Because what motivates every girl to lose weight is, apparently, fat-shaming! (Hint: Not really.)
Burn Your Fat With Me is an Android and iOS app created by Creative Freaks, a Japanese gamification company with clearly zero girls testing their “for Girls” apps.
Known as, and hereon addressed as BYFWM for short, this game is basically an Otome Visual Novel that is supposed to encourage you to work out so you can shake off those love handles and get fit. Does it accomplish that, though? And does it work as a visual novel on the side?
When I saw this on the app store I figured, why not? I want to get fit, I like visual novels, how bad can it be? It seems to be pretty popular in Japan, there must be a reason why.
And it’s not that bad, but it’s also not good. I’d call it more of a great idea with rather poor execution as far as choice of wording went, because fat shaming, my dears, does not work for everyone and should NOT be used as a way to get you to lose weight.
The story isn’t great – you’re basically going through various guys that are “dream guys” that you will eventually need to make choices on to end up dating one. And yet, while they’re cute and dreamy, they’re also totally insulting towards you.
I’m not even kidding. The first character greets you with a very friendly (this is sarcasm, if it doesn’t register) call of “fattie” and shames you into losing weight. Huh? Wait, was this supposed to motivate me or make me want to slap someone?
Creative Freaks call this “moétivation.” (Because they’re “moe” and “motivating”, get it?) I call it “you call me fat once more you gonna regret it.”
Other than the poor choice of dialog and manner of approach to weight loss, the game isn’t bad. It’s a typical Otome VN, with typical options and a poor storyline – which no one cares because you’re there for the dating aspect of.
Adding the fitness aspect, the story guides you through either a certain amount of sit ups, squats or push-ups (in real life, too), or a certain amount of them in a set amount of time. Unfortunately, this is terribly easy to cheat on because all you have to do to make it count is tap the screen. Each tap corresponds to one full action (so, one full sit up, or squat), and the only cheat-prevention they have is a notice for you not to cheat because “you’re tapping too fast.”
You can’t advance chapters if you don’t meant a certain amount of these actions; this forces you to go into “practice” mode, where you can pick if you want time limits or not and, as long as you’ve unlocked it, which type of exercise you want to do. This gives you points (although in my experience so far it’s a weird way of counting them, as not all count all the time) which in turn unlock the new chapters. I suppose this is the part that makes you motivated, except you could just as well sit there and tap the screen doing nothing if you were really motivated for the story but not for the fitness.
I somehow don’t think that’s what they were going for, though. 😉 Meanwhile, you’ll still get insulted by the jerks- I mean, characters, regardless.
Onto the technical parts: the graphics are super lovely, the guys are indeed pretty cute when they’re not opening their mouths to insult you, and the voices are professional and so, so nice. You can choose between English and Japanese, and, of course (as with many other free apps), you can purchase additional voice packs and outfits for the characters to wear.
Now, I reviewed the app for girls because that is the one I downloaded (you know, me being a girl and all), but they have an app “for guys”, too (just look for BYFWM without the “for girls”), in which you can date girls. While I haven’t downloaded it, I have seen some of it and the app actually seems a lot nicer and encouraging for the guys. Hmmm. I wonder why (this is also sarcasm).
Overall, I really liked the idea of the game and the way it worked, and was ready to give it a high score even though the cheat prevention was quite weak. What really makes it lose lots of stars is the approach to weight loss via shaming, because that, Creative Freaks, is how eating disorders are born.
Recommended only if berating and shaming are encouraging to you rather than triggering, otherwise steer clear.