Keeping fit and gaming appear to be a recipe for sales success. A well-known example that combined the two effectively was Nintendo’s Wii Fit, from 2007. There are a slew of fitness focused videogame releases out there and in this feature we’ll take a look at two you may have missed.
Game One: UFC Personal Trainer (Xbox 360/Kinect version, 2011)
A clear rival to World Wrestling Entertainment (or WWE), the Ultimate Fighting Championship (or UFC) has been the subject of numerous tie-in videogames over the years, so it was logical to have a UFC branded virtual personal trainer for all of the major home consoles of the day. In 2011, that idea would materialise with UFC Personal Trainer, published by THQ. As the software title suggests, this release was focused on improving the physical fitness of the user. It even boasted the official backing of both the UFC itself as well as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). A number of leading MMA experts designed the experience with a total of seventy playable exercises (across multiple disciplines) used by MMA fighters in the real world, targeting specific muscle groups. There was also the option of a custom made fitness plan, which allowed you to add in twelve selected exercises which could be changed in intensity. If you wanted more than just exercises, UFC Personal Trainer could also teach about healthy lifestyle and training techniques to help you get that body goal made real.
Also in there was an Ultimate Training Mode which had a number of exercise drills with several popular MMA fighters in the tutor role. Marketed as “The Ultimate Fitness System”, it’s clear that this now-nine year old game had lofty ambitions and was trying to position itself as a definitive entry in its respective entertainment category. With so much content, key athlete input, and the strong UFC branding behind it, the appeal seemed relatively strong – but did all of that translate into a positive initial reception?
Some of the reviews weren’t really hailing the game as golden, with Gamespot handing UFC Personal Trainer a 6/10. They liked how it “offered the most exhausting experience in videogames” but weren’t keen on the “bugs”, “repetitive programs”, and felt the “overlong stretching periods” could make you tired for the wrong reasons. IGN felt the controls for the Xbox 360/Kinect edition were mostly effective, but not entirely – they were still better than the PS3 oriented Move copy, though. The “clean interface” was a plus point but the trainers being repetitive in dialogue and of limited charm were a definite minus. IGN awarded the game a mildly better 6.5/10.
UFC Personal Trainer may not have been loved by the critics upon release, but it did seem to work (to a degree) and was (and still is) far cheaper than hiring a real UFC trainer. A copy for your Xbox 360 can be purchased right here.