The phone game comes to consoles, plus a sneak peek of Lego's Lord of the Rings and Axl Rose fights for Chinese Democracy solo title for Guitar Hero franchise.
Week in Video Games: witness the fitness with Adidas miCoach
PS Move, Xbox 360 Kinect
As much as you'd probably prefer to believe otherwise, humans are about as predictable as tomorrow's weather: the bang of the Olympics starting gun is likely to have a decent percentage of us thinking, "Hmm, maybe I should start going to the gym".
The trouble is, such is our lemming-like predictability, said gyms are now no doubt packed with Usain Bolt-inspired masses in brand-new, expensive running shoes, working themselves into a sweaty lather on a treadmill and therefore not places to spend longer than five seconds.
Thankfully, help is at hand with the new Adidas miCoach on the PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect, which - entirely coincidentally - landed on shelves amid all the Olympics high jinks. Now, if you're already a bit of a fitness sort of person (perhaps unlikely if you're a regular reader of this page), you might already know miCoach as Adidas's little mobile app that turns your phone into a personal trainer. Well, the video game version does the same, but for your TV and with fancier graphics.
While the idea of following a load of exercise routines using a motion sensor might be nothing particularly new in these 21st-century times, miCoach ups the ante by featuring a decent selection of Adidas-sponsored athletes to train alongside, albeit in pixelated format. The game invites you to "train with the best", which is certainly true for the London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis, but perhaps not quite for the sprinter Tyson Gay (Bolt is, sadly, with Puma).
In any case, there is a fair stack of Adidas-sponsored - and clad - sportsmen and women to choose from, each coming with a load of movements for you to mimic (more than 400 in total), along with tips and tricks.
Celebrity-endorsed workouts are all well and good (and, after a while, a bit annoying when they're constantly popping up), but it doesn't make a game. Sadly, miCoach is let down in its movement tracking which, on the PS Move, sometimes seems sluggish, making menus (of which there are a lot) annoying to navigate. Also, the floor-based drills, such as sit-ups, become somewhat tricky as you're expected to hold the motion controller while doing them. Some of the routines even require a yoga ball and dumbbells, which you might not have.
Regular exercisers are likely to find the downtime between miCoach routines far too long, especially during the regular loading screens, which breaks up the momentum.
It's a shame, really. The game is obviously rather clever, especially if you synchronise it with miCoach hardware such as the Pacer or the mobile app to incorporate data you've accumulated away from the game. And the addition of famous faces goes far beyond the usual game endorsement. But with issues relating to motion tracking, that does get somewhat annoying, it just doesn't feel polished enough to replace an actual gym.
Anyway, if you wait a few weeks until people realise they're unlikely to be competing for medals in Rio, the gym will probably be empty.
Lego: Lord of the Rings
Warner Bros PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC
Out in October
Not a week seems to go by without news of another fun-packed Lego adventure heading our way. This time, we bring you Lego: Lord of the Rings (next week it's "Lego: A Separation"), based on Peter Jackson's triumphant trilogy, but all squeezed into one game with unmistakable Lego tongue-in-cheek silliness. Now, while LotR, much like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Indiana Jones, seems ripe for jumpy, coin-collecting Lego lunacy, what's interesting is that, according to a report, it will feature characters who didn't actually appear in the films. This could mean we finally get Tom Bombadil, so cruelly omitted by Jackson. Or, perhaps, it's Spider-Man. Anything goes with Lego.
Axl Rose's thorny issue
Guitar Hero might be a distant memory (looks longingly at dusty plastic axe in corner of room), but for one angry rocker it's still something of a sore point. According to a new report, Axl Rose - who in 2010 sued Activision over rights issues relating to 2007's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - claims he was offered his own dedicated Guitar Hero game featuring music from the Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy to settle the original dispute. Promises and legal issues to one side, it's probably a good job the game never materialised. Chinese Democracy was, by most people's standards, pretty shoddy.