I was first introduced to the first Zumba Fitness game by my sister, who purchased the PS3 version. She let me try it out and I loved it. I had been eyeing it on Amazon ever since it had first been released, wondering if I would like it but unable to spend the $40 it cost without trying it first. I probably never would have bought it without trying it, so I can thank my sister for that. :)
So anyway, I purchased the Wii version for myself and I really really love it. It’s made exercising fun again! In fact, you’re not thinking about the exercising aspect at all (which is probably what finally killed my interest with other Wii fitness games) – you’re too busy trying to keep up with the dance steps.
I was surprised at how much I liked it because… well… I can’t dance. At least, I didn’t think I could dance. I’ve never really tried. The closest I came to dancing was taking figure skating lessons when I was a kid. And that’s different. There’s really no music or rhythm involved. What I didn’t realize is that you can learn to dance – learn to have rhythm – practice being a little bit more coordinated than usual. I’m not saying that I look awesome when I dance and that I do all the steps perfectly, but I do well enough that I am having fun and feeling like I’m getting it. And that’s the point!
The fact that I’m getting some great cardio exercise in while I’m doing is just a plus. ;-)
I’m going to say now that I’ve tried both Zumba Fitness 1 and 2 and I LOVE the first game and don’t love the second. I was excited about the second – I actually was chosen by House Party to review and share it with my friends. It just wasn’t as fun as the first game for me, though. Disappointing, to say the least. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So here’s a quick comparison of the two games:
ZF1: There are nine different styles of dance introduced in the 30+ routines including Reggaeton, Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Hip-Hop, Mambo, Rumba, Flamenco, and Calypso. It doesn’t say in the product description, but there is also some belly dancing that is actually the cool down. It’s kind of a combination of belly dancing and stretching.
ZF2: There are a lot more dance styles in this one, which almost feels overwhelming. I don’t think I like that so many styles are intermingled in the routines.
ZF1: The “Learn the Steps” isn’t really the best – it goes waaay too fast for you to actually catch on to the steps before it moves on. But I figured out that the best way to do that is start it, put the Wii Mote DOWN so that it doesn’t register any movement, and then repeat the steps till you have it and move the Wii Mote so that it’ll move on to the next stage of that step.
ZF2: Learning the steps was SO much easier in this game. I really felt like I had the steps down and appreciated that you are able to control the instructor’s speed – you can speed him up or slow him down. You can move through the steps with your arrow buttons, too. I don’t think they had enough tutorials for me to feel confident jumping into their routines, though.
ZF1: The dance routines are separated by classes: beginner, intermediate, and expert segments. There are two different sets of routines under each class with four or five routines in each one. You can also do single routines and choose your favorites. You can’t create custom routines in groups.
ZF2: The dance routines are separated in the same way – by classes or single routines. You can also create custom classes for yourself.
ZF1: Gameplay. Your instructor is a backlit guy or girl. They cue you every now and again so that you know what is coming up, turn red when you are falling out of rhythm and turn green when you are in rhythm, and encourage you throughout the dance. I like the encouragement and the fact that it’s not a 3D model you’re following. It kind of helps me stay focused and feels more like I’m looking at a reflection (I wish) than following an instructor. I found it easy to follow the routines after a couple of times playing – it’s basically memorizing series of steps, and it does get easier after awhile because many of the steps are similar to what you’ve learned in the beginner routines.
ZF2: Gameplay. There are three different 3D graphic instructors based on real dancers (that I had never heard of, oops). You can customize your instructor by changing clothing. The cueing is better than on Zumba Fitness 1, so that’s nice. For some reason, though, I found these routines harder to follow – many times because I didn’t like the steps. It was partially because I wasn’t a fan of the dance styles thrown in – I’ll explain more about that next. I also didn’t like that there is an intro to each routine. The instructor is surrounded by crowds that are applauding and making a lot of noise, and he/she does a little “I’m so cool, clap more for me” thing to get people whooping and hollering. I was just annoyed by that. Overall, I thought all the routines were more “showy” and missed the layout of ZF1.
ZF1 & ZF2: I’m going to address dance style and sensuality now. I personally don’t like the overly sensual dancing and won’t follow some of the things the instructor does like wiggle her hips or body in a suggestive way. It just isn’t me! This wasn’t a problem in the first one because it felt more like I think it should be – dance aerobics with some different dance styles and steps to learn. The second one I feel the focus shifted. There are definitely more sensual moves in the routines, though…. probably due to the added dance types. So that’s a big part of the reason why I didn’t like the second one. If you don’t mind that, then you might really like ZF2! :)
Here’s a video I created demonstrating Zumba Fitness 2:
Final Thoughts: As I said above, the whole atmosphere of the first game is just more innocent fun, and I found the routines easier to follow than those in Zumba Fitness 2. There were a couple of things in the second game that I really didn’t like, the worst being that I wasn’t comfortable doing some of the moves, and that there was a longish intro to each dance routine that I didn’t want to wait through. I decided to pass the second game on to a friend and stick with the first game myself. If you can possibly try this one for yourself before buying, I know it would be very helpful! If you can’t, then watch my demo video above and get an idea of what you’ll be doing if you buy it.
That all explained, Zumba Fitness 1 is HIGHLY recommended by me – go buy it now! :) It is just so much fun exercising in this way – it seriously doesn’t feel like work at all. It’s a nice break from focusing on trying to do certain exercises that will work out your problem areas, etc. You’re exercising everything in these dance routines. I literally wake up every morning and can’t wait to do this! So if you have a Wii, Playstation 3, or Xbox 360, you must try this. :)
View the Zumba Fitness 1 Trailer here.
Have you played either of these games? I would love to know what you thought!