One day, Vicky finds herself puffing up a set of stairs for the umpteenth time and realizes that something has to change. She starts exercising and gets herself in shape, then decides to share her newfound feel-good lifestyle with others by opening a series of gyms. For time management fans looking for a unique setting, Fitness Frenzy‘s gym theme provides ample opportunity for entertainment.
In Fitness Frenzy you take on the role of personal trainer, meaning that whenever a customer shows up at the gym it’s your job to plan an exercise routine based on their fitness goals – making sure, too, that you balance out usage of the machines to move customers through the gym efficiently, because if they have to wait too long they might get fed up and leave.
If a customer wants cardio training, for example, the treadmill or stationary bike would be a good bet, but if they want to work the upper body, they’ll need the bench press, bicep curl or chin-up bar. Workout lengths will also vary: some customers will do just one exercise, but some might want you to create a routine of two, three, four or even five different exercises. This involves clicking on each machine in the order that you want the workout to proceed to queue them up – once the workout is set, the customer will automatically move to the next exercise when finished with the current one.
As Vicky’s gym expands you’ll receive new equipment, like a warm-up mat and stretching area, an abs cruncher, and even a massage table and tanning bed for customers who want a more spa-like experience. You can purchase upgrades to the equipment and hire helpers, like a masseuse to automatically give massages, or a janitor to clean up the pools of sweat that some of the more inconsiderate gym patrons leave behind on the equipment – yuck.
You’ll earn cash and tips for speedy service, and have to earn a certain minimum amount to pass the level. In an interesting twist, however, Vicky can also earn bonus stars for creating sensible routines and being attentive to customers’ needs. (If a question mark appears above a customer’s head, for example, it means they’re confused about how to use the equipment. If Vicky doesn’t offer help fast enough, they’ll have an accident!) These accumulated stars can be spent on "levelling up" Vicky’s skills in four different areas.
Fitness Frenzy offers 50 levels across 10 different locations, which might seem like an average length for a time management game, but each individual level is long. In fact, my chief complaint with the game is that the levels seem too drawn out. Too, once you’ve gotten the hang of creating routines, the strategy (and, by extension, the challenge) doesn’t change significantly from beginning to end. As a result, the game can start to drag a bit during long sessions.
You also can’t change a customer’s workout on the fly, which is something that would have come in very useful for getting rid of bottle-necking by switching customers into free machines in the same category instead of having them wait in line for the specific machine they’ve been assigned to.
Another minor issue is that the workouts occasionally seem arbitrary. For example, I had to create a three-exercise workout for cardio and arms, so I choose the warm-up mat, stationary bike (for cardio), and chin-up bar (for arms), which seemed straightforward, however I only got a "Great" rating on the last two exercises instead of "Perfect."
On the flipside, Fitness Frenzy boasts attractive visuals that include detailed backdrops for each gym setting, from a snowy mountain chalet to a corporate rooftop gym and beach-themed gym. And although I wish there had been a bigger variety of customers in the gym, the ones that the game does have are well-animated and fun to watch, whether they’re pumping their little legs as fast as they can go on the stationary bike, or tumbling over the handlebars as the case may be.
While Fitness Frenzy is not perfect, kudos definitely has to be given to Gogii for tackling a unique theme instead of piggy-backing a concept that’s already been done, and doing it well enough that it should appeal to the majority of time management fans.