The Best Exercise Games for the Xbox Kinect

Now since I’ve been writing about exergaming, I’ve been pleading with developers to make us a game that’s as fun as is it effective for fitness.

Ubisoft just announced a game called Shape Up for Xbox One, slated to be released on November 11, 2014.

If the game is as fun and creative as it looks like in this trailer, Ubisoft might have another Just Dance-like winner on its hands.

In their demo at the E3 conference, they showed a couple pretty cool features. The first is that you’ll be able to see your own video image on the screen as part of the game (not an annoying avatar), and with the Xbox One and Kinect 2, the lag looks much better than it was on the Xbox 360. Another cool feature is something they called the “replay” feature, where you can “play” against an actual video of yourself or a friend who got the high score on a particular game.

One game, Piano Step, looks like a simplified version of DDR, where you’re standing on a giant piano and need to tap the right keys with your feet.

In another game, Push Them Up, you’re doing pushups while humorous things show up on your video counterpart’s back, such as barrels, arcade machines, tanks, and elephants. The video images are kind of pointless, as you’re not going to be staring at your screen as you do pushups, but at least it’ll be entertaining to folks in the room with you. Again you can compete against a friend live or against a “reply” of yourself or a friend.

“Squat me to the Moon” has you doing squats to lift yourself higher and higher.

And finally, Abs Zapper looks sort of like a cross between Space Invaders and Tetris, where you use your abs to shoot laser beams (for some reason I can’t get the picture of Conan O’Brien and Jim Gaffigan shooting lasers from their nipples out of my head).

Now other companies have tried to do the “exercise games that are so fun you’ll forget you’re exercising”, but they’ve often come short. They either water down the exercise value so much you’re barely getting an aerobic workout, or the “fun” part is really just a facade slapped on top of regular cardio activity. So we’ll see if Ubisoft pulls this one off.