The Average Gamer

Adidas miCoach – First Look

Adidas miCoach is a Xbox 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move enabled fitness game. Yes, it’s another fitness game, so why should you care? Well, it’s being pitched as a game to complement the sports you enjoy. Not replace, complement. It’s an important distinction.

For example, if you are a runner you go out running as normal and log the results of your run with miCoach. Then the program of strengthening and conditioning exercises, led by British heptathelete Jessica Ennis, will help you to improve your running. I’m as guilty as lots of other runners by simply running a lot to improve rather than following a balanced training program containing exercises other than running.

Adidas miCoach - KakamiCoach has been developed to use the Kinect sensor in a really clever way. It allows you to complete training exercises alongside a professional athlete on screen. Not only does it look really cool to see yourself plonked next to a sporting superstar but you can also quickly spot where you’re going wrong.

At certain points during each exercise the camera will zoom in on a critical part of the professional athlete’s body to show you in detail what they are doing. For instance, when Kaka (Real Madrid and Brazilian footballer) was knocking a ball between his feet I got to see a close-up of the how his foot was making contact with the ball. Ok, it doesn’t make it any easier to complete the exercises but at least you can see clearly what you should be doing.

Refreshingly, the whole ethos behind miCoach is about exercising correctly rather than finishing a set as quickly as possible. If you need a break at any point during a set then the exercise set counter will freeze and wait for you to start again. Even if the break is right in the middle of a set you won’t get hassled by any annoying on-screen prompts.

Currently the game features the following sports:

  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Athletics
  • Rugby
  • Basketball

Each sport features a world famous sports star to guide you through the training. You have Kaka for football, Jessica Ennis for athletics, New Zealand All Black Ma Nonu for rugby with other stars still to be revealed. Each athlete has been videoed doing the exercises in real-life and reassuringly even they don’t get them 100% right every single time. There’s the occasional wobble while stretching or the slight mistimed kick. This makes following them on-screen a lot less daunting.

To support the more traditional exercises involving pumping weights and stretching there are a raft of skill based challenges. If you’re playing football then one of these challenges involves heading a ball into the net with the ball appearing from a variety of angles. Another skill test challenges you to volley the ball into the net. Unfortunately, as this was a pre-alpha build of the game I couldn’t try these tests out myself or see the any of the rugby skill challenges. Shame really as I quite fancied taking on one of the sports stars, especially Ma Nonu.

Each copy of miCoach is due to come with a heart rate monitor (HRM) which fits snuggly in the centre of a Adidas TechFit top. You don’t have to wear a HRM or any other fancy sports kit to use miCoach – just a kinect sensor and some willpower will suffice. However, any device you do use during a workout like a HRM will have its data logged, providing another parameter to monitor how you are performing. All the exercises in miCoach are straight from Adidas’s very own fitness trainers too. Adidas are clearly putting a lot into this game.

There is a strong community aspect to miCoach with the ability to track friends and compete in challenges against them. If your friends aren’t up to it then you can take your challenge worldwide – if you dare. You can even earn points within the game to exchange for discounts on real-life Adidas sportswear; the more you sweat, the cheaper clothes get.

There are also plans to release additional exercises and sports to expand the appeal of the game. At the moment there aren’t any details about what these sports might be.

Overall, from what I was shown miCoach looks very impressive and looks like it can really improve your fitness. The combination of fun skill games and the sports star led exercise routines will add variety to your training too. It’s certainly going to get me up off the sofa and leaping around in front of our Kinect sensor again.

Update 27th March 2012: VG24/ have reported that Adidas and THQ have reached an agreement over a lawsuit filed by Adidas after THQ failed to release miCoach. Hopefully, now we’ll get to play the game.

Adidas miCoach will might be released March 2012 at some point for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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