My Fitness Coach Club Review
Posted by James Newton
While PlayStation Move's motion-controlled rivals are swimming in fitness games, this is only the second such title to reach Sony's black beauty after Get Fit with Mel B. Ubisoft's effort My Fitness Coach Club (known as Fit In Six in North America) comes from a reasonably successful line of fitness titles on Wii, and now with the added capabilities of the PlayStation Eye and PlayStation Move it arrives on PS3.
The game sets out to improve your fitness in six core areas: cardio, flexibility, balance and upper, lower and core body strength. When you create a profile you select a fitness goal, from "fight cellulite" to "increase body mass," that automatically sets you points-based targets in the appropriate areas. For example, "improve cardio" will challenge you to earn points in the cardio and core body categories, while "lose weight" will push cardio and balance, but the clever bit is that not all targets are equal: the harder your goal, the more points you'll need to earn to succeed. Should you achieve your aim you're able to set the same goal but with more points required to succeed, or you can swap to any other goal at any time.
This system works well overall: you're presented with a selection of workouts that are appropriate to your overall goal, letting you structure your own routines as you see fit to earn the points. Want a punishing 30 minute set of pilates to earn 15 flexibility points? You can do that. Just got time for a spot of stretching and lunges? You'll get 2 flexibility points for a short set. After each routine you can rate it out of five stars, letting you track the workouts you've enjoyed more easily.
There's a pretty varied list of exercises available too: kickboxing, yoga, pilates, dance and more all feature, in varying intensities and arrays. Most are tuned to body image goals — "sexy shoulders," "tight tush" and so on — but others are more lifestyle-oriented, including "climb stairs like a teen" and "carry heavy tote bags." It's a nice way to angle the workouts towards real-life goals and brings the personal touch to proceedings.
Not all the routines utilise the Move controller: many just require the PlayStation Eye to display your movements on-screen while you copy a trainer. There's no body-tracking using just the Eye though, relying on you to be honest and put your all into the exercises, but the lack of feedback is disappointing. Without Move the game is little different to watching a fitness video while looking into a mirror, but the 40+ workouts that include the controller do add some (albeit rudimentary) controller-tracking: after each move in the routine you'll receive a rating based on your movements, which fills up an effort gauge, earning you extra points. The tracking isn't perfect — you can pass some exercises just by shaking Move, and some twist your body into a position where the controller can't be seen by the PlayStation Eye. Overall, Move control is a means to an end: Ubisoft needed a way to track player movement, and Move does the job.
Sadly the game is only intended for one player to work on his or her fitness, with no multiplayer either locally or online. The presence of a variably talkative coach helps bring a bit of verbal encouragement to proceedings, but more welcome is the ability to set up a custom playlist from the XMB to play during your strenuous exercise. The game will attempt to pick out a suitable track for the warm-up and cool-down periods, and it generally does a decent job considering you're unable to pick out the exact track you want while working out.
Ubisoft deserves praise for creating a very slick fitness title that offers a lot more than its budget pricetag would have you believe — with downloadable content on the horizon too — and it avoids the most common pitfall of fitness games: misinterpreting your sweaty efforts as low-energy movements. Move is recommended to get the most out of the package, though the controller is certainly not used to its full potential, but the overall package is enough to warrant further investigation for the truly interested.