Wii Fitness Game Reviews 15

Review of Gold’s Gym Dance Workout for Wii

Gold’s Gym Dance Workout

Reviewed by Nutwiisystem on August 30, 2010.
Summary: Excellent collection of dancing, boxing, and mini-games, if a little difficult to master.

gold's gym dance workoutUbisoft’s Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout has been in this site’s Top 10 Wii Fitness Games List since it first came out a year and a half ago. Until then, Wii Fit and My Fitness Coach had pretty much been the only decent Wii workout games around. But concepts that Gold’s Gym Cardio brought helped to push the world of Wii exercise games forward.

And so I’ve been looking forward to its sequel, Gold’s Gym Dance Workout, which was just released two weeks ago. And so the question is: like its predecessor, is the sequel a game-changer? While the game is not without its flaws the answer, happily, is yes.

Gold Gym Dance Workout consists of three main types of exercises: a pure “dance workout”, a “boxing workout”, and “mini-games”.

In the “dance workout”, you perform fast-moving choreographed dance steps using your arms and feet. It’s not exactly like “Just Dance” in that the choreography doesn’t really contain any “signature moves” to the song. Rather, the dance is made up of a series of basic latin dance steps (i.e., merengue, samba, salsa, reggaeton, and cumbia). You first go through a series of tutorials to learn the steps, and then you put them together through beginner, intermediate, and advanced stages of increasing difficulty and speed. Just as you’d do in a dance class at the gym, you follow the lead of an on-screen workout instructor shouting out steps to you to the beat.

In the “boxing workout”, the game has come a long way since the “here we go…clap, clap, clap, clap” of its predecessor. Again following an on-screen instructor, you upper-cut, jab, punch, and hook to the beat of  music. And thankfully, Ubisoft decided to license a whole slew of popular songs, so you’re not stuck to boxing to “Eye of the Tiger” over and over and over. The motion controls are remarkably accurate in detecting specific boxing moves, and the workouts were  fast-moving and fun.

I admit that I absolutely loved the “mini games”. Unlike other fitness games where minigames are an afterthought, Ubisoft seems to have put a lot of thought into these, and I love the touches of humor in the games. The games are:

  • Matador: In this game, you’re on the streets of a city that looks a lot like Pamplona and you need to dodge bulls that are charging through the street. In an interesting twist the game doesn’t use the balance board, but rather has you hold two Wii remotes in your hand and detects when you “duck” out of the way. This was the right move–I find sometimes that the balance board’s response is too slow and not always accurate for games like Wii Fit’s snowball fight and soccer heading. On the other hand, using the two Wii remotes, you can time your ducking from the bulls precisely (the closer the bull is to you when you duck out of the way, the more points you get.
  • Bull Ride: This is an old-fashioned bull riding game where you stand on the balance board and try to maintain your balance as your on-screen character tries desperately to stay seated on a bucking bull.
  • Canoe: This is somewhat like kayaking on Wii Sports Resort, but they’ve improved it. You’re paddling with two Wii remotes (which you hold together horizontally to simulate a double-plated paddle), and as you’re paddling you’re also shifting weight on your butt while sitting on the Balance Board. The result is remarkably like real canoeing (where you work out both your arms and your glutes). There are cute little touches, such as when an alligator charges you and you need to paddle faster to get out of its way.
  • Sword Fight: This is more or less a rip-off of Wii-Fit’s sword game where you slice and dice different objects by wielding your Wii remote like a sword. It adds a nice touch where a ninja will throw stars at you from time to time that you have to duck. But overall, it’s not as strong as Wii Fit’s version; you’ll find that no matter how you slice the Wii remote it’ll always register.

  • Marathon: Somewhat of a misnomer, this is more of a sprinting game where you flail your arms to make your character run through a desert. It took me a bit of getting used to, but I found that if I moved my arms in a fast boxing motion, it’d make my character run (to a maximum speed of 24.8). There are some cute touches where you have to outrun lions and the occasional football players who are chasing you (how a football player got to the desert is beyond me).
  • Jump Rope: This version of jump rope is not as strong as Active Life Outdoor Challenge’s version, but it holds its own. You stand on the balance board and squat and lift your body to make your on-screen character jump, first by himself and then with an increasing number of people jumping along with him. Of course, you can’t jump on the Wii Balance Board, so you’re basically shifting weight.
  • Boxing: In this game, you’re punching and dodging punches from, of all things, a creepy-looking kangaroo. I’m not sure why Wii game designers love to put creepy animals in their games (the panda heads in Wii Fit come to mind), but I guess it makes it easier to punch the guy out than if it were a cute, less-annoying kangaroo. In any case, this boxing is definitely weaker than the original Wii Sports boxing.
  • Karate: In karate, you’ll break boards, dishes, and pottery with a karate chop. The quicker you punch, the more force is applied to the object you’re breaking. Overall, not a bad game, definitely a little bit more of a workout than the Wii Fit version.

When you start up Gold’s Gym Dance Workout, you see a couple of options.
Quick Workout is where you can jump right into playing different dance, boxing or workout activities, or special groups of activities ranging in difficulty from Practice to Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced to Expert to Challenge. You can also select activities to target a specific body part (arms, legs, upper body, lower body, torso and whole body).

You can also choose My Workout, where your virtual personal trainer (complete with Gold’s Gym badge and standing at a Gold’s Gym front desk) will ask you a few questions (such as your workout goals and your level of commitment) and then using artificial intelligence the system will tailor a full daily workout schedule for you consisting of up to 7 different activities per day each listing out the time it’ll take and the calories burned (if you’re new, say “yes” when she asks if you’d like to try a 3-day introductory course).

If you’d like to work out with a friend, Two Player mode lets both of you hold one Wii remote and dance together. Both players have to do the same dance next to each other, and you can compete with each other to see who has the best score.

I’m impressed by the number of options you can configure. You can turn the rumble of the Wii remote on or off; adjust the volume of the music, sound efforts, or instructor; choose which of the on-screen indicators to show or hide. And finally they’ve fixed a pet peeve of mine in all these games–there’s an option that actually lets you turn off the video tutorials that pop up before each exercise.

One thing I also liked about Gold’s Gym Dance is that right off the bat, it asks you if you want to use two Wii remote controllers. As much as I love the Wii nunchuk, game after game has proven that the nunchuk is simply too inaccurate for fast-moving rhythm games. That Ubisoft eschews the use of the nunchuk is a good sign that they’ve taken accuracy in motion controls more seriously than they have in the past.

The one major thing I wasn’t crazy about at first was how very difficult it was to follow and learn the dance steps. The first few times you play the dance workout games, even at the tutorial level it’s very easy to get very overwhelmed. You have to basically follow the on-screen trainer and mirror the moves she’s making. The problem is, she’s moving so fast that it’s incredibly difficult to follow, and the fact that you’re trying to do it in a mirror image makes it even more difficult, as it’s sometimes difficult to tell where her feet are.

The game does try to give you visual and audio clues to help you. For example, the trainer’s foot will glow yellow when it’s time for you to move it. There’ll be a silhouetted image telling you which arm movement is coming up next. And the trainer will yell instructions like “BACK, FRONT, SIDE, TOUCH, AND BACK, FRONT, SIDE, TOUCH”. Problem is, all these things are happening so quickly that you can follow them, much less move your feet to them. And it takes a LOT of practice to coordinate the foot movements with the arm movements.

I actually don’t see this as a bad thing. Too many Wii fitness games have been “watered down” to the point where they’re too easy to learn and master and you get bored of them quickly. With this game, if you practice, and practice, and practice, you’ll eventually get it. The game does, in fact, offer a “practice” mode where you can view the instructor from three different camera angles (looking at the instructor from the front, from the top, and from the side), and also view the routine (or individual segments of the routine) in slow-motion. I’d definitely recommend practicing and perfecting the routine this way before moving on to your daily workouts. The one thing I would have liked to have seen is a view where you could see the instructor facing forward  doing the moves as you’re supposed to do them (as opposed to a mirror image).

Another quirk of the game, which I guess you could call either a flaw or a bonus, is that the motion controller is very, very forgiving for the dance workout. The game, of course, can’t detect that your feet are following the dance moves (I’m hoping beyond hope that Konami’s upcoming Dance Dance Revolution will finally do this), so as long as you move your arms remotely closely to the on-screen trainer’s arm movements you’ll get a “great!” rating for your move. So in a sense, you’re on the “honor system” to perform the moves correctly. You could rack up points by keeping still and flailing your arms, but the true prize is losing weight and getting in shape, which you’ll need to put your whole body into. Like I said the controls for the boxing games are much more accurate.

The game does have a lot of the things which we’ve all come to expect in Wii exercise games: the ability to weigh in using your Balance Board, the ability to choose a trainer and an avatar, the ability to see calories burned, and the ability to change backgrounds (you can choose between the US, India, Japan, Egypt, and Australia). I like little touches they added, such as showing you not just the calories you burned, but a picture of the food that consists of that many calories.

In short, I’d call this game a great new entrant into the world of Wii Fitness games. I’ll give it 4 1/2 stars, but having said that it’s not for everyone. The boxing and minigames you can pick up pretty easily, but the dancing will take a lot of work and patience to get the most out of it. Still, Gold’s Gym Dance Workout is good enough to bump Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout out of the Top 10 list, the first time the list has changed in a very long time.

4.5 of 5


  • Reply
    Sep 07, 2010 10:13 pm

    Weird question but I’ve been searching everywhere for the answer…in the online trailer for this game….is the song starting at 0:40 included in the game? I really want to know the name of the song/artist so I can get a copy of it.

    Many thanks!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Oct 05, 2010 1:29 pm

    very in-depth review! thanks

  • Reply
    Robin H.
    Oct 16, 2010 8:33 pm

    I just got the game. I saw it on sale at Target for $20 so I decided to get it. I like the Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout but I got bored with it after a while. You are right about the dancing, it’s very fast pace and I’m not a dancer at all so I became overwhelmed. I did accidentally click on one of the segments and it repeated that part over again which is a plus. I will try the Practice mode in the future. I love the boxing, it’s way much better than Cardio Boxing. Your basically dancing using boxing moves. Another major plus, you can use 2 Wiimotes instead of the Wiimote and nunchuck. I am so tired of the cord. For the minigames I only tried the Matador game and it was fun. All in All its a really good workout. I haven’t been working out for a while so I’m very out of shape. I was a little winded when I did the first exercise.

  • Reply
    Oct 30, 2010 7:01 am

    Nice website – thanks.

    One thing that is nice to know is statistics on the programs such as how many different exercises are there and how long do they last if each is done once.

    The Wii Fit Plus has 18 Yoga exercises, 15 strength exercises, 9 aerobic and some games. The Yoga and Strength exercises combined last about 1 hour in the fastest mode (routine mode). In the training mode it takes longer since the results are judged and a score is given. Also in the training mode the strength exercises can be changed to advanced mode. I haven’t timed the advanced mode but I guess it would be about 1 hour just for the strength exercises.

    The Wii Fit Plus takes good advantage of the Balance Board by having most of the exercises emphasize balance and form. I also like that many of the exercises can be done by beginners but some get difficult in the advanced mode. Try doing the One Arm Stand in the 20 repetition mode. Also the push-up, jack knife and plank challenges are a good workout for advanced users.
    The aerobics are ok and are scored so that adds a challenge but they are not for advanced users. I started with them but eventually started jogging outdoors for aerobics. The dance programs recommended here would probably be better.
    Most of the exercises are for mid and lower body but there are a few for the upper body. Separate weight training would be needed for a full upper body workout.

  • Reply
    Nov 04, 2010 5:46 am

    how do you do four players for the game i just bought the game all day yesterday i was trying to see how to do that >:(……. Whoever figured that out PLEASE help me :-]

  • Reply
    Nov 04, 2010 7:15 am

    Hi thebest77,

    Unfortunately, the game only supports two players. There are conflicting reports on the Web (maybe at one point in its development they tried to make it support four), but as of its release their official answer is that it only supports two.

    If you’re looking for a great exercise game that supports four players, see my Just Dance 2 review or Active Life Explorer review.

  • Reply
    Dec 29, 2010 10:56 am

    Do you have to have the balance board to use the Gold’s Gym Dance Workout?

  • Reply
    Dec 30, 2010 9:46 am

    Hi Lisa. No, the Balance Board is completely optional. Only four mini-games use it, and even those let you use the Wii remotes instead if you prefer. The only other benefit of getting the balance board is the automatic weigh-in. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Jan 04, 2011 9:57 am

    I just received this and am not seeing the kangaroo boxing or karate in the mini games. Do I have to unlock it or something?

  • Reply
    Jan 22, 2011 1:42 pm

    I bought this game because on the front it said “Dance to hit songs! Lady Gaga, Gloria Gaynor, etc.

    How in the world do you select to play those songs. For some reason it will only play the generic latin style songs. Anyone know what is going on with this? Are the songs at a special menu?

  • Reply
    Feb 12, 2011 11:04 pm

    I just bought golds gym dance workout…buy i dont have a balance board.
    Am i required to have a balance board if i wanns play the game?

  • Reply
    Mar 15, 2011 6:54 am

    I just got the game and clicked on the wrong date by accident. I figured it was ok for the one day…the next day when I did a game all the calories went to the same day..so how do I change the date?

  • Reply
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    Sep 14, 2011 3:18 am

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  • Reply
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    Sep 23, 2011 1:08 pm

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  • Reply
    Cantley Reim
    Sep 27, 2011 8:39 pm

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