Top positive review
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Another very good Zumba title with improvements such as live action video instructors and a world travel theme
on November 9, 2013
Zumba 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.
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 the instructors and the locales you'll be encountering in the game.
The options on the main menu are:
"World Tour" is a new "adventure mode" where you can travel virtually to different parts of the world. 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
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. Note that this only applies to the World Tour mode; in the Full Class and Quick Play modes, all 40 songs are already unlocked.
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 you'll see these goodies awarded to you throughout your dancing.
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. As with prior versions of the game, 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 scene from the area of the world you're 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 the 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. To test the motion controls, I did a little experiment where I just sat on the couch and waggled the remote--and sure enough the game was smart enough not to give me credit for doing that. That said, when I actually danced the way I was supposed to, it wasn't difficult for me to get 4 or 5 stars each time--even though my form was really, really bad. It seems that as long as you're "close", the system will reward you for trying. So you're kind of under the "honor system" to really put your all into the dancing and to try to learn the precise moves each time you play.
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 the postcards (signed by Zumba instructors standing in front of scenes from the different countries) and souvenirs (photos of cultural trinkets and knickknacks) that you've earned 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.
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
Another nice things about the Wii version of the game is that is supports up to four simultaneous dancers, who can be dancing anywhere in the room. With the Xbox 360 (and One) versions, you're limited to two players standing within camera range.
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, mostly having to do with really bad user interface design. To select menus, you need to be ultra precise with the Wii remote to click on menu options, and you generally can't use the arrow button to navigate. During the Tutorial mode, you can't just use the arrow button on your Wii remote to move to the next dance, you need to take out your remote from your belt each time. While you're dancing the World Tour, between songs you'll see a screen that flashes for about half a second, which doesn't give you any time to read what it says. There are many more user interface annoyances that a fourth-generation game really shouldn't have.
Also, anyone who's expecting a game that'll help your Zumba technique might be disappointed in the motion tracking, which really only measures whether you're putting in an effort.
Still, as before, if you're a Zumba enthusiast, chances are you'll be able to overlook the flaws and 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.
So the 5 stars I gave it is based on the assumption that if you're on this page you're already a Zumba fans or are someone who's interested in trying Zumba. But for those just looking for a general exercise and fitness game, the user interface annoyances probably move it closer to a 4 star game, and I'd probably still give the edge to a game like Wii Fit U or Your Shape 2013.