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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Exercise / Rhythm

 

Publisher

Namco Bandai

 

Developer

Namco Bandai

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

May 17, 2011

 

 

- The mascot is kind of cute
- Wendee Lee as a virtual traine
- Entertain guests…by looking like a complete buffoon

 

 

- Misguided optimism/false advertising on effectiveness of workouts
- Little incentive or reward to keep playing
- Finicky timing, unintuitive indicators

 

 

Review: Just Dance 2 (Wii)

Review: Battle of the Bands (Wii)

Review: Michael Jackson: The Experience (Wii)

 

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Exerbeat

Score: 3.0 / 10

 

exerbeat          exerbeat

 

One of the earliest videos for the Nintendo Wii upon its official unveiling featured several imaginative concepts that could be done with the then-revolutionary motion controller; using the device to chop vegetables, illuminate a spooky mansion, or perform Mario’s iconic jumps, this video flipped the collective switch inside the imagination of gamers and developers all over the world, eagerly anticipating a new generation of motion controlled games.

Instead, we were flooded with rhythm and workout games. To be fair, a few hardcore titles did make good on some of the promises from that video, but it soon

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- Wii Game Reviews

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became painfully clear what genres the casual market wanted, and while the rest of us twiddle our thumbs waiting for the next Zelda title (or import the European release of Xenoblade Chronicles, as Nintendo of America believes there’s no market for RPGs over here), we have Namco’s Exerbeat: Gym Class Workout to help us pass the time. In a market where there are almost

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more workout and dance games than First Person Shooters, could this union of the two genres result in something fresh and exciting?

Did you really expect it would? Really?

Inspired by the sales figures of Wii Fit, Exerbeat follows a near cut and paste format; players take their custom Mii character through an exciting trek across the world, and by exciting I mean a mundane world map where performing each of the workout challenges grants you points, allowing your Mii to step forward from dot to dot. Reaching a dot earns you a reward in the form of planners, calendars, and so on while receiving basic trivia about the landmark you just landed in; such landmarks range from Rome to Italy, to several other places that you’ll be reading a small Wiki entry about rather than actually seeing it for yourself.

As for the gameplay itself, players have the option of several types of exercise routines, from arm stretches, yoga, boxing, and so on. The goal of each challenge is to follow the timed motion patterns with the on-screen indicators. Performing the motion too early or too late won’t count among your high score, so it’s crucial to follow the exact timing.

 

exerbeat          exerbeat

 

Essentially, it’s like Dance-Dance Revolution performed with a shake-weight, and it’s as clumsy and ineffective as it sounds. The biggest problem with Exerbeat is that it doesn’t give you a clear enough indication just how off you were with your timing, it only states if you were “close” or “slow”. As for the effectiveness of the workouts themselves, they may be effective if you were of the morbidly obese variety, but even the most average couch potato won’t work up a sweat from these exercises, no matter how enthusiastic the Anime-voiced trainers sound (“I bet you lost a couple of pounds already!”, exclaims the boxing instructor after a workout consisting of exactly a minute and a half). Other modes offer the use of two Wiimotes to help “tone” both arms, as well as an exclusive mode that uses the Wii balance board, but as you can probably guess, these fail to prove entertaining or physically beneficial as well.

A clumsy interface as well as an ineffective physical activity, Exerbeat is not the worst offender in this continuously offensive market of unimaginative motion control games, but it offers little value beyond keeping grandma and grandpa entertained during their next visit, though Nintendo’s first party efforts are still the clear choice for virtual workouts.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(September 12, 2011)

 

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