Zumba Fitness for Wii Review

woman with headphones at home, listening to music and dancing

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Zumba Fitness for Wii is an exergame based on the incredibly popular Zumba, an exercise program combining Latin-inspired music with simple choreographed dance moves for a fun, aerobic workout. It's similar to standard low and high impact aerobics classes but based on dances like the Calypso, Cumbia, Merengue, and Salsa. If you don't know what those are, no worries. The game includes tutorials for all the dance moves and there are 30 workouts to choose from. If you like to dance, Zumba Fitness for Wii is one way to get your groove on while burning calories.

The Basics

  • Type: Exergame
  • Platform: Nintendo Wii
  • Equipment Included: Zumba belt
  • Fitness Level: Beg, Int, Adv
  • Fitness Challenge: 6/10

Getting Started

Create a profile and set up your on-screen character, then choose a fitness level (easy, medium or hard). Strap on the included belt to track your movements, then you're ready to go. The Wii controller fits into a pocket on the belt, tracking the movement of your hips.

To get started you can try:

  • Tutorials: The tutorials cover all the dance steps, although there's no real breakdown of the moves. You simply follow the on-screen instructor through different levels of difficulty. Note: The tracking here is pretty sensitive and catches even the smallest movement, which may cause the system to take you to the next level whether you're ready for it or not.
  • Workouts: You can choose options from Zumba Party, where you can workout at different venues (nightclub, a factory, a rooftop, etc.) or a regular Zumba Class where you can choose beginner, intermediate or expert classes that range from 20 to 45 minutes.
  • Single Routine: This great feature allows you to do individual dance routines for practice or shorter workouts.

You can also access a multiplayer menu and a workout calendar, where you can create your own schedule or choose one of the preset schedules.

How It Works

You mirror the instructor's movements on screen and the system tracks the movement of your hips to determine accuracy. As the instructions suggest, when you hit the moves correctly, the on-screen dancer glows green and your energy bar on the bottom of the screen fills up with more energy, making the crowd go wild.

I've never tried a Zumba class before, so my first experience trying it on Wii was pretty laughable. I was able to pick up the basics, mainly because I've done a lot of aerobics classes, but found my general dancing skills challenged by the intricate moves.

The movement tracking, as with many Wii games, was a sometimes frustrating experience. There were times I got the moves down right, yet my on-screen aura stayed red (indicating I wasn't getting the moves right). Other times I wasn't even close, yet my aura was green. If it was frustrating during the workouts, it was beyond awful during the tutorials. While doing the basic moves, the system interpreted any movement as a success, the instructor yelled 'Great!' and I was then taken to the next level, even if I'd only done a few steps. I ended up putting the controller on a table, practicing the moves and then shaking it to get to the next level.

The workouts themselves were fun, once I stopped worrying about accuracy. The intensity for me was around 4-5 perceived exertion, making this a good low-moderate workout. Once you get the moves down, it's easier to add more energy to the dances and raise the intensity more.

The Good

  • Fun: As a non-dancy person, I found the workouts fun, even when I had no idea what I was doing.
  • A good workout: Whether this is a high-intensity workout or not depends on your fitness level and how hard you work. I found the overall intensity low to moderate.
  • A good way to learn Zumba: I know several clients who used Zumba Wii to try Zumba because they were too intimidated to try a class in person. You'll receive better instruction out of a class, but the Wii version may be a good choice if that isn't really an option for you.
  • Simple to use: Getting started is a snap and though there aren't a lot of extras (such as being able to track calories burned), the simplicity makes it easy to get in a quick workout whenever you have time.

The Not-So-Good

  • Tracking inaccuracy: The tracking in this game was frustrating, particularly during the tutorials. At times it doesn't seem to pick up anything and other times it picks up an eye-blink. If accuracy is important to you, this may frustrate you.
  • Complex dance moves: If you don't like to dance, I would think twice about this game. I'm coordinated, but trying to move my hips one way and my arms in another were not easy. If you're easily frustrated by this, Zumba Fitness may be a problem for you.
  • Not many extras: While you can create your won workout schedule, there aren't other motivating extras that some fitness games include, such as information about calories burned or workouts completed.

Bottom Line

Zumba Fitness for Nintendo Wii offers a fun, aerobic workout that will appeal to people who enjoy dance-oriented workouts. You'll enjoy this if you can look past the tracking issues and have the patience to learn the moves.

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