Regular readers (and followers of our PlayStation Network account) will know we developed a bizarre addiction to The Fight: Lights Out, putting in upwards of 25-hours into the Move-powered fight simulator since its release.
Move Fitness' origins were clear the moment we got our hands on the demo. Stretching our body into a 'T' shape to calibrate, we felt immediately at home. Move Fitness is divided into a collection of mini-games, each designed to give you a different workout. It was unclear from our demo how these will be separated into routines and full programmes, but what was clear was how Coldwood Interactive was putting 'fun' in front of 'fitness'.
And that's important because if you're not having fun with your workout programme, then you're less likely to stick to it. We were able to test out three unique score challenge mini-games, each working out different areas of our physique. Each of the demos utilised two PlayStation Moves — again like The Fight — with a controller held in each hand.
The first demo we played saw us standing in front of a window of concrete blocks. With our motion controllers transformed into a pair of boxing gloves, we had to punch the panels as hard and accurately as we could. It wasn't a great start to our demo, as the motion controllers felt unresponsive and lacked the 1:1 precision we'd become accustomed to in The Fight. We're putting the issues down to buggy software or poor calibration, as the rest of our demo ran much more smoothly.
The second mini-game we got to test out was basketball. The concept was simple. Balls spawned to our left and right. We needed to stand centrally, reach to the ball, pick it up with the T-triggers and throw it into the basket ahead of us. While this kind of workout has appeared in other games — EA Sports Active 2 for example — the twist here is how much more of a mini-game it feels. In EA Sports Active 2 completing the motion nets you a basket regardless of your form, but Move Fitness takes advantage of the PlayStation Move controller's pin-perfect accuracy to create a game that's not only a heart-pumper, but also a lot of fun. Points are awarded for hitting the back-board and scoring in the basket. And you genuinely feel like you have full control over the aim and trajectory of the ball, so there's a natural skill and challenge involved.
That emphasis on scoring points and setting high-scores takes the focus off the actual exercise you are performing. That's not to say the mini-game's not giving you a workout — it absolutely is strengthening your legs as you reach for the ball — but your focus is on the score, rather than reps and calories.
Our demonstration concluded with a mini-game clearly inspired by The Fight. Those that picked up the brawler's fitness DLC package (or Stress Buster demo) will recall a mechanic in which you beat the crap out of a rubber dummy. The third mini-game in Move Fitness' preview code was extremely similar to this, with a few promising tweaks underlining Coldwood's improved technology. The game now features some form of body tracking technology, meaning you are no longer rooted to the spot when throwing punches. Thus Move Fitness' Dummy mini-game had us moving all around the rubber torso's body in order to land punches on its hips, face and midriff. The mini-game really kept us on the tip of our toes.
Each of the mini-games concluded with a leaderboard and progress chart, suggesting the game will be packed with statistics and, hopefully, detailed online integration. The visuals are never a big deal in games of this kind, but they are bright and colourful enough to provide satisfying feedback to the mechanics.
We came away from Move Fitness impressed. Outside of our issues with the first mini-game, the motion tracking was flawless. But it was the way in which the game took our attention off the workout and onto the mini-games that was most noteworthy. Move Fitness might not provide a workout quite as thorough as the likes of EA Sports Active 2, but its ability to make you feel like you're playing an actual game — rather than a workout tool — is something we're yet to encounter in any of the many motion controlled fitness games available.
Whether the fun will last remains to be seen. But during our brief demonstration we had a great time with Move Fitness. And the aching in our limbs suggests it did some good to boot.
Move Fitness is set to release exclusively on PlayStation 3 this year. It requires the PlayStation Move motion controller.