A recent report suggested that the average gamer was an overweight, thirty-five year old, with a tendency toward depression. Before receiving this piece of information, only two of those three demographics could have been used to identify me. As a veteran player with a growing midriff, perhaps I’ve been overly dismissive at the growing collection of Wii Fit-inspired tools.
Sega’s recent effort to tone, tighten, and trim the masses starts off on the right foot- by using a curvaceous cover star to lure players in. Sadly, the in-game visuals of Daisy Fuentes Pilates do little to capture the likeness of the game’s key personality; the title’s trainer only vaguely resembles Ms. Fuentes. At least developer Collision Studios gave the trainer plenty of competently rendered backdrops for the muscle lengthening exercises. Players can choose locations that range from poolside panoramas to the top deck of a yacht. The title’s gentle soundscape features placid rhythms that successfully complement the temperate workouts.
Players create a profile by entering in their name, age, height, weight and gender. Why this information is required is puzzling, as DF Pilates doesn’t track weight or your body mass index. Instead, the disk tracks points accrued by the successful completion of each set of repetitions. Once your information is entered, players have a choice of two workout options featuring single exercises and the configuration of a workout set.
The title’s ten exercises focus on different parts of the body- from arm, legs, to the player’s core. To maintain a steady cadence, players must synchronize their body movements to an on-screen indicator. The metronome-like meter not only gives player’s feedback, while also functioning as a scoring tool. Successful players will reach a full extension just as a bar reaches the far right or left of the gauge, rewarding the player with a green icon. Players who don’t time the exercise properly will receive a yellow, or even worse, a red symbol. Those that struggle to keep tempo will be gently reprimanded with a short list of phrases; DF Pilates could have used more voice work to maintain the title’s freshness.
While most of the drills are intuitive and invigorating, a few suffer from clumsy execution. The title’s mermaid exercise required player to bend, and point the Wiimote toward the floor. Routinely, the program didn’t recognize our movements, although the movement and timing were accurate. Warm-ups and cool-downs are merely timed routines, which omit any integration of the Wiimote or Balance Board. After experiencing the immediate feedback of Wii Fit’s island jogs, runs with Ms. Fuentes feel lackluster.
Likewise, players without the Wii Fit Balance board may feel shortchanged by the disk, as half the drills require a soft touch on the board to indicate a rep. Without the board, points are not given, and therefore, a player cannot track his/her progress. While requiring the device might have segmented the game’s potential audience, a workaround should have implemented to give non-Wii Fit owners some way to track their daily progress.
With a MSRP of thirty dollars, Daisy Fuentes Pilates doesn’t cost significantly more than a workout DVD. However, those without a Wii Fit balance board will find that the routines presented in the title offer only a modest improvement over a prerecorded exercise disk. The millions who already own the Nintendo peripheral are most likely to find value with Ms. Fuentes digital regimen.