Zumba Fitness: Rush is the second game in the Zumba Fitness series for Xbox 360 Kinect. Gameplay is based on dancing to various Latin dance tunes and other multicultural music. Dancing can be done in one of four settings: Single Song sessions, sessions that last 15-20 min, sessions that last 40-45 min, and sessions that last 60 min+. Although the first game had an online class component in which you dance with other gamers across LIVE, this game does not have the same feature.
If you are familiar with the first game in the series, you know that it came with a lot of positives and negatives. I listed the previous game as 3-star out of 5 because of the following.
The main positives in the FIRST game:
1. Great workout activity that does not get boring, keeps you active, and is generally fun and non-repititive.
2. Great music soundtrack. I have downloaded some of the workout music from iTunes because I enjoy it.
3. Practice makes perfect... sort of. The more I played the game, the more I had fun because I was starting to develop body rhythm.
The main negatives in the FIRST game:
1. Graphics are generally bad and boring. Not many dance environments to start from. Bad graphics on the dance instructors (they look like glowing aliens from outer space).
2. Bad Kinect tracking. It was too easy for the Kinect tracker to lose your body if someone else stepped into the space or if you stepped out of the Kinect view. Especially frustrating when playing online with others or when playing a long class and it loses your progress.
3. Intimidation: The game can be overwhelming in activity the first time you play it. Classes seem long (and tiring) at first, the instructors give little instruction in how to dance (even in the tutorials), and it is easy to get lost with what to do with one's body. Lack of dance cards.
4. Lack of understanding of scoring. I feel like I am always doing something remotely close to instructor. Sometime the instructor is red, sometimes yellow, sometimes green. How does this score me, and why can I not keep the instructor green for very long?
5. Online Play - Lots of online achievements and a major lack of online play. I spent twice as many hours trying to find online participants as I did actually dancing in the game.
6. Lack of progress tracking... No system of showing how many people I have danced with, how many online classes I have completed, and other things related to achievements.
SO.... did the new game improve on the mechanics of the first game? Does the game still work as a great workout activity?
The game includes an entirely new soundtrack with great music to dance to, and it is a fun game to keep coming back to to work out.
Issue 1 - FIXED! Graphics are much improved. Dancing in front of more realistic people. In my opinion, the graphics are up to par and may even surpass the Dance Central graphics. Imaginative settings.
Issue 2 - FIXED! For the most part. There was still an occasion when I did get signed out, but for the most part much improved.
Issue 3 - FIXED! Game can still be overwhelming for those new to dance, but each song has dance cards that accompany it.
Issue 4 - FIXED! Game has a performance bar that scores every few seconds of gameplay. 3 bars is really good, 2 bars is pretty good, 1 bar is ok, and red nothing is bad. Getting five stars on song is very difficult but not unreasonable with practice.
Issue 5 - FIXED! No online play nor achievements that go along with online play. I am sure that there could have been a reasonable online component to the game, but the difficulty of getting the online achievements in the first game would have scared me off from the second game if they had included things like "Dance with 100 other people". Dancing solo in a class is much more fun than dancing online to worry about achievements.
Issue 6 - FIXED! Stars are kept on the classes and songs completed. A special calorie counter and time tracker are also included so you can monitor your progress towards those achievements.
One cool new feature added is a special class finder. Enter your zipcode into the toolbar and it shows you where local zumba classes are being held so that if you want to go participate in an actual live class with real people, it shows addresses you can go to and what time the classes are.
The only negatives I found with the game:
1. I enjoyed listening to the instructors' instructions in the first game. Their feedback and encouragement was good in that game. This game does not give you audible feedback.
2. Lack of leaderboards. Lots of leaderboards could have been included in the game (time spent/high scores/calories burnt). I have not found any leaderboards in this game.
Achievements are extremely reasonable for someone looking to complete a game. If you play the game correctly, you will probably spend 35+ hours dancing in front of your Kinect to get in all of the classes and achievements