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With both Wii-Sports and Wii-fit holding their own as fitness aids, there has been a recent clutch of similar games on the DS. Personal Yoga Training (Quick Yoga Training in the US) joins My Health Coach DS as an early foray into this territory for Nintendo's handheld console.
Fitness games are only recently becoming a genre in their own right. Previously, rhythm action games would cover these titles. With the release of the Wii and related peripherals however, a new Exergaming genre is emerging.
Games that motivate you to exercise by making it entertaining, and tracking your progress, are usually intended to supplement existing exercise routines rather than replace them.
Personal Yoga Training provides an encyclopedia of Yoga positions all in the palm of your hand. Its portability offers the opportunity to squeeze exercise in around your daily chores.
Not only does it provide 180 poses, each has been individually motion captured by a professional instructor. These movements can then be viewed by players in full 3D. As with other Ubisoft lifestyle games such as Imagine: Teacher DS or Imagine: Girl Band DS, the presentation is excellent.
Some may find the lack of spoken instructions a sticking point as you are required to read along before exercising rather than following audio directions in real time. Although we have yet to try it, Let's Yoga DS provides better audio work.
On a similar note, the omission of the box promised 'Voice recognition: Use your voice to navigate through the program: pause, repeat explanations and fast forward can be controlled hands free by the player's voice' is problematic. Unless there is some hidden way to activate this it appears to be missing.
Personal Yoga Training offers a compact well presented way to learn Yoga poses. The animations depict each move in real time. As you watch the instructor taking you through your paces, there is a real sense of wanting to try it our yourself. If nothing else, this is a great introduction to the Yoga experience.
Because you can attempt as many or as few poses in one go you can dictate how long each session lasts. A nice touch is a visual depiction of how many calories have been burnt in your last session. Certainly an incentive to stick at it for longer next time anyway.
This is squarely aimed at casual and lifestyle gamers. It is more educational than anything else and provides information that should enable the keen player to develop a good Yoga routine.
Because the game requires that you learn each pose before you start, more mature (or committed) exercise gamers are likely to persevere with it long enough to gain the promised fitness benefits.
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