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Plugged In

Which new fitness game is right for you?

Plugged In

The holidays are a wonderful time to snuggle up with the family and entertain guests with lavish meals. What's good for your emotional well-being, however, isn't always good for your waistline. Between Thanksgiving leftovers and Christmas hams, packing on a few is pretty easy this time of year.

But if trudging off to the gym isn't in the cards right now, you can always try shedding some of that holiday weight by playing a game or two. A new batch of exergames let you sweat off the pounds without leaving the house. Try these on for size:

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Nike +Kinect Training
Available for Xbox 360/Kinect

Nike's Fuel Band is a great option for fitness junkies on the go, but if you dig working out with Kinect, this exergame offers all sorts of options as well as a few cameos by professional athletes.

Pros: It's extensive, that's for sure. Strength training, weight loss, cardio: there's a plethora of routines here for every fitness need. You certainly won't grow bored.

Cons: You might, however, grow annoyed by the uneven Kinect experience. It doesn't always track you correctly, so expect to do a number of unwanted reps.


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Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013
Available for Wii U

Ubisoft's Your Shape series has been helping gamers shed weight for years. This year's model is exclusive to the Wii U and uses the system's GamePad tablet in interesting ways to complement your workout.

Pros: One of the more social fitness games on the market, Your Shape lets you easily share your weight loss experience with friends and challenge them in various games. The relaxing yoga mode is nicely done.

Cons: Between the Gamepad and the Wii remote, you've got a lot of trinkets to keep track of while working out -- and unlike the full body-tracking of Kinect, this Wii U workout doesn't track you very accurately. Long load times don't help the burn, either, plus the mediocre graphics don't do a good job of showing off what the Wii U can do.


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Zumba Fitness Core
Available for Xbox 360, Wii

The popular exer-dance craze has been a pretty big hit on game consoles. The latest raises the intensity with all new blazing workouts designed to kick your core into shape.

Pros: As an exergame, it works like a charm. It captures the upbeat, high-intensity vibe of the real Zumba experience, tracks your body relatively well, and will, in fact, push you to the limit.

Cons: You'll probably pull a muscle. Zumba Fitness Core dials the challenge up to 10, so unless you're already in pretty good shape, it may well be too hardcore for you.


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Dance Central 3
Available for Xbox 360/Kinect

Arguably the best Kinect experience of the year, Dance Central 3 delivers fantastic dance gameplay for groups and solo gamers. If you're not sweating up a storm, you're not doing it right.

Pros: Developer Harmonix squeezes every accurate drop out of Kinect, and it shows. The complex choreography will have you working overtime to stay competitive, but the lighthearted tone and wonderful single-player story mode will make you forget you're actually strengthening your core. A dedicated Fitness mode tracks calorie loss.

Cons: If Just Dance is a carefree wedding dancer, Dance Central is a competitive pro. The choreography can be grueling and might be too tough for younger -- or older -- gamers.


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Adidas miCoach
Available for Xbox 360/Kinect, PS3

The Adidas miCoach line of fitness apps and gadgets goes virtual in this exergame, which features athletes like Dwight Howard, Jessica Ennis and Tyson Gay guiding players through tough workouts.

Pros: One of the benefits of being an extension of a known fitness brand is that the game can synch up with other miCoach hardware in really cool ways. Own a miCoach pacer or heart rate monitor? That'll work. So will the miCoach mobile apps, allowing you to take your gaming workout on the road. And with over 400 exercises, there's bound to be something in here for you.

Cons: Like the Nike game, it's not exactly a technical powerhouse. Tracking accuracy is dodgy on both the Xbox 360 and PS3, while slow transitions between workouts will have you waiting to weigh in.


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NBA Baller Beats
Available for Xbox 360/Kinect

Trade cross-training for a crossover with this quirky basketball dribbling game. A bizarre blend of Guitar Hero and b-ball boot camp, NBA Baller Beats teaches you how to pull off an array of cool moves while dribbling to an eclectic soundtrack.

Pros: It might not look like an exergame, but NBA Baller Beats is definitely a workout.  You'll work up a sweat in no time, and if you stick with it, you'll actually get better at dribbling. It comes with a real Spalding basketball, too, and unlike many Kinect games, the tracking is terrific.

Cons: There's a reason for that whole "No ball in the house" rule. Dribble off your foot and it's goodbye, lamp. You'd better have lots of space and some very, very forgiving neighbors, because it's the loudest game on the planet.


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Just Dance 4
Available for Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3

The most popular dance video game in the world is also a great way to burn away a few unwanted calories. New social sharing features add more goofy fun to the mix.

Pros: The game's greatly expanded 'Just Sweat' mode features dance workouts based on different musical styles as well as an on-screen calorie counter. A variety of fitness levels lets you customize it to your particular needs.

Cons: It's not anywhere near as robust as what you might find in legit fitness games, plus the gameplay is feeling a little stale after four nearly identical titles.

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