Zumba – Burn It Up!
Nintendo Switch

Developed By : Kuju Games
Published By : 505 Games
Category : Music, Dance, Fitness
Release Date : Nov 19, 2019

Ever since gamers got the Wii in their homes, games have been opening up new ways to promote exercising through gaming. With our Wii’s we got Wii Fit along with a slew of Just Dance titles that continue to release to this day. Even the other platforms utilized their peripherals to bring the same workout-at-home experience. So it’s no surprise that the trend continues on the Nintendo Switch, and Zumba – Burn it Up! is a new release in the realm of fitness games to help you burn off some calories in your living room.

The first thing to make note of in most rhythm games is what sort of progression you’ll have to make, and if there is a career to do so. Which, if you’re looking for any sort of career mode in this Zumba title, you won’t find one, since the game pours all of its attention into just being a workout game for you at home.

Instead, you’ll be able to select from varying lengths of workouts to participate in. These are short (15min), normal (30min) or long (60min), and offer varying degrees of intensity in the dancercising they bring to your living room. Other than the classes, you can also just dance to a single song at a time, or party up with friends and family to dance and work together to pass the routines.

Once you’ve selected your gameplay, you’ll make a more precise selection of either the exact class you want take, or which song you want to dance to. The songs and classes are broken down into levels of intensity, and all that really means is exactly how hard you’re going to be working out. If you’re a fitness noob you may find yourself sticking to the low intensity workouts until you get a hang of it, or if this isn’t your first Zumba rodeo you might jump right into the deep end.

No matter how you choose to play, the real fun begins once you’re in the song and it’s time to Zumba! Your song will start with an instructor on the screen doing the required dance steps. At the bottom will be a yellow bar that slowly fills up, denoting short sections of the song, and the top right will have a small circle with a simplified version of the dance move you need to perform for that current section.

As you complete each beat of a section, you’ll be graded on how you performed the moves. This grade will effect your score meter in the bottom left as you start earning up to five stars. Once the yellow bar fills, another chunk will be added towards your stars earned based on how you did in the entire section, then you’ll immediately move into the next and the next until the song is finished. Each star you earn adds things to the games level, such as two extra instructors (you start with just the one) and details to the environment.

Zumba – Burn It Up! is pretty straight forward in what it’s trying to do, however I felt that it was a little lazy in how much it put into trying. My main reason for this is that you only need to utilize a single joy-con to play with and have it track you mimicking the dance moves. It may not seem totally silly, but factor in that my wife and I fired this game up lying down one night and were able to nearly 4-star a song just by waving our arms around in the air.

It’s a small thing, but I felt there could have been much better ways to approach tracking the dance moves. The easiest solution would have been to force using both joy-cons loosely, which makes even more sense because the dance moves tend to have moments of using one arm or another, not always dancing with both arms. So during these moments you’re potentially “tracking” your resting arm while the game just assumes your other is performing the right move.

Setting aside the lazed approach to tracking movements, this was a pretty fun game. It was very easy to pick up for beginners, my kids even got to have fun dancing along, even my three year old who you can bet took advantage of the easy tracking. My wife who attends Zumba classes semi-regularly even recognized a handful of the songs that we played along to, so it’s clear they know their audience.

So whether you’ve Zumba’d in real life or not, whether you can keep up with the best or end up flopping like a fish on the floor, Zumba – Burn It Up! is a fun exercise game to add to your library. It’s easy to pick up as a beginner, or a way to continue your favorite workout at home and not need to worry about issues getting to the gym. While the movement tracking could have been done in a better way, you still need to get dancing pretty well to pass the songs, so download or pick up your physical copy today and start shaking those hips!


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