Gold's Gym Cardio Workout / Nintendo Wii : 4 of 5
The only video games I really get into are ones that help me get some exercise, so I'm always on the lookout for something as fun and sweat-inducing as Dance Dance Revolution. I don't think I'll ever find anything as perfect as DDR, but Gold's Gym Cardio Workout is definitely an addictive and active game! I actually bought it ages ago after watching a video review (plus it was a steal at only $20 bucks), but unfortunately it remained unopened for a long time. But since I've been doing a lot of walking and losing weight, I decided to break it out to add variety to my fitness routine, and I enjoyed it from the moment I started playing it. The basic workout is called Shape Boxing (somewhat like Tai Bo from years ago), so you use a Wiimote in each hand to punch as your trainer directs. In many ways it's like "DDR for your fists", since everything is set to music and the punch icons move up the screen in a similar fashion. There are different kinds of punches (jabs, hooks, uppercuts) as well as ducking and weaving, so the combinations can get complex (the game also encourages weight-shifting footwork, which adds to the energy)! One important tip to anyone playing this game: the defensive dodging really wants you to hold the Wiimotes in an upright position, which took me a while to figure out. Like most fitness games, there is a calendar to track your progress (which keeps a punch count for each day), as well as gold awards that you can use to buy stuff in the shop (such as new clothes for your character or your trainer). In addition to Shape Boxing, there are other exercise games included (a few use the Wii Balance Board), plus a series of Boxing Examinations that you can take when you feel ready (I've passed Levels E, D, and C so far). If you like, your trainer will prepare a set of activities based on your progress, or your can select your own workouts, most of which are a solid 15 or more minutes of punching, so the sweat really starts to pour. I'm really enjoying Gold's Gym Cardio Workout so far - I like playing a fitness game that feels like the real thing!