At its core, My Exercise is a game about a chubby boy doing sit-ups with his dog. Specifically, into his dog. With his little round legs anchored firmly beneath his dog’s tummy, chubby boy rises and falls in time with your space bar, smooshing his little chubby cheeks into the soft, plush fur of his animal companion. Sometimes he’ll give it a good old nuzzle. Other times it’s straight back to the business of sit-ups. The dog is pretty nonplussed by the whole affair, but other animals in this strange yellow void quickly catch on and become mesmerised, joining him one by one as they, too, embark on their own rhythmic journey to cheer chubby boy on. It’s weird, but brilliant fun.
Created by animated film maker Atsushi Wada and developers New Deer and Playables (the latter behind the folks behind the terribly unnerving Kids), My Exercise is a surreal, comic gem. All you have to do is tap and hold space bar to make chubby boy go up and down, but it’s what plays out in front of you that makes My Exercise such a moreish experience. It starts off relatively mundane. At 10 sit-ups, you’re joined by a small girl, presumably a friend of a chubby boy, who claps and encourages you every time you complete a successful sit-up. But then a walrus slides into view at 20 sit-ups, and before long you’ve got monkeys, more dogs, turtles, sheep and bears all crowding round you and moving in time with your space bar presses.
You never know what’s coming next, and that’s a big part of My Exercise’s charm. You carry on sitting up just for the thrill of seeing what other mad nonsense will appear onscreen at the next milestone, and trust me, it never disappoints. But My Exercise isn’t just a passive experience. Oh no. You can also twist and bend the rules of this game to even greater comic effect. To give just one example, if you break the cycle of sit-ups and lie still for too long, chubby boy and his dog will melt into an amorphous blob of flesh, and you can only regain your former human and dog-like shape by rapidly tapping the space bar.
Likewise, if you smoosh your face into your dog pal for too long, your mind will meld with that of your pet pooch. You enter “dog vision”, and for a brief moment you can see through the eyes of your trusty shiba inu as he stares endlessly into the yellow void, the horizon rocking gently back and forth as chubby boy continues to collide with your furry body in his quest for rock hard abs.
It’s chucklesome stuff, and by the time I’d finished my first ‘set’, I felt immediately uplifted. I’ve arguably spoiled too much already, but I’d heartily recommend you give it a go yourself. It’s only £2 / $3 on Steam at the moment, and that is well worth some good old-fashioned chortles.