Shape Up

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Shape Up Game Poster Image
Far from perfect, but a fun way to get kids exercising.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

"Fitness can be fun" is the message of this collection of activity-based mini-games.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Thanks to the Kinect camera and sensor, "you" star in this game as yourself instead of becoming a separate character.

Ease of Play

Easy to play, no controller. Navigating menus can sometimes be tricky.

Violence

Some mini-games have fantasy violence, such as shooting at aliens and UFOs, avoiding helicopter gunfire while running atop a moving train, or boxing/wrestling an opponent.

Sex
Language

The word "hell" can be heard during limited dialogue sequences.

Consumerism

Optional downloadable content (DLC) for additional money. There's an optional Shape Up Coach subscription service with custom quests, additional data tracking for a monthly fee.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A trainer says "We're making a piña colada" in one sequence.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shape Up is a collection of fitness-based mini-games that encourages exercise in front of your television. Players portray themselves thanks to the Kinect camera instead of taking on the role of a fictional character. There's some fantasy violence, such as punching a boxing opponent, zapping aliens, and running from gunfire atop a moving train. The game also has one reference to alcohol, and the word "hell" can be heard during some dialogue sequences. There's also some optional downloadable content, and a subscription service for custom quests and data tracking for a monthly fee.

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What's it about?

SHAPE UP is a collection of 90-second fitness-focused mini-games. Using the Xbox One Kinect camera (required), your likeness is scanned and imported into the game. You'll then take on a number of fantasy challenges, such as shooting asteroids, bench-pressing an elephant, or boxing an opponent. Along with providing a score for the various cardio- or strength-based tasks, you'll also see estimated calories burned to serve as extra motivation. Although it's optional, you can record your workouts to challenge yourself or friends in an upcoming round or take on a four-week challenge.

Is it any good?

In theory, Shape Up is a great idea because it fuses physical activity with fantasy-based challenges, such as running across a moving train while avoiding helicopter gunfire, shooting at aliens, or wrestling a Mexican fighter (lucha libre-style). Plus, the sub-$30 price point is half the cost of new games for Microsoft's platform. But when it comes to execution, Shape Up doesn't quite live up to its promise. It has too few scenarios to play (so you should get used to repeating activities such as "Squat me to the Moon"). There's little incentive to replay these mini-game activities (other than an end-level boss to defeat) and graphics that are only so-so. Still, any game that gets kids moving instead of lounging around isn't a bad thing -- it's just that Shape Up should offer more than it does to keep players engaged over longer periods of time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about exercise in gaming. Do you like getting exercise by playing video games? Should you put away the game in favor of exercise outside, or does this motivate you to exercise more? Why?

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  • Talk about the violence in the mini-games. Should you be concerned about the violence because you're physically going through movements to destroy enemies, or is it so unrealistic that it isn't a problem?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love exercise

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