Says what it does!
I like it when I know what I'm getting out of a game just from its name. I think it stems from my childhood. My favorite toy was a Sit n' Spin and that's what I did and it was wonderful. Similarly, it doesn't take a genius to see that ExerBeat is a creative portmanteau composed of the words “exercise” and “beat”. So in every exercise, you'll want to remember to stay on beat. As long as you keep the name in mind, you'll do well and get high scores.
[image1]But a game like ExerBeat isn't really designed for the express purpose of getting a high score or winning. It's more about getting active and staying that way long enough to work up a sweat.
ExerBeat uses a combination of controllers to track your movement as you mimic virtual coaches that guide you through exercises. You have the option of holding a remote in either one or both hands. Several of the exercises also use the Wii Balance Board (but even if you don't have one, you can still do at least 85% of the exercises). One of the party games requires a Wii MotionPlus, and I would definitely recommend that you have one of these, though it's admittedly a lot to keep track of and your living room will be littered with chunks of plastic.
After being freed from such encumbrances by the Xbox Kinect, it was a little hard for me to take this game seriously and get too excited about it, but if you hold the remotes exactly as instructed, they are not so bothersome, and they do a good job at tracking movements. The remotes vibrate at the end of a correct movement, giving you feedback on accuracy. How you hold the controllers will determine whether you find this game fun or frustrating.
The exercises in the title are basic and accessible, with dancing, martial arts, and body-conditioning exercises that are stripped-down to the point that just about anyone can follow them. Don't expect to walk into an intermediate karate class and think you can keep up just because you played ExerBeat. A high score on a salsa dance does not mean you don't still look like a complete idiot there in your living room. Wii Fit does a much better job at staying true to life, but ExerBeat will keep you moving, and I think that's the whole point.
[image2]Keeping with the Wii Fit comparison, ExerBeat has a lot of the same elements, though they are watered down and simplified. There are progress charts, calorie counters, and heartbeat monitors. You can tell ExerBeat your exercise goals (to get more active, to lose weight, etc) and it will customize your workout and calculate an optimal heart rate range. Wii Fit sometimes overdid all the charts and checks and BMI calculations, but ExerBeat does just enough so that it doesn't feel so serious, and you get valuable takeaways that can be applied to your fitness goals both in and out of the game.
ExerBeat does several things well with motivation. And let's face it, that's one of the factors that determine the success of your fitness regimen. This might sound strange, but I was intrigued by the fun facts of the music world that the game likes to sprinkle around, like how the origin of Greenwich, England is "Greenwich Mean Time". As random as it seems, this actually extended the time I had intended to exercise. In addition to the map, the trainers you mimic are all extremely complimentary. Finally, there are five mini-games if raw exercising just gets too boring. Because there are so few, the mini-games are more of an afterthought, but one in particular, Pirate Attack, is a lot of fun and was an integral part in keeping me playing.
ExerBeat is simple, useful, and keeps you motivated. If you can get over all the things you'll have to hold on to, step over, and calibrate, I think you'll be pleased with this title. The key to a high score is staying on beat and holding the controllers properly. If you do those two things, you can have fun while burning calories.