Gina, I can’t do any more pelvic thrusts. PLEASE.
It takes a lot to motivate me to exercise. I’m a gamer. On the weekends I wake up, I turn on my console and I play video games. Sometimes I take a break to eat pizza, but there’s no more room in my busy schedule for stretching and jumping and running around.
But if there’s anything that’s going to get me get up off my lazy butt, it’s a video game that makes you do it. Zumba Burn It Up! is an exercise game from 505 Games and Kuju Games that gets gamers up off the couch and dancing like a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. Is that show still relevant? I don’t know; I told you I don’t get out much.
First and foremost, what is Zumba anyway? Zumba is basically a fitness program created in the 1990s by Colombian dancer Alberto Perez. It combines dancing with exercise making a complete, full-body workout. Zumba Burn It Up! puts Zumba exercising at players’ fingertips and allows them to get an excellent workout without having to leave the house. With over 30 different tracks to dance to as well as different intensity levels, there are loads of ways to customise the game to your style.
When you first load up Zumba Burn It Up! you’ll be given a few options for what to choose. If you’re looking for a full body workout right off the bat, you can choose “full sessions” which gives you the option of 15 minute, 30 minute or 1 hour (!) workout sessions where you can choose different playlists. These playlists start out with a low intensity song or two to get your body warmed up before moving on to the faster paced, more intense songs/exercises. These playlists are put together in such a way that you’re going to be working on different parts of your body with each song. Some may work on your arms, others on your legs and some will have you moving parts of your body you didn’t even know you had. Either way, these sessions are a great way to start and finish your work out in one go.
If you’re looking for something more on the casual side you can pick “single song”. Each song has an intensity rating as well as letting you know who kill be “teaching” the dance. Zumba creator Beto Perez even teaches a few of the dances, making me feel like an unfit underling in comparison. You can also see your top stats from the last time you did that song. You can see how much energy you burned as well as your top streaks and top scores for those songs. From the main menu you can also see your daily and weekly goals, which will be things like “burn 200 energy” or “score 250,000 total”.
One of the cool things about Zumba Burn It Up! is that although you can play by yourself, there are also multiple ways to play with your friends. Friends can join you in either of the two modes I’ve previously mentioned, but you’ll also find “Fitness Party”. Fitness Party encourages dancers to work together to get high scores. Plays earn stars by working together – so if someone doesn’t get a star, then no one does. Fitness Party is a great way to motivate your friends to pick up the pace and earn as many points as you can.
When it comes to the different intensity levels, Zumba Burn It Up! accurately categorises their songs. For my first session with the game, I was accompanied by my sister, who happens to be pregnant but is always looking for accessible and fun ways to stay fit. As we had no idea what we were getting into, we started out with a low intensity song. At the end of the song, we weren’t ridiculously out of breath, but we definitely felt like we were getting a good work out. We upped the intensity and it was a little tougher. Just for fun we thought to try high intensity –and it completely wiped us out. The star and score system really gets players to work as hard as they can to match the dancers moves. After the first song when my pregnant sister got a higher score then I did, I upped my enthusiasm ten fold. Nothing gets people moving like a good competition, after all.
The biggest problem is that, as the intensity increases, the more complicated the dance moves get. At times I found myself focusing so much on getting the arm movements right that I wasn’t focusing at all on the legs. Other times I was jumping up and down but my arms were hanging at my sides like two useless wet noodles. For those that don’t dance or have never tried, it won’t be easy starting off in Zumba Burn It Up!. Hopefully with practice things get easier, but anyone at the beginner level will go cross-eyed watching those beautiful, fit dancers shaking to the groove.
The other big problem with Zumba Burn It Up! is its small library of titles. With only around 30 songs, you’re going to get tired of it if you play regularly, just like you get tired of hearing the same song on the radio over and over again. With that being said, if you have a terrible sense of rhythm like me and don’t need the music to help your dance moves you could probably mute the game and throw on your own tunes and get the same workout. Either way, hopefully in the future Zumba Burn It Up! will add additional songs for those that plan to use the game every day.
I may be downing a pint of ice cream while I type this, but I enjoyed my time with Zumba Burn It Up!. Having just recently dabbled in the exercise video game genre with Ring Fit Adventure I’m looking forward to incorporating Zumba Burn It Up! into my exercise routine, too. I might look like a chicken with a broken leg trying to follow along with the dancers, but if you focus more on doing your best and having fun then you’ll still enjoy it.
With a few more song options and maybe a way to slow down the dances so you can learn them at a slower pace, Zumba Burn It Up! is a worthwhile addition to your library if you’re looking for a fun way to work out.
Zumba Burn It Up! is available on Nintendo Switch.