miCoach

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
miCoach Game Poster Image
Diverse, enjoyable workout game with heavy Adidas branding.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the benefits of being healthy and how exercise promotes wellness. They will learn what muscles to exercise for different sports and how to exercise those specific muscle groups. For example, for sports that involve jumping, exercises such as lunges target the quadriceps and make the legs stronger for that activity. Kids can also learn how a healthy diet complements an exercise regimen. By playing miCoach, kids can gain an understanding of the rewards of exercise and healthy living.

Positive Messages

The instructors featured in miCoach can be encouraging during the exercises. This is a not a rah-rah/cheerleader style of coaching, but rather they explain the exercise and then demonstrate it while keeping an upbeat attitude throughout the routine. The game itself, through the cameras used, will either determine that the exercise has been completed well enough to advance or not.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The pro athletes featured in this game -- like Kaka, Tyson Gay, and Dwight Howard -- are from diverse backgrounds (basketball, soccer, tennis, football) and are busy helping the player to get physically fit. And with the live-action video of the athlete performing the exercises, these athletes encourage kids to try exercises.

Ease of Play

miCoach can be played on Kinect game, and when it is, the interface reacts well to commands, although the system sometimes needs to be restarted. There were some instances of the game reading slowly some motion-commands, but generally, if movements were deliberate and slow, the interface read the player's movements. This game is also playable on the PS3 using Move.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Adidas is branded throughout the game, and there are Adidas products that can be purchased as an adjunct to the game. For example, consumers can purchase a heart-rate monitor that will upload data to an iPhone or Windows so you can track vitals and progress through the Web site set up for the miCoach license. Some of the products can be costly (the heart monitor, called the miCoach Zone, will cost $94.)

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that miCoach is a fitness-oriented program that requires the Xbox Kinect or PlayStation MOVE to work. It is a heavily branded game featuring Adidas. Players can set up a fitness regimen that spans several weeks and work through different elements of a designed program. For example, a  fitness program may include exercising three times a week for three weeks. Some of the routines also require other materials, such as dumbbells or a stability ball (used for balance activities) that are not included with the game.

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What's it about?

MICOACH is an exercise program that combines workouts with sport-specific games. There are eight areas (tennis, women's training, rugby, men's training, basketball, football, soccer, and running), and each area is broken down into sub-categories. For example, in running, there are two main areas: running stronger and running more efficiently. Kids will also be instructed in how to stretch and prepare to reduce injury. For women's training, the three main areas are get stronger, get fit and healthy, and get lean (with a total body plan). In soccer, you may work on core, leg-stretching, and strengthening exercises and then participate in a skill-based game that requires players to head or volley a ball launched at them back into the net. Workouts can be taken incrementally (in five minute or so portions) or in one long session (about 45 minutes).

Is it any good?

miCoach has a few stumbles in terms of the interface, but the exercise routines and plans and the games are quite well done. This will have users breaking a sweat in short order and having fun doing it. The addition of some recognizable professional athletes adds to the motivation and enjoyment value. While working out with a real trainer is preferable, this is a solid exercise program for home use.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of remaining fit and developing a good exercise program. Here are some other fitness games that can help.

  • Talk about exercising in a safe manner and how to avoid overdoing it.

  • Why is Adidas so prominently featured in this game? How is this game selling to kids?

Game details

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