Fitness meets cute anime girls in exercise app

From Japan Today.

TOKYO —

The holidays are over, you’ve gained a few extra pounds, but you’re finding it difficult to start a workout routine after so many peaceful days spent lounging around. What you need is a workout buddy to help you stay motivated. Preferably a cute girl.

For those of you who don’t know any cute girls willing to get sweaty with you, Japanese indie developer Creative Freaks has you covered with Burn your fat with me!!, a fitness app/dating simulation game where players must workout in real life to impress a 2D anime love interest.

Burn your fat with me!! markets itself as a fitness app that provides players with the motivation to work out through “moe,” a Japanese term describing “that heart-melting feeling you get when you see an adorable female anime character.” They’ve dubbed this new genre “moevation”, because that’s what you do when the pun Gods grant you an opportunity like this.

The gameplay is in the vein of Japanese visual novels like “Phoenix Wright” or “Professor Layton,” but instead of building a case or solving puzzles, the player advances the story by clearing fitness goals, such as performing 50 sit-ups in three minutes.

When you boot up the app you’re given the option to play in either Story Mode and Training Mode, the former of which is composed of a series of episodes where you assume the role of a Japanese high school student who has put on quite a bit of weight over the past few years but lacks any real motivation to slim down.

This all changes when you’re awoken from a lazy afternoon nap one day by your childhood friend Mayu Uehara. Concerned for your well-being, Mayu encourages you to start a sit-ups routine and offers to help get you back in shape.

Before you can explain to her that you are a beautiful and unique snowflake, Mayu slips into her gym clothes, grabs you by the legs, and starts the timer.

At this point, you — yes, the actual you — are expected to lay on your back, rest your smartphone or tablet on your knees, and start working that core. Mayu then counts your repetitions and cheers you on as you progress through your set. This is all done automatically if your device has a front-facing sensor, otherwise you’ll have to tap the screen at the peak of each repetition.

While Mayu only has you do 10 sit-ups at first, she raises the bar considerably higher with each episode, to the point that clearing the main eight-episode story arc could take several months of training if you’re starting out with a flabby stomach. If you do find yourself struggling, you can always switch between the appropriately-named Hard and Soft difficulty settings, and there isn’t really anything stopping you from just tapping on the screen while eating a donut.

Training Mode brings you straight to the exercise interface, allowing you to train with Mayu until you’re ready to take a crack at the next Story Mode goal.

There’s even the option to change Mayu’s costume, with additional costumes unlockable through Story Mode or purchasable as add-ons.

While the base app only allows for sit-ups, there are two additional exercises, push-ups and squats, that can be purchased as add-ons. These expansions also come with four additional story episodes using the new exercise mode.

The sit-ups module works particularly well if you’re using a device with a sensor, though Mayu’s suggestive positioning underneath you might feel a bit embarrassing as you lift your body up and down above her.

The squats function is also interesting to see in action, with each drop to the knees giving you a good look at Mayu’s…motivators.

The app has been fully localized into English, including nearly 1,000 fully-voiced lines for story and training modes. The additional training mode voices that come with the squats expansion in particular feature some pretty painful sit-up puns based on famous video game lines that are worth a listen.

For you anime purists out there, there is also the option to play with Japanese voices and English subtitles, though you’ll miss out on some of the quirky English wordplay like with the video game parodies mentioned above.

Burn your fat with me!! is available for iOS, Android, and even Kindle Fire. The base app is normally priced at $1.99.

According to the developers, a running app featuring the same protagonist but a different love interest, as well as as a completely new, female-targeted (“otome”) app are currently in the works and are due out sometime this year. For updates and more information, check their Facebook, Twitter, or home page.

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