Game Review: Zumba Fitness Rush

For: Xbox 360 (Kinect required)

From: Zoe Mode/Majesco

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10-plus (mild lyrics, mild suggestive themes)

Price: $50

If your aptitude as a Zumba Fitness master is of great significance to you, "Zumba Fitness Rush's" progress tracker - which compiles daily, weekly and monthly reports about your technique as well as your time invested and calories burned - will be a source of great comfort (or perhaps, depending on the result, great shame.)

But for the rest of you who just want to have fun working out and not have a computer constantly tell you you're doing it wrong, "Rush" - be it because it can't or simply because it understands where you're coming from - is a welcome change of pace.

"Rush's" setup should feel familiar to anyone at home with dance or fitness games, because it's basically an amalgamation of both. Along with the progress tracker, there's a roster of preset classes (15 each of short, medium and full length), as well as a tool for assembling your own workout from the 42 songs (and accompanying routines) on offer.

Rounding out the feature set is a mode for dancing to a single song, a tool for finding live Zumba classes if you're ready to take your act public, and a place to acquaint yourself with (and practice) the myriad of dance steps scattered throughout those routines.

That practice feature may be of interest to you if you want some grasp of the Zumba method before taking on a workout.

But even if you study up, your first "Rush" workout (and, likely, several more after that) will likely bring with it the sensation of being dropped into the deep end of the pool. Once the song begins, you're on the clock, and if you're expecting your virtual trainer to give you any cues as to which steps are in your immediate future, you should just give that idea up and prepare to react and emulate as quickly as you can.

Fortunately, "Rush" drops you into that pool with a life preserver in the form of a very generous technique feedback system. Make an honest attempt to keep up and reasonably replicate what's happening on screen, and you'll likely come away with a pretty good score. Keep a good pace, and you might even fake your way into a five-star performance. The Kinect isn't sophisticated enough to dock points based on the flustered expression on your face, so, it'll assume you at least partially know what you're doing.

The line of trust "Rush" draws is arguably perfect by way of being so wobbly. You can't outright cheat it, and you slack or completely disobey the routine, it will catch and penalize you. As with a good in-person workout, the goal here is to get you moving first and learn the technique second, and regardless of "Rush's" intentions, that's what it achieves.

Save for its wide berth with regard to technique, "Rush's" Kinect implementation is pretty sharp. Two-player support works similarly as long as you have the room (some routines require lateral movement that could spell trouble for uncoordinated friends). Getting around the game also is easy thanks to support for Kinect's voice recognition abilities: Speak a menu option or even a routine's song's name, and it'll head right to it - no annoying hand-waving necessary.

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