lose weight with wii and nutrisystem

Wii Fit U Update to Version 1.3.0 03.07.14

For those of you who missed it, 2 weeks ago there was an update to Wii Fit U. There were the typical updates of bug fixes and UX improvements.

For those of you who, like me, use the Fit Meter every day I can, you’ll be happy to know that there are a bunch of new Fit Meter Challenge Courses.

For the walking courses, in addition to the existing courses:

Chicago – 26 miles
New York – 13 miles
London – 26 miles
Hawaii – 133 miles
Tour of Italy – 653 miles
Sydney – 23 miles
Berlin – 26 miles
Tokyo – 26 miles

You’ll have these new trails to conquer as well, complete with new cultural and historical information.

Vancouver Island Trail – 409 miles
John Muir Trail – 211 miles
Appalachian Trail – 2160 miles
Florida Trail – 761 miles
Via Augusta – 1108 miles
Orient Express – 1799 miles
Romantic Road – 228 miles
Tour of Crete – 298 miles
Kyushu – 249 miles
Shikoku – 746 miles
Tokaido – 306 miles
Hokkaido – 511 miles

Similar, in addition to these old Altitude challenges…

Statue of Liberty - 305 feet
Grand Canyon – 7260 feet
Eiffel Tower – 1062 feet
Pyramids – 446 feet
Mont Blanc – 15780 feet
Burj Khalifa – 2716 feet
Mount Everest – 29028 feet
Mount Fuji – 12388 feet

You’ll get these new ones.

Mount McKinley – 20236 feet
Half Dome – 8835 miles
CN Tower – 1814 miles
Machu Picchu – 7972 miles
The Shard – 1017 miles
The Matterhorn – 14692 miles
The Eiger – 13025 miles
Mount Olympus – 9573 miles
Mount Yari – 10433 miles
Yatsugatake – 9511 miles
Tokyo Skytree – 2080 miles
Mount Bandai – 5968 miles

Rather than stuffing everything on one map, they’ve kept the original world map but created new maps by region that you can scroll to. Here are the hiking trails in North America:

wii fit u map of north america

Here’s what the Appalachian Trail looks like. I do like that as you hit each checkpoint, you can read information about the location that can even help you plan a real-live trip. Unfortunately, if you’re doing a lot of miles at once, you won’t see these pop up for each checkout. But if you enter a little bit of data at a time, you can vicariously relive the experience of hiking the long trail. There’s something cool about taking your normal walk and “applying” the miles to a real-life hiking trail.


It’s been a while since I input my altitude data, so I decided to relive my visit to Tokyo Skytree last December.

tokyo skytree on wii fit u

Lo and behold, I got a new hat out of it!

new hat!


The timing of these improvements to Wii Fit U couldn’t be better for me, as I’ve recently started on yet another experimentation in changing daily habits and weight loss. I signed up for New York City’s oft-maligned bike share program. I decided while there’s a lull in fitness video games, I might as well start doing a little blogging about my Citi Bike experiences. Feel free to take a gander if you’re interested…if not, stay tuned for a review of a new Wii U fitness game shortly!


Wii Sports Club is coming…again 26.06.14

As I mentioned on this blog before, Wii Sports Club has been available for some time as a downloadable title on the Wii U. Even though only a few sports were available, I did put it on my top ten list of Wii U Fitness games. In particular, boxing can provide a fantastic workout, baseball and tennis can get you some light to moderate exercise, and golf and bowling, well, if you’re like my nephew who jumps wildly up and down every time he crushes me in a game, you’ll get a workout there too.

wii sports u box art

While Nintendo originally announced that Wii Sports Resort would be a download-only game, they’ve wised up and decided to make it an actual physical disc. It’s not free like the original Wii Sports, but at $39.99 it’ll be cheaper than most new Wii U games (as well as cheaper than buying them separately online). And if you have a Wii U, I’d say it’s worth it for the much more detailed graphics, the more precise MotionPlus controller support, and the really good online gameplay.

If you’ve already purchased some titles online, it probably makes sense for you to finish buying the rest online (golf was released in December and baseball/boxing became available today). But otherwise, if you can wait until July 25, you can get all the games for a great price–and have a physical disc you can bring to a friends’ house.

You can pre-order it at Amazon here.

Release Date for Gamecube Adapter for Wii U and Super Smash Bros Bundle 15.06.14

I have the feeling that Mark Twain’s line saying “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” will be getting used more and more for Nintendo Corporation.

By most accounts, Nintendo has had a few very good weeks lately. The release of Mario Kart 8 saw 1.2 million copies of the game sold, helping to quadruple sales of the Wii U and put it on line to be on par or even surpass sales of the Xbox One and PS4, at least for the month (although that’s not likely to last).

And during the latest E3 conference, a lot of the buzz was about Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U and the 3DS, which we discussed last time.

They provided more details about the use of GameCube controllers and Super Smash Bros. The adapter by itself will be available for a suggested retail price of $19.99. It’ll allow up to four wired or wireless GameCube controllers to be attached to the Wii U.

gamecube adapter smash bros

The company is keeping mum about whether it’ll just work with the handheld GameCube controller, or whether it’d make all GameCube controllers like the CyberBike, DDR Game Pad, Active Life Game Pad compatible as well. It also hasn’t officially mentioned compatibility with games other than Super Smash Bros (although I’d be shocked if they didn’t make it compatible with Virtual Console games). So far, they’ve only officially announced that it’ll work with one controller and game: the classic GameCube handheld controller playing the new Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

[UPDATE: as of 7/16/14, a few retailers like Best Buy have published updated product copy that states things like "Play a variety of games on your Wii U using your classic GameCube controller" and "Play your favorite Wii U games with the controller experience you know and love". Whether this is a little bit of advanced insider knowledge or a low-level copywriters making stuff up, time will tell. It's a shame we have to play this guessing game, but something tells me that Nintendo themselves are still figuring this stuff out as we speak as well...]

The official launch date for this adapter in North America has still not been confirmed, although they do say to expect it in “4th Quarter 2014″. You can pre-order it at Amazon for $19.99. If the price drops between now and then Amazon will refund the difference.

gamecube controllers on wii u

There will also be a $99.99 bundle that includes a copy of Super Smash Bros, a brand new GameCube controller with the Super Smash Bros. branding, and the adapter.

From the photos it looks like it’ll take up two of your four precious USB ports on the Wii U, so if you have things like a USB drive and an Ethernet adapter installed, you’re going to start feeling a little squeezed. But a good USB Hub should serve you well if you want to add additional things like a keyboard or a microphone.

Fingers still crossed that the GameCube adapter will bring all those old peripherals to life. Nintendo certainly needs all the help it can get to get old Wii users to make the jump to the Wii U, especially since publishers like Namco Bandai, Konami, and Big Ben seem to have all but abandoned the idea of active gaming with the Wii U.

Gamecube Controller to Wii U adapter from Nintendo is coming 01.06.14

h/t to Jayne for this news :)

So it turns out for the release of Smash Bros, Nintendo will be releasing its own Gamecube Controller-to-Wii U adapter, as they just announced on their Twitter feed.

Interestingly, this announcement took just about everyone by surprise. Everyone had pretty much written off Nintendo’s support of the old Gamecube controllers since they ripped out support from the last version of the Wii and all Wii Us. Mayflash had made a valiant attempt to come up with a converter, but as we concluded here, their attempt fell short.

Could this mean that all your old GameCube controllers, such as the Cyberbike, the DDR dance pad, the Active Life gamepad, might have new life on the Wii U? Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Nintendo hasn’t released any other information other than this teaser, so it’s not clear yet whether these will be available to be purchased at retail, bundled with Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, or otherwise. I’ll put up an update once they announce that.

With this announcement, as well as Nintendo’s generous free game promotion for purchasers of Mario Kart 8, it’s clear that Nintendo is trying to use its popular old franchises to try to entice old owners of the Wii to upgrade to the Wii U. We’ll see if they do.

Mario Kart 8 Is Coming 11.05.14

One exciting piece of news to come out from Nintendo is the upcoming launch of Mario Kart 8 on May 30.

It’s no secret that sales of the Wii U have been moribund. But if there’s ever been a game launch that might help revitalize console sales, this is it. Early indications are that Mario Kart 8 is going to be a hit. The Nintendo Store in NY tweeted that they’d have a limited edition version of the game for sale. I went in to the store the next day, and they already sold out of all their inventory.

I was a bit aggravated, as I work only two blocks from the store and should have gone in earlier in the day. But que sera sera. I ended up pre-ordering it on Amazon.

An added bonus (and why I predict this game is going to sell out quickly) is that if you register your game on Club Nintendo between May 30 and July 31, not only do you get Club Nintendo points for the game, you’ll also receive a download code for one of four great games: Pikmin 3, Super Mario Bros U, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker, or Wii Party U.

What, pray tell, does this have to do with Wii exercise? Well, for one thing, since Wii Fit U there hasn’t been a whole lot to report on, not just with Wii exercise but with the Wii U in general. I’ve been using Wii Fit U pretty regularly, and always have my Wii Fit Meter on, but other than that there’s not much to report.

But the thing I’m looking forward to is dusting off the old Cyberbike and the Mayflash adapter and seeing if I can squeeze a little bit more utility out of that.

I’ll report on my findings here. In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a Cyberbike,

you should still be able to find some used ones floating around on eBay. But hold off until my post in a few weeks, where I’ll let you know if it was worth it or not!

Review of Zumba Kids for Wii 15.04.14

It’s funny how time changes things. A few years ago, it seems that every time you turned around another company was spewing out another exergaming title for the Wii, and Microsoft and Sony couldn’t wait to get in on the action. These days, it seems that interest has waned to the point where I’m only reviewing one Wii game every few months.

Sadly, I don’t think it’s because there’s a lack of interest in the genre among us enthusiasts. The bigger problem is that back in the days when exergaming was hyped up so much, so many of the titles were just lackluster “me too” titles that game publishers pushed out to cash in. Sure, there were the occasional ones that bucked the trend like EA Sports Fitness and Wii Fit, but those were the exception.

Zumba Kids was a game that was released in December 2013. You can tell from the amount of time it took me to review it that I wasn’t necessarily knocking down any doors to play it. And surely enough, after playing it, as I suspected there really wasn’t anything new.

When you start Zumba kids, you see a splash screen with three kids in colorful outfits. Most of the dancers in the videos, not surprisingly, are kids who do a pretty good job as junior Zumba instructors.

Once you press “A” to start, the game has four menu options:

- Quick Play
- Full Party
- My Zumba
- Options

Select Quick Play and you can scroll through the song choices. A preview of each song will play as you hover over it.

One interesting thing to not is that ALL songs are labeled as “medium intensity”. When they produced this game, they eliminated a lot of the most complex dance moves, as well as a lot of the more “suggestive” moves you might see in adult Zumba. That said, there are some parents who might still consider the moves here too “suggestive”. I won’t get into that discussion here, other than to say that if you’re a parent considering buying this, just watch some of the videos below and decide for yourself what is age-appropriate for your kids. The good news is that from a lyrics perspective, none of the songs seem to be as “controversial” as the playlists that Just Dance for grown-ups has.

You can choose from a different venues in the background: Los Angeles (pink), Caribbean (red), Brazil (green), Europe (blue), Hawaii (orange). As with the adult version of Zumba Fitness, the playlist is comprised of selections from each geographical location, making for a pretty diverse list.

Here’s a list of the songs, their medium intensity, their dance style, and the venue:

123 Shake – Medium Intensity – hip hop – Los Angeles
Baila Pa Emociona – Medium Intensity – Soca – Carribbean
Beauty and a Beat – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Los Angeles
Boogie Wonderland – Medium Intensity – Disco – Los Angeles
Barnaval, carnaval – Medium Intensity – Samba – Brazil
Beltic morning – Medium Intensity – Irish Dance – Europe
Clap, Stomp, Jump – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Brazil
Dance, Dance, Dance – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Brazil
El Batazo – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Brazil
Fireball – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Los Angeles
Fish & Poi – Medium Intensity – Hawaiian Reggae – Hawaii
Fur Elise – Medium Intensity – Ballet – Europe
I Like to Move It – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Hawaii
Jala Ke Jala – Medium Intensity – Latin Pop – Puerto Rico
La Cachumbalera – Medium Intensity – Cumbia – Carribbean
La Gallina – Medium Intensity – Cumbia – Caribbean
Lento – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Puerto Rico
maue Soca – Medium Intensity – Soca – Puerto Rico
Miss Fusion – Medium Intensity – African/Soca – Europe
Mr. Fusion – Medium Intensity – Sino/Bollywood – Europe
Otea Tahiti – Medium Intensity – Tahitian/Samoan – Hawaii
Oye Como Va – FAmily Jam – Salsa – Puerto Rico
Queibra as Cadiera – Medium Intensity – Axe – Brazil
Quiero – Medium Intensity – Rock and Roll – Puerto Rico
Say Hey (I Love You) – Family Jam – Pop/Reggae / Carribbean
Spread Love – Medium Intensity – Hip Hop – Los Angeles
Swing Thing – Medium Intensity – Swing – Europe
Tutuki – Medium Intensity – Tahitian – Hawaii
Wipe Out – Medium Intensity – Surf Rock – Hawaii
Zumbazoka – Medium Intensity – Techo Soca – Carribbean

You can choose Zumba Routines or Freestyle Mode.

Zumba Routines work just like the grown-up version, where an on-screen dancer will demonstrate choreographed moves and you need to “mirror” them. One difference between this game and Zumba Fitness is that instead of putting your Wii remote in a Zumba belt, you hold it in your right hand just like Just Dance.

Zumba Kids – Wii

As you can see “Medium Intensity” doesn’t get into very intricate footwork or arm movements. This is good in some ways—kids will just get frustrated trying to follow choreography that’s too complex. But I think it backfires in other ways. From an energy perspective, kids have so much of it to burn, so these routines might get boring for some of them. That said, if they string together a bunch of them, there’ll still be some decent cardio benefit.

As with the adult Zumba game, each time the system detects that you’ve hit a move perfectly it’ll award points and flash the word “Zumba” on the screen.

One thing I noticed is that the tracking was simply not very accurate. I danced these videos virtually perfectly, but as many times as I tried it the system would never award me more than 2 or 3 stars in most cases.

Zumba Kids – Wii

Zumba Kids – Wii

I tried everything, even to the point of getting on my knees to simulate more of the height of a kid playing the game. Taking a cue from adult Zumba fitness, I even held the remote upside-down. Believe it or not, once I did these two things I started getting much better scores.

Zumba Kids – Wii

I suspect a lot of parents won’t mind poor motion tracking, as a lot of kids are happy just to be jumping around and won’t be paying too much attention to how high their scores are. Still, given that this is something Ubisoft figured out a long time ago, I only wish that the developers of this game were as detail-oriented.

“Freestyle” mode was a weird one. You can select any song, but you won’t see dancers on the screen. Instead, as the music plays you’ll see an on-screen meter that gauges how strenuous your activity is. Fill the meter, and you’ll see paint blotches and strokes appearing on the screen. Along the way there’ll be mini-games, such as having to “freeze” completely for a period of time and “coloring in” different pictures, all controlled by waggling the Wii remote. Clearly this was made for very young players who might otherwise feel “left out” when the bigger kids are dancing to the choreography, but I personally didn’t find either the features nor the execution particularly intriguing.

Zumba Kids – Wii

The “full party” option is basically the same as a regular Zumba “class” on the adult version, where you can play a string of songs spanning a certain number of minutes. It consists of three categories of menu options.

short (20 minutes) – 10 classes
medium (45 minutes) mini games – 10 classes first 5 have mini games
full (60 minutes) – mini games all 10 classes
custom class – make your own playlist

I tried a class and *finally* scored a 5 of 5 stars with a ballet routine, of all things.

Zumba Kids – Wii

I did like that the music and choreography was more “kid friendly”. In fact, throwing in choreography like the one simulating ballet and the other simulating Irish Dance is a decent way to introduce kids to all kinds of dancing.

Zumba Kids – Wii

That said, while this wasn’t a horrible title, but it also didn’t really add much we haven’t seen a million times before. There’s no excuse for spotty motion tracking these days, and some of the “extra features” such as “freestyle mode” seemed almost thrown in without very much thought. I’d give it 3 of 5 stars; probably not worth a purchase unless you happen to be a Zumba enthusiast and your kids are interested in following in your footsteps (literally).

Rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Wii Fit Meters under $10 at NewEgg #wiifitu 10.04.14

Here’s a great deal–NewEgg has standalone Wii Fit Meters for $9.99 right now. These are great if you’re looking to purchase the downloadable version of Wii Fit U, or if you need additional meters to track friends or family (or put one on the dog’s collar for some really interesting stats).

The meter usually goes for $20, so this is a great deal if you’re looking to stock up on them. They’re the black version of the meter, not the green version you’ll get in the packaged versions of the game. But hurry–this one won’t last long!

Wii Fit U Bundles Now Available in Retail Stores 10.01.14

It took a while, but physical Wii Fit U Bundles are finally available in retail outlets as of today.

There are two bundles available:

Wii Fit U w/Fit Meter: This contains a physical CD of Wii Fit U, along with a green Fit Meter.

Wii Fit U w/Wii Balance Board and Fit Meter: This contains a physical CD of Wii Fit U, along with a green Fit Meter and a Wii Balance Board

One question a lot of folks have is: is the version of Wii Fit U I reviewed here (which you can download from the Nintendo eShop) different in any way from the version that’s available at retail? The good news is that the answer is no: the game is 100% identical provided you unlocked the full version of the game by purchasing a Wii Fit Meter and syncing it. This is still the most economical way to get the game if you already have a Wii U and a Balance Board, but hurry, the trial offer is only good until January 31.

Another question a lot of folks have is: has the Balance Board included in the second bundle above been updated or improved in any way? The quick answer is no: the Balance Board is essentially the same as what Nintendo released in 2007.

That of course brings up another question for anyone who has a Wii U but might not have a Balance Board yet: does it make sense to buy a used Balance Board and the first bundle above, or to buy the second bundle?

Amazon and Best Buy have made that decision easy with their launch date pricing of $65 for the second bundle–if you don’t have a Balance Board yet it’s a no-brainer for you to get one at that price, considering that the Fit Meter is $20, so you’re essentially getting a brand new Balance Board for $45, which is cheaper than used ones are going for on eBay.

But when the pricing goes back to its suggested retail pricing of $100 in a few days, you’ll need to decide whether it’s worth the risk of buying a used Balance Board–there are 32 million of them out there, so you’ll find plenty of used ones at Gamestop or Craig’s List. On the one hand, Balance Boards are notorious for breaking down so there’s a bit of risk in getting an old one, but on the other hand in many cases the solution to getting them working again is a simple fix.



Time to get a Wii U? #bestbuy #wiiu #sale 07.12.13

With Wii U-only offerings like Wii Fit U and Wii Sports Club, as well as first-party titles like Pikmin 3 and Super Mario 3D getting impressive reviews, you may be thinking about getting a Wii U. Granted, in the last few weeks the Xbox One and the PS4 have stolen most of the thunder, but after sampling both of those system, I still say that for casual and family gaming, the Wii U is the console to have.

Here’s a deal that’s pretty sweet, in case you’ve been on the fence, but it will require jumping through hoops and being pretty quick.

The first thing to do is to get a Twitter account and an American Express card synced up, and then tweeti “#AmexBestBuy.

Sync American Express with Twitter

Then, head over to Best Buy, where this week they have a deal where you can get a $25 gift card with a special bundle version of the Wii U:

Free $25 Gift Card with Mario Bros. U & Luigi U Wii U Console Deluxe Set, $299.99, Plus Free Shipping

Doing the math, by using your American Express card, this nets you a Wii U Deluxe, which some of us suckers paid $349 for a year ago, for $274.99 (with the Amex credit) and then $249.99 (with the Best Buy Gift Card). Factor in the street value of the games and you’re getting the console for about $200.

Probably the best deal you’ll get for a while on the Wii U.

Review of Zumba Fitness World Party for the Wii 09.11.13

zumba fitness world partyZumba Fitness World Party is the latest version of Zumba Fitness to hit the Wii (for those keeping score, the other versions have been Zumba Fitness, Zumba Fitness 2, and Zumba Fitness Core. This review is for the Wii version, but I’ll follow up with a separate review on the Wii U version.

When you start the game, you’ll see a video of Beto, Priscilla Satori, Gina Grant, Loretta Bates, Peter Lee, Nick Logrea, Melissa Cruz, Heidi Torres, Armando Salcedo, Kass Martin, Eric Aglia, and Dr. B and the Bhenga Bros dancing in locations around the world. It’s a great way to introduce you to both the instructors and the locales you’ll be encountering in the game.

The options on the main menu are:

  • World Tour
  • Full Class
  • Quick Play
  • My Zumba
  • Options

When you select World Tour, you first select your profile. It took me a few tries to realize that I had to click on the small round icon next to “profile” to create a new one.

For your profile, you enter your name, date of birth, gender, weight, and height in inches. Whoever designed the interface for this thing needs to go back to user experience design class. You’re limited to seven characters for your name, you need to enter your height in inches (not feet and inches), and inexplicably, to change your weight or height you can’t just hover over up and down arrow buttons and press the button nor even use the arrow keys–you need to position your cursor over a tiny area and click, click, click for every pound or inch you want to add. It would have been nice if, like on Wii Fit, it let you use the Balance Board to check your weight, and it gave you the option to hide your weight from prying eyes.

In fact, this will be a recurring theme throughout the review: navigating through all the menus can be a chore, as you need to be oh-so-precise with your Wii remote.

Once you get started, you then see another video of montages of different cities around the world. Then a Welcome message:

Welcome to the Zumba Fitness World Tour! Earn Zumba Miles to unlock new songs in each destination. Collect postcards and souvenirs from these exotic locations!

The areas of the “world” you’ll be visiting include Brazil, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, India, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico. When you visit each part of the world, the playlist reflects the music of that region, which is pretty cool. Here are the songs in each region, along with the genres and exercise intensity:

Brazil (Afro Samba, Capoeira, Brazilian Funk, Samba, Axe, Brazillian Pop, Reggae)

  • Na Ponta Do Pe – Medium Intensity
  • Batucada Dance – High Intensity
  • Garota Nacional – Medium Intensity
  • Ruas Encantadas – High Intensity
  • Coisa Brasileira – Medium Intensity
  • Mas Que Nada – High Intensity

Caribbean (Dance Hall, Cumbia, Calypso, Reggae)

  • Vibes – Warm Up
  • Marioneta – Medium Intensity
  • Loco – Medium Intensity
  • Caribbean Dream – Medium Intensity
  • Pega Pega – Medium Intensity
  • True to Myself – Cool Down

Europe (Irish Step, EDM, Burlesque, Russian Folk, Flamenco)

  • Clarity – Warm Up
  • The Beggerman Jig – High Intensity
  • Una De Salao – Medium Intensity
  • Russian Dances – High Intensity
  • Put the Gun Down – High Intensity

Hawaii (Hawaiian Pop, Traditional Hula, Modern Tahitian, Hawaiian Reggae)

  • Maoli Girl – Low Intensity
  • Haleiwa Hula – Low Intensity
  • 1865 (95 Degrees…) – Low Intensity
  • Jungle – High Intensity

India (Bollywood)

  • Mashallah – Medium Intensity
  • Indian Moonshine – High Intensity
  • Boro Boro – High Intensity
  • Kaim Rahe Sardari – High Intensity

Los Angeles (Pop, Hip-Hop, Swing, Blues)

  • Beam Me Up – Warm Up
  • Born This Way – Medium Intensity
  • Shake Your Hips – High Intensity
  • Next to Me – Cool Down
  • Exotic – Medium Intensity
  • Puttin’ on the Ritz – High Intensity
  • Do You Feel Like Moving? – High Intensity
  • Came Here to Party – High Intensity

Puerto Rico (Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Latin Pop, Reggaeton, Girly Funk, Bomba/Plena)

  • Limbo – Medium Intensity
  • Bailando Por Ahi – Medium Intensity
  • Echa Pa’lla – Medium Intensity
  • Corazoncito Bonito – Low Intensity
  • Perros Salvajes – High Intensity
  • Aguanile – Medium Intensity
  • Zumba Boricua – HIgh Intensity

For each country, you earn “Zumba Miles” for dancing to the first two songs, and then use those to unlock subsequent songs.

During the course of the “World Tour” you’ll unlock “passport stamps”, “souvenirs”, and “postcards” as you dance. There’s really not much challenge to earning these–just dance with some semblance of accuracy and throughout your dances you’ll see these goodies awarded to you every couple of seconds.

To get started, you first put your Wii remote into your Zumba Fitness Belt, which is included with the game. There’s nothing really special about this belt other than having the Zumba logo on it, it’s just a piece of flimsy plastic with a pocket that your put the Wii remote in. If you’re playing a used or rented copy and don’t have the belt, don’t worry, all you need to do is find a way to strap the Wii remote to your right hip, for example, using an old belt, a right pocket, or even just wedging it under a tight waistband. There are also options you can buy on Amazon. The key is to put the remote “up-side up” so that the power button is closest to your face and the “A” button is facing towards the TV.

Next comes the dancing. You’ll see a street scene from the area of the world you’ve visiting, and a Zumba instructor will be in the center of the screen. As with all these kinds of games you’ll need to mimic his or her moves as if you’re looking in a mirror. You’ll also see a running count of the “Zumba Miles” you earn.

You’ll also see a number of attractive professional Zumba dancers dancing along; the better you dance, the more Zumba dancers will join in. In a clever touch of humor and realism, in some scenes you’ll also see a crowd of “amateur” Zumba dancers in the background who like you and me may not exactly be following the moves correctly (but like you and me, are trying their best).

As with other games of this ilk, you’ll also see an animated preview of the next dance move that’s coming in a postage stamp-sized window in the upper right-hand corner. I didn’t find this very helpful, as it didn’t really break down the moves for me, but as I play the game more I can see how this can be helpful in anticipating the next moves.

Unlike previous versions of Zumba Fitness, instead of an animated cartoon figure or a faceless silhouette, you’ll see the actual video image of the instructor. This makes it a whole lot easier to pick out the moves they’re doing, and is a lot more like a realistic Zumba session than ever before.

When you hit a right moves, you’ll see the words “Zumba!”, “Nice!” or “Hot!” appear on the screen, and the more precisely you dance, the more stars you earn. They did a pretty good job with motion tracking–as an experiment I just sat on the couch and waggled my remote to coincide with the music, but the system did a pretty good job of not rewarding me.

On the other hand, the scoring is pretty lenient as long as you’re “close” to the right moves. If you just go through the motions (literally), you’ll easily earn 4 or 5 out of 5 stars. So you’re kind of under the “honor system” to really put your all into the dancing and to try to really put the precise technique into practice each time you play. There isn’t an option to “break down” each song to really learn them, so you’ll need to learn them by practicing repeatedly and by mastering the basic steps in the dance tutorial (which I’ll describe below).

With the World Tour, you have to dance all the songs in your country in quick succession. In another bit of a user interface annoyance, you get only about half a second when you’re between songs to look at a screen showing how many songs you’ve played in the round, how many rewards you earned, and how many Zumba miles you’ve collected. Blink and you’ll miss it. It would have been nice for them to allow you to pause and read this screen, but perhaps they deliberately designed it so that you have to go to the next song immediately to keep your cardio going.

The “Full Class” option is more like a traditional Zumba class where you can choose one of 15 Short Classes (between 9 and 22 minutes), one of 15 Medium Classes (each about 40 minutes), one of 15 Full Length Classes (about 60 minutes each), or your own custom class. In the Full Classes, you basically dance to songs in the playlist continuously until the time is up. Your star rating will appear under each class, so if you don’t hit five stars, you’ll have incentive to go and play the class again.

With “Quick Play“, you can jump in and start dancing to any of the 40 songs.

My Zumba” lets you view your progress. You can see how many days you’ve been playing and get weekly reports on the amount of time you’ve played, the calories you’ve burned, the number of sets you’ve danced. You can also set goals for yourself and view the bonus videos, levels, and awards you’ve unlocked.

You can also view your postcards (signed by Zumba instructors standing in front of scenes from the different countries) and souvenirs (photos of cultural trinkets and knickknacks) in your “World Scrapbook”.

This section also has “Learn the Steps” where you can choose a dance style, basic step, and speed and master it. As I mentioned before, there’s no training option where they break down each individual song, but by mastering the basic steps for each song you’ll basically be able to tie them together when dancing the full songs. In yet another minor annoyance with the user interface design, you can’t use the arrow keys on the Wii remote to change steps or speed–you have to take the remote out, press the + button, point it at the screen to make your new selection, and replace it.

Here are the Dance Styles and Steps you’ll be able to practice:

  • Axe Samba – Basic Samba, Samba Box
  • Bollywood – Basic Bollywood Step, Step Together Cross Arms
  • Brazilian Funk – Booty Pop, In-Game Step
  • Burlesque – Hip Up and Down, Throw Arms
  • Capoiera – Balanco, Ginga
  • Cumbia – Front and Back, Sleepy Leg
  • Hip Hop – Cat Daddy, In-Game Step
  • Hula – Kaholo, Umi
  • Irish Step – Cross Over Leg, Knee In and Up
  • Merengue – 6 Count, Pas De Bouree
  • Pop – Booty 180, Kick Ball Change
  • Reggaeton – In-Game Step, Knee Lift
  • Salsa – In-Game Step, Side Step

My impression of Zumba World Class is pretty much the same as my reviews of past Zumba games. It’s quite literally the next best thing if you can’t make it to a real Zumba class. You get instruction from the top Zumba dancers in the world, you get 40 great songs to dance to, and you can dance any time of the day or night.

There are some minor annoyances in the game. There’s no excuse for still having such a poor user interface after so many releases. And anyone who’s a stickler for accurate and precise motion tracking in a game may be a bit disappointed.

Still, as before, if you’re a Zumba enthusiast, chances are you’ll be very happy with this one. The live action video dancing is an excellent new feature, and the new “world travel theme” that really provides incentives for you to keep dancing. Very highly recommended for Zumba fans; for those just looking for exercise and fitness I’d still give the edge to a game like Wii Fit U or Your Shape 2013.