IGN Review of Daisy Fuentes Pilates
Pilates was originally created in the 1920s by Joseph H. Pilates as a form of physical therapy and strength training. Similar to yoga, it's designed to elongate your muscles rather than shorten them, leading to a lean build instead of bulking up. The program has been used by ballet dancers, acrobats and now, movie stars and former VJs like Daisy Fuentes.
Daisy Fuentes Pilates features 10 different exercises with three different difficulty levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Challenging (keep in mind that some exercises are the same regardless of the setting). To aid you in your quest for fitness, a timing bar accompanies all exercises to track your performance using the Wii remote and Wii Balance Board.
The timing bar is just a solid white bar that will move back and forth between two open circles. If your timing is perfect, the white line will hit the circle and turn into a green dot, but if your timing sucks, the circle will turn red. More green dots equal more points and the points are used to follow your progress. While this might sound ideal for beginners, the temperamental controls make for an extremely confusing and frustrating experience that's hard to work through.
First off let me say that this isn't really a game. It's a glorified workout video with a digitized Daisy Fuentes (the only likeness accurately captured was her chest) instead of the real deal. You start off by entering your name, age, height, weight (the Balance Board takes care of this) and your gender. If you don't have a Balance Board that's okay, you can still perform all of the exercises but you won't be scored on some of them. Once you've done that you can head straight to the Workout Center or hit up Daisy's Office, the Guest Hut or Help Desk.
The Workout Center is where you'll spend most of your time. You can change the difficulty here and participate in various exercise modes: Resort Tour, Single Exercise and Workout Set.
The Resort Tour is pretty, but completely useless, especially if you're new to Pilates. This mode has you click on random parts of the resort -- the Island, Meditation Area, Pool, Fitness Room, Garden, etc. -- to perform a specific single exercise. However, it isn't clear what exercise is located where, so the tour can turn into a jumbled mess fairly quickly. Just skip it and head straight to single exercises.
In Single Exercise mode you do five repetitions of the exercise of your choic: Bicycle, Double Leg Circle, Toe Taps, Pelvic Bridge, Side Leg Work, Hundred, Mermaid, Neck Pull, Roll Up and Saw. The first five exercises use the Balance Board, while the other five use the Wii remote. Simply pick an exercise you want to try and the environment you prefer. If you're new to Pilates, you can watch a tutorial that explains the movements before you start. If you're a Pilates veteran you can either watch a quick video preview to refresh your memory or just jump right in.
Workout Set is clearly meant for people who have mastered all the single exercises, so beginners shouldn't start there. During a workout there is no explanation of how to execute the exercises, so if you don't know already you'll be confused and frustrated. There are five pre-set workouts that contain different exercise line-ups. Classic Moves, Hard "Core" and Resort Veteran offer various arrangements, while the Wii Remote and Balance board workouts are more literal. Those focus on the exercises that incorporate the Wii remote and Wii Balance Board, respectively.
The warm-ups included in the workout routines are incredibly bland. You can choose between a repeating sitting stretch series for five minutes (yawn) or running in place for five minutes (double yawn). Your other options are to ignore their warm-ups and do your own (my favorite) or, if you're really lazy, you could just sit there. Since the game doesn't actually track if you're following the on-screen instructions, Daisy never has to know about your indiscretions.
You can also customize five of your own workout sets. However, if you aren't familiar with Pilates you might be better off sticking with the pre-set workout routines. It's possible to set up a workout comprised entirely of Hundreds or Leg Lifts -- not a good thing.
In Daisy's Office you can channel your inner 10-year-old girl and change Daisy's workout clothes. Unfortunately, her outfits range from "Normal" to "Junior Slut" to "Head of the Brothel." Considering that this game is aimed at women, it's a little surprising how revealing most of the wardrobe choices are. Beyond the slutty outfits, the office also contains some words of wisdom from Daisy herself. There are three Pilates tips focusing on awareness, finding your center and concentration along with five diet tips. While most of the diet tips are common sense (i.e. in order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you eat), it might be helpful for some people to keep them on track.
The biggest problem with this game isn't that it isn't a game; it's that the system designed to set it apart from workout videos is broken. Using the Wii remote and Balance Board to track your form, while good in theory, is more distracting than helpful. Instead of focusing on performing the exercise and breathing properly you're just trying to figure out which way the game wants you to point the Wii remote so you don't get an angry red dot.
The Balance Board is even harder to please, which is disappointing -- considering how well it's utilized in Wii Fit. In fact, I became so frustrated with the lack of "green dots" during my Toe Tap exercise that I sat up and started drumming on the Balance Board. With this technique, I was able to secure several green dots -- go figure. During Saw I also found that the Wii remote doesn't track your motions properly unless you point it a certain way, which also happens to be unnatural for the exercise. My favorite bug was when I received a green dot but was warned by Daisy's scolding voice, "Uh oh! Careful, you got a red dot." Uh, no, I didn't, but thanks anyway.
Daisy Fuentes Pilates doesn't offer unlockable exercises, doesn't track your weight change and ultimately doesn't encourage you to continue using the program. The points you receive don't really matter, especially because the tracking system doesn't work. With no incentives to come back, the game becomes just as effective as a workout tape. You're either committed to doing it or you aren't.
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