Ubisoft’s popular Just Dance franchise has been a popular hit for many years and it’s still selling so well that editions of it are still being released on the Nintendo Wii. Although not as popular in the realm of gaming, Zumba has a large following at gyms all over the globe, so the release of Zumba Burn It Up on the Nintendo Switch should be at least of interest to them.
It’s interesting to notice right away that the song list consists mostly of unknown tracks, or at least it’s the case for someone who hasn’t done any Zumba classes in real life. Only a few tracks, such as one from Cardi B, are easily recognisable which does mean that this feels like a low budget affair for anyone used to Just Dance’s song lists being full of the latest hits.
However, what this game lacks in a fancy song list, it more than makes up with its energetic dance moves. The use of what seem like music tracks cherry picked for Zumba make it easy to see the work that went behind picking the chosen choreography for each of the music tracks. Regardless of not knowing the music, it’s hard to not get caught up in the frantic energy that radiates off the on-screen instructors. It doesn’t matter what crazy dance moves they demonstrate on-screen, since the rhythm of the music tracks is so fast that it makes it impossible to think what you are doing.
Attempting to follow the on-screen dance move prompts makes for quite the workout when putting in the effort. It’s no wonder that Zumba is so popular in real life when doing a couple of songs will already feel like a decent workout. Whilst, it’s not particularly difficult to deceive the game into thinking the effort is being put in, it also defeats the whole point of playing an active game such as this. At least the Joy-Con controllers work as expected when being used and there’s no lag or anything. Any points are awarded when doing the dance moves correctly and it all adds up to a total and a rank at the end.
Now, don’t expect the same sort of visual thrills that the likes of Just Dance offers. There’s some decent backgrounds, but they look basic compared to what other more high profile dance games have to offer. The highlight being the enthusiastic instructors who are on hand to demonstrate their best dance moves.
There’s so many different ways to dance to music in this game and it really feels like each music track has its own routine. It’s clear that this is the main attraction in this game and this desire to be as authentic as possible is what sets it apart from the competition.
Given the type of game that this is, it’s nice to see different types of classes that players can enroll in. Each comes with a different time based difficulty level and a set of music tracks to do. It means that players of different skill levels, from veteran Zumba dancers to complete newbies, can enjoy this. The inclusion of a friendly multi-player mode also means that this can easily be used as a party game with mates and a couple of drinks to help any self-conscious players who may not enjoy making fools of themselves. The Nintendo Switch’s tabletop mode also means that players can play this and dance to as much Zumba music as they want anywhere.
Those who have set themselves a fitness goal to achieve can also make use of a fitness tracker to see stats such as energy used. There’s also a set of goals for those who want to feel like they are getting something out of playing the game. It’s a shame that there’s no way to set personal goals, but there’s still a lot to achieve that should cover most of what players tend to want to get out of dancing/exercise games.
Zumba Burn It Up is a decent attempt at making it possible for fans to dance from the comfort of their homes. It would have been nice to get the option to purchase additional music tracks, but what is available is good and the energetic dance moves (surprisingly efficient exercise) even more.