YourShape

Your Shape: Changing the shape of gaming, and your waist-line

Your Shape is part of a new generation of gaming – the Xbox Kinect generation. The aim is to free you from the shackles of traditional control pads by using the movement of your entire body as the controller. But does it work? Is an updated version of the Sony EyeToy worth a £150 outlay? We got our hands – well, our bodies – involved in the new game to work up a sweat, as well as work out the answer.

YourShape

The amazing thing about Your Shape, and the Xbox Kinect, is how intuitive the control system really is. As soon as you step in front of the camera, you instantly feel in absolutely control. And with the camera sensing 24 different joints of your body – joints that you use every day – you can understand why it feels so natural.

Thanks to the Kinect, all of the Your Shape mini-games are extremely easy to use. Our favourite, the balance-objects-on-a-board game, is both the simplest and most fiendishly addictive. Hold an imaginary board level to stack falling objects, and then drop them into the open pit at either side to score points. The more blocks you stack, the more they are worth. While the game is fun, the most amazing feature is how easily non-gamers could pick it up – most took mere seconds.

While games like board-balancing fire up the testosterone, other games deliberately aim in the opposite direction. In fact, the game recommends you end with one of these relaxation sessions – like Tai Chi Tutor – to warm-down.

When practicing your Tai Chi, the camera provides you with visible feedback on your positioning. You’ll instantly know whether you are a Tai Chi master, or a poor imitation whose body is not quite in the right position. The visible feedback lets you instantly improve your technique – it is as if a real teacher was watching and analysing any mistakes. It will be a disservice to compare this to any other game, because it feels so much more like a real training experience.

There are plenty of more fitness orientated exercises for you to enjoy (or endure), but the key to development is the ever-evolving exercise programmes. The better you get, the more intense the work-outs become.

Your-Shape-Punch

Your success at getting fit isn’t just at the mercy of the console either, as Your Shape also lets you check out your exercise achievements online. Head to YourShapeUp.com and you can see your progress on various exercise, as well as the calories you’ve burnt over a period of time. It’s like an achievement record for your gym-skills. Being able to keep track of your successes really adds to the lifespan of the game – you can make sure that you’re keeping yourself going and continuing to improve without guesswork or time-consuming record taking.

Aside from burning calories, some of the games are actually quite fun. The aforementioned board-balancing game is a bit like Tetris for the twenty-first century. The basics are simple, but there are plenty of strategies and techniques to make you a first-class player. For example, hold your arms higher to raise the board in the air, making the objects drop slowed. Drop your arms to your waist, and the games speeds up its block dropping. It’s then up to you to work out when to tip the blocks into the catchment areas.

Your Shape is a great example of gaming for a new market. The party-play may not be there (although board balancing can get quite competitive, especially when you are pitched against the insurmountable Super Chick), but never before has such an interactive exercising game existed. It should be the pin-up of the current crop of Kinect games – an interesting game that literally couldn’t exist without the Kinect technology.