Ever since Wii Fit was a success for Nintendo in 2008, the fitness genre has become a staple of motion gaming. Seeing how the Kinect has a heavy focus on tracking a body in motion, it seems a natural fit for such a title as adidas miCoach. And, while there’s enough in this game to provide a good workout, there are some stumbles that prevent it from being a seamless experience.
Instead of faceless narrators or generic characters, adidas miCoach makes use of digitized video footage of actual star athletes, such as Dwight Howard and Ana Ivanovic. Players can choose from several categories of sports, such as running, football, or basketball. Each category contains several sets of unique exercises which are meant to give certain body parts a proper workout. Furthermore, each sport’s offering includes star-focused footage, which is shown on-screen along with footage of the player.
There’s a lot of content for those who are willing to put time and physical effort into the game. Dozens of sets and many more individual exercises are available right from the start, without forcing players to go through exercises they don’t care about before they can get to what they’re looking for. Various plans can be set up for each day, and the game is nice enough to let you know how long each session will take so that you can schedule things as you see fit. Those who want to tackle exercises individually still have that choice, though.
Besides the traditional exercises, adidas miCoach offers some simplistic minigames that actually have you act out the motions of sports like soccer and basketball. These feel out of place, imprecise, and ultimately insubstantial. The loose motion controls used for such things as trying to shoot basketballs into a hoop or kicking soccer balls into a net simply feel unresponsive, and could have used some fine-tuning.
The videos of the athletes performing the moves are efficient in showing how to do each exercise, and most of the time, the Kinect sensor does a fine job of identifying your motions as the correct ones. Still, it was far from perfect, as I commonly found it showing me at an odd, incomplete angle, making me look like I was falling through the floor. As a result, the device had trouble picking up some of my movements.
Also, while the simple interface shown during the exercises works for the most part, some issues arise when you complete one. For one thing, the athlete will keep doing the movements for several seconds after the notification text pops up, with no way to skip it. Another problem is the lack of audio cues. Considering that a good number of the exercises have you looking away from the screen, it would have been a good idea if the development team had included an audible indicator to let players know when to stop performing each action.
The game supports the Kinect microphone at all times during exercise, allowing you to open a voice-controlled menu where you can pause or skip a session. Unfortunately, the voice recognition seemed much weaker here than with other Kinect titles and, even though I was speaking loudly and clearly, it often took several tries to activate the menu.
Finally, though opinions may differ on this, the soundtrack chosen for the game is at times ill-fitting and rather distracting. Rather than taking a more laid-back and calm approach, the developers went with a soundtrack that features blaring techno and dubstep. It simply doesn’t set the right tone for most of the basic things you do here.adidas miCoach is a decent package of fitness training with a lot of content where it really matters, but several hiccups found within its presentation aspects and motion tracking capabilities prevent it from being truly solid. If you’re willing to stomach the flaws, you’ll find it to be a good training tool, but one can’t help but think it could have used some more fine-tuning.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, which was given to us for review purposes.
Although adidas miCoach includes a lot of content that fans of the fitness genre will appreciate, questionable design choices and technical issues keep it from being a slam dunk.