The Best Exercise Games for the Xbox Kinect

A little over a year ago, Microsoft released a new App for the Xbox called Kinect PlayFit. This was supposed to be the next big thing in Xbox Fitness Gaming where no matter what fitness game you played, the calories you burned would be recorded in this App.

It’s probably fair to say that the app hasn’t taken off as much as Microsoft (or I) was expecting it to. Personally, I launched the app for the first time in a few months. I was a little surprised that the list of supported games still was stuck at 14. Here’s the latest list of supported games, with links to my reviews on this site:

1) Kinect Sports Season Two
2) Let’s Cheer
3) Just Dance 3
4) Just Dance Greatest Hits
5) Kinect Star Wars
6) Happy Action Theater
7) Kinect Disneyland Adventures
8) Deepak Chopra’s Leela
9) miCoach by Adidas
10) Nike+ Kinect Training
11) Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012
12) Junk Fu
13) Dance Central 2
14) Dance Central 3

Not a bad list of fitness games; there are few games better at getting your heart rate up than Star Wars Kinect or the Just Dance series.

But what I found strange was the number of games that should probably be on this list but aren’t, including Zumba Fitness, Zumba Fitness Core, Zumba Fitness Rush, and other titles like Just Dance 4, the original Kinect Sports, or Fruit Ninja Kinect. I suppose in these cases it just came down to a question of whether developers felt it was worth their effort to build support in, and they just decided no.

Also a little odd are some of the games that are included, including Deepak Chopra Leela (really more about relaxation than burning calories) and Happy Action Theater, which was never really an exercise game, and isn’t even available for download anymore; it was replaced by Kinect Party. Interestingly, I noticed that when you play Kinect Party, it does show calories burned in the overall calorie count but not is not in the “Supported Games” list (and doesn’t register calories under Happy Action Theater). So I’m guessing that the Kinect Party folks built it in, but for some reason internal development on PlayFit must have been cancelled.

That said, I’m assuming this list is more or less the “final” list for Kinect Playfit on the Xbox 360, and if you’re looking to build a definitive list of Xbox Fitness Games, I’d say these are all not bad, and given that the Xbox 360 is on its last legs, you should be able to get used or even new copies of these titles for anywhere from $5-15 these days.

As far as my personal favorites, I still agree with most of what I’ve written over the past few years. Star Wars Kinect in particular is an incredible workout, as are all the dancing games. And I like the fact that now, Adidas MiCoach, Nike+ Kinect Training, and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved are all supported (when PlayFit launched, MiCoach was not).

Time will tell if Microsoft bothers to port Kinect PlayFit to the Xbox One. Let’s hope they do.