Zumba is a popular fitness program that incorporates dance and Latin music to keep you moving with a cardio workout. It’s been extremely successful, with best-selling DVDs, clothes, live classes, and video games. Now they’re inviting youngsters to the dance party with Zumba Kids, a new video game for Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect (Wii version reviewed here).
To play, simply follow along with the movements of the Zumba kids on screen. Watch the screen for picture cues on what moves come next (although it’s easier just to watch the kids). The better you move to the music, the higher rating you’ll get, from Hot, Sweet, to Zumba. Get enough high ratings and the background scenery will change to look like crayon drawings, letting you know how well you are doing. Keep it up and you’ll earn stars, which unlock bonus videos. Although it’s a little unclear how you unlock them. I did two classes and didn’t unlock a single thing, and then I did a single song and unlocked a bonus video.
Unlike the other Zumba games, this one doesn’t come with a hip strap to put your Wii remote in. Instead, you just hold the Wii remote in your right hand. I tried both ways, and I have to say that for some reason, the motion sensoring didn’t feel as responsive as it did in the other games, so it was harder to get stars. The kids’ version of a game shouldn’t be harder than the ‘grown up’ one! Just make sure kids use the wrist strap and hold onto the remote!
Just like in the other games, you can play a single song in Quick Play mode, or take short, medium, or long classes. Or create a custom playlist. One new addition is that in Quick Play mode, when you pick a song to play, you can choose Freestyle Mode. In this mode, you can dance however you want, but every so often a mini-game challenge pops up like a freeze dance. The instruction booklet makes it seem like these mini-games were separate options on the menu, but they’re actually not. So if you’re looking for them, just go to Quick Play and pick Freestyle.
One thing missing from this game that was in the others was a mode that showed you the different dance steps. However, that’s okay because the dances in the kids’ version seem to be simpler and easier to follow. You can make profiles and track your progress, but it’s not as detailed as in other Zumba titles. Unlock bonus videos and items for a scrapbook, but it’s unclear what you have to do to unlock them. Up to four can dance at the same time in any mode.
Reading skill is helpful for some of the menus and setting up profiles, but it’s easy to figure things out just by playing. While I don’t see why this would be more appealing for kids to play over the regular Zumba games, the freestyle mode is cute and maybe younger players would like the song selection better. Plus, any game that encourages kids to move around and exercise and have fun can’t be all bad. Zumba Kids is rated E for Everyone.
Here are the other Zumba games I’ve reviewed: