I've never had a game call me 'fatty' before.
Ordinarily, this insult would fast-track a game to the bin, but something about Burn Your Fat With Me persuades you to keep playing.
Perhaps it's the game's approach to motivation. Instead employing a burly personal trainer to bark commands at you, it uses a cute (Moé) anime character to cheer you on with a signature brand of super-cute 'Moévation'.Where does she get those gym clothes from?
At its heart, Burn Your Fat With Me is a traditional Japanese 'visual novel' that places a greater focus on storytelling than it does on gameplay. Your main character is a high school student with a few extra pounds and no real motivation to lose them.
This changes when a childhood friend, Mayu, happens across your doughy character napping in the school's courtyard and encourages him to start doing sit-ups for the sake of fitness.
In the flash of an eye, Mayu changes from her school uniform and into her gym clothes and explains the basics of how to do sit-ups. At this point, the game encourages you - the player - to also hit the floor and work on toning your core.
Progress is measured by tapping the screen at the apex of a sit-up, and while you can tap without actually doing a workout, doing so creates an unwelcome separation between player and character.
Besides, Mayu is being nice enough to hold your feet down and cheer you on. The least you can do is to try a few sit-ups for her.A tale of two genres
If you're unfamiliar with visual novels, you might be disappointed with your lack of control over the game's plot as you'll do little more than watch the events of the game unfold.
To balance this passive style of gameplay, Burn Your Fat With Me uses its exercise component to advance the main love story of the game.
As you progress through the demanding sit-up regimens, you unlock new chapters of the story of your evolving relationship with Mayu. Quickly, they progress past the point of being friends and a deeper relationship forms.
Soon enough you'll find yourself, ahem, 'moétivated' to continue your workout routine so you can learn more about what's happening between the characters.
To add a bit of variety to the exercise portions of the game, Burn Your Fat With Me has two additional expansion packs available for purchase through hard currency or via 'Moévation Points' earned in the game's timed Training mode.
One of these expansions offers a push-up challenge that provides a welcome change from the pain of sit-ups. While this module adds to the appeal of the game, Mayu's positioning (lying coquettishly on the floor beneath you) might be a little difficult to explain to anyone who should interrupt your workout.
Drop and give me twenty
After a week of Moévation, I sit at my desk with sore abdominal muscles and a clear appreciation for the story of Burn Your Fat With Me.
While I'm still not prepared to forgive the game for calling me a fatty, I found it to be an enjoyable and interesting foray into the world of interactive fiction, and a unique proposition in the world of mobile gaming.