playing.
When you do go to the full list of workouts, you can find some pretty useful filtering options at the top of the screen. You can choose workouts under 20 minutes, workouts that don’t require any extra equipment (like dumbbells and resistance bands), regimens you recently completed, and much more. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to show only free exercise routines.
All in all, Xbox Fitness is a great casual game to keep yourself healthy. And if you’re really competitive, you will drive yourself even further to top the leaderboards or your friends’ scores. Yes, some parts can use a little work, but since it’s “free” I definitely recommend this to everyone. Just make sure you have the space.