Game Review: Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011 (Wii)

Around this time of year, with all the feasts and candy and desserts, it can be easy to get out of shape and pack on some poundage. But now, fitness expert Jillian Michaels is here to help. Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011 features Wii Balance Board and MotionPlus support, as well as an all-new Mission Mode.

The Training Mode has several exercises and workouts you can try with the Wii remote and Balance Board. You don’t HAVE to own a Balance Board to play this game, but you won’t be able to track your stats. So it’s really beneficial to have one. You can set up workout routines and resolutions for the entire week, or have a pre-set one made for you.

Your on-screen avatar holds a Wii remote in the exercises, which comes in handy as a guide to let you know if you are performing the exercise too fast or slow. The remote will glow green when you are doing the routine properly, but will turn yellow and then red if you are off. If you have the Wii MotionPlus remote add-on, the game can track your speed one-to-one, which gives a more accurate account of how you’re doing the exercise. But it does get problematic during Mission Mode.

Speaking of which, after doing a few training exercises, you’ll unlock Mission Mode, which gives this title a more video game style feel. In Mission Mode, an evil corporation is making junk food with processed addictive ingredients that make people sick, and then they sell them medicine to cure the illness to make more money. But instead of letting the FDA take them down, it’s up to you to infiltrate their headquarters and put a stop to this.

While the idea of a more video game-ish mode makes sense because you’re playing on a Wii in the first place, there are some problems with this mode of play. First of all, it’s pretty dopey that you have to perform jumping jacks to hit pressure points to open a door, or do random calisthenics while running down a dark hallway, for instance.

But the worst part is that they don’t show you an example on how to do the required exercise prompted (like what they do in Training). So you won’t know exactly how fast or slow to do it. If you are using Wii MotionPlus, it’s even more persnickety than usual. And if you mess up too many times during the missions, you’ll have to start over. So it’s best to take out MotionPlus if you really want to do the Mission Mode. When you clear levels, you can unlock fitness tips and recipes from Jillian Michaels, who provides a lot of voiced encouragement throughout the game. Other than the goofy Mission Mode, the rest of the game is somewhat decent if you like fitness stuff on the Wii.

Kid Factor:

Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011 is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol Reference and Mild Violence. In Mission Mode, you are required to break stuff, but that’s it. And one of the recipes has alcohol in it. No reading skill is needed, but younger players may get frustrated with the unforgiving and persnickety controls.

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