Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010

Players can get a great sense of accomplishment by utilizing customization options, which include training routines and “resolutions” for up to six months as well as quick single exercises. This single player game has a wide range of activities featuring a motion-captured Jillian Michaels. The character creator feature is gone, but players can choose among several outfits for Jillian.

Jillian’s increased presence throughout the modes enhances the entertainment value. She appears in the menus; she models exercises, holding the Wii remote and using the balance board in various locales; she encourages and corrects as needed.  Expect phrases ranging from “awesome” to “don’t waste my time”.

The developers have added some appealing locales on a Pacific jungle island setting including sand dunes, pier, jungle, desert, rock, and beach landing. Gone are the rhythm-based mini-games and instead the focus is on control, timing, and placement, which provides some challenge. Also, wisely, gone is nunchuk use so the cord between the nunchuk and Wii remote no longer can cause issues.

The balance board incorporation includes essential initial weigh-ins each time the game is turned on. The exercises include simulations like lifting water pails and sledgehammer throws and basic sit-ups and push-ups. The push-ups have a great format with hands placed on either side of the board. Hands flat on the side, which Jillian’s avatar also models, gives players a better stance though small-sized players might have some extra challenge due to the added width of the stance.

Familiar exercises from the previous installment like the handcar pump remain, but those only show Jillian with the remote in her hand doing the exercises instead of players using a handcar. The game encourages authentic movements for full effect. Exercise accuracy is measured with green for good color motion bar, and a corresponding high pitched sound. Yellow indicates the need for improvement while red is off target with a low pitch sound.

The “resolution” plan calendar is quick and relatively easy to set up. Players can fill each day with individual exercises (four slots total) or choose one or two circuits, which contain multiple exercises. A copy option here would be great for those who wish to use the same exercises on more than one occasion. Fast-paced music, mostly rock, and club can also be chosen.

Players who need some assistance in the self-motivation category can find it with tip screens during exercise breaks and various help options. The game presents a realistic balance of workouts with tips like “allow yourself room for setbacks.” In short, this is a great interactive exercise program with clear directions. Lastly, for those who speak Spanish, the game can be set to play in that language. Recommended with reservations (** out of four stars) and rated E (Everyone). Also available on the Nintendo DS.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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