From the beginning I was intrigued by the premise of Shape Up. It’s a game designed to be a work out, but kind of disguise the idea that you’re doing a workout. It reminds me of parents’ often ill-conceived attempts to sneak vegetables in what would otherwise appear to be an unhealthy meal for disobedient children. But it’s also a problem I acknowledge could probably be addressed for those who are struggling to find the time or motivation to do so – the word itself “work-out” sounds laborious and sometimes painful.
So naturally I was intrigued by Shape Up’s concept. Essentially, Ubisoft are trying to incentivise the process of working out by disguising it as a game. The game does this by framing typical work out activities such as push ups and star jumps / jumping jacks as proper actions in an adventure game. Many could argue that fitness itself is the reward to exercise – but if there’s an experience that makes it easier then who’s to say a product like Shape Up isn’t the best way to go about it.
Shape Up presents itself in a very gamey looking style that marries the weird almost techno-oriental look of Fruit Ninja to the typically lo-fi and pixelated style of the Scott Pilgrim film. The result is something that, at first, seems oddly out of place but when you realise what Ubisoft is going for with Shape Up makes perfect sense. But it’s a bright, colourful and very crisp style of presentation that matches the game well.