Family Trainer: Aerobics Studio / Dance Aerobics (FC) (1987)
Developer: Bandai
Required Accessory: Power Pad (Side B)

Review by Faididi and Co.

Girls having fun with their pads

Story: Average

A girl goes to the local studio to do some dance aerobics. Why? Probably so she can stay in shape, fine-tune her butt, get high from the natural chemicals in her body, or simply hang out with her attractive lady instructor.

Gameplay: Above Average

Bandai's Family Trainer: Aerobics Studio (Dance Aerobics) is an exercise game designed for use with the Power Pad. Basically, it lets you take dance aerobics lessons in the privacy of your own home so your friends won't make fun of you. Aerobics Studio comes with a variety of modes, all of which are single-Player.

The main mode is a lengthy dance aerobics journey, where the aforementioned protagonist has to match her instructor's movements over several levels. The instructor first performs a few example routines, and then the girl gets to follow along. Going out of step ten times results in the sympathetic instructor stopping and telling the girl to rest before trying again. Successfully finishing all the routines for a level yields a password. Even though the routines are smoothly paced, the password option is an unexpected yet handy feature.

The other modes all have something to offer, too. The free mode lets the girl skip into quicker, briefer sessions, letting it double as a great way to warm up. In the two music modes, stepping on the Power Pad creates sounds, with each button corresponding to a different note on the scale. One of the music modes lets you compose your own tunes as you dance, while the other has you trying to reproduce a tune that the game plays out first. Both are pleasant diversions to the standard aerobics challenges.

Controls: Above Average

The instructor has a special Power Pad that mirror the Player's, allowing her movements to be followed as easily as possible, and the margin of error for the button-stepping is lenient enough. The only problem in the controls comes from some of the advanced routines that require you to jump all over the place, but that isn't severe enough to ruin the game.

Graphics: Above Average

The girl whose role is assumed by the Player isn't revealed until the end of the main mode, but the real gem here is the instructor, whose thorough animations are a joy to follow. The backgrounds are also decently textured, with the studio's clean, polished wooden floor and a clear window that reveals some skyscrapers outside. The time of day even changes from level to level.

Audio: Excellent

The instructor's vocal effects are very clear. She enthusiastically counts out as she performs the routines, helping the girl (and you) keep in touch with her rhythm. Another nice touch is the way she gives extra words of encouragement if the girl performs flawlessly during a session. The gentle workout music is inspired, and it helps you relax, no matter if you're doing a simple warm-up or if you're pumping in 60-plus routines in the really long sessions.

Overall: Above Average

Despite a lack of multiplayer options, Aerobics Studio is a fine exercise game that offers a sizable variety of aerobics activity. Check it out if you have a working Power Pad and you seriously want to get fit or just look at a pretty, nylon-clad dance aerobics instructor all day long.

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