The PlayStation Move fitness game race got off to a slow start with just one title in the first six months, but it's just received its most high-profile title yet in the form of UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System from THQ. Is this muscular title enough to steal the crown from budget alternative My Fitness Coach: Club?
Interestingly, for a fitness game, there's the option to use two Move controllers for some exercises, though if you have just one peripheral you won't be hindered in any way. While UFC Personal Trainer on Kinect uses the sensor for full body-tracking, Move users get a much more low-tech solution: a bundled leg strap and pouch that holds the controller rather snugly. The game rarely struggles to detect your motion, though this is both a blessing and a curse.
Any fitness instructor will tell you that performing exercises with proper form is essential, but the sensitivity of Move means it's possible to execute almost any exercise with a simple shake or waggle, and the game will register moves as completed before you've finished the rep. We're used to Move being implemented as a Wii Remote in many multi-platform games, and it strikes here again, but at least the game generally responds to your exertions, which is crucial in a fitness game.
Most pleasing is that, unlike the Kinect game, you can position yourself wherever you like during floor exercises like push-ups and sit-ups. Want to exercise parallel to the TV? No problem. Facing it? Great. Sound effects prompt you to perform the upward or downward motion of your exercise, so you don't need to crane your neck to keep watching the TV all the time. It sounds minor, but it makes a difference.
There's a stack of content behind the input too: after a basic test the game assesses your fitness level and lets you choose a programme for 30 or 60 days, or alternatively you can select individual workouts. You can also create your own custom workout and save it for later, a godsend if you want to work on one body part in particular.
You can work out side-by-side with a friend if you have two Move controllers, taking part in some passable multiplayer games that predictably do little to make exercise enjoyable. If there's nobody nearby you can rope in, you can always send your best scores off to a PlayStation Network friend or post them on Facebook for your friends to marvel at.
Graphically you've not got a lot to look at: most exercises are set in dark, steely training gyms, with the odd flash of colour from a red boxing bag. The 3D models of the trainers and fighters are pretty good, though they boast practically identical animations, which is a little strange. There's a lot of talking too, though most fighters and trainers say the same thing over and over again, which soon gets irritating.
UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System does a decent job of getting you fit with PlayStation Move. It's as punishing a workout as you'd want from a video game, with a wide range of content and the ability to create custom workouts. It's a shame Move's full power wasn't brought to bear here though; an experience like The Fight: Lights Out would have excelled. Still, right now, this is as good as it gets for fitness games on PlayStation Move.