The paradoxically great news about The Biggest Loser
is that while it makes an alarmingly
unfavourable first impression by botching the easy part, it
redeems itself 10 times over by getting the hard part right -
and, in doing so, demonstrating how viable Kinect is as an
The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout
For: Xbox 360 (Kinect required)
From: Blitz Games/THQ
Before you find that out, though, you must contend with the
game's menu interface, which is an exercise in itself.
Very few Kinect games have demonstrated an aptitude for
controller-free menu navigation, and Workout is
The buttons are too small, the time needed to hold your hand
in place to activate them is too long, and the cursor
occasionally wanders off the button just before it activates.
With practice the problem becomes surmountable in the main
But when the interface calls for more precision - most
notably, during the character creation area - you will just
wish Microsoft would force developers to enable the
controller as an optional means for menu navigation duties.
Fortunately, Workout demonstrates a whole different level of
savvy when the task of actually working out is at hand.
Though Workout lets you take on its exercises as you
please, its best offering is the availability of
circuit-training sessions designed by trainers Bob Harper and
Jillian Michaels, whose likenesses appear in the game as
Workout allows you to design your own sessions, but
its strength is its ability to tailor routines around basic
settings (difficulty, length) and lay them out in a Fitness
Program mode that gives you a calendar, goals and a clear
picture of forward progress.
In action, the game absolutely shines.
During all activities, a solid-coloured likeness of your real
self appears in the lower right corner, and the colour of
that likeness - ranging from green (perfect) to yellow (OK)
to red (bad) - provides simple, continual feedback on how
closely you're replicating each exercise.
Additional details above and below the likeness offer more
specific feedback, making it easy to see what you're doing
wrong and what adjustments are necessary to correct it.
The trainers repeat their lines a lot, sometimes
consecutively, but for exercises that have you facing
sideways, the spoken feedback's value outweighs its
repetition. (Thanks to the Kinect's microphone, you can even
talk back when your trainer asks if you need a break or are
ready for something tougher.) All this feedback checks out,
too, because Workout is surprisingly good at reading
and diagnosing the specifics of its exercises.
Workout's impressive capacity makes it easy to let the
Fitness Program take the lead and throw out whatever workout
sessions it feels are best for your personal progress, and
those willing to let it go further can also utilise the
game's secondary features, which include fitness tips, a
calorie tracker, body analysis, extracurricular activities
and mini-game challenges inspired by the challenges seen on