Game Title: Fitness Boxing
Company: Imagineer, Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital Download
Battery Life: 3 – 4.5 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 999 MB

Fitness games are a pretty rare breed when it comes to handhelds. Portability isn’t exactly a big venue for games based around exercise and fitness, though getting out and about does kind of fit with the idea of staying in shape.

It could be argued that the Just Dance series are fitness-based games, but we haven’t really seen a game focused solely on fitness outside of games like JD that have motion-heavy controls that just so happen to have fitness that happens when you play them.

Some people expect a Wii Fit Deluxe (or Switch Fit) for that. Nintendo has brought us something, but not with the creepy living mannequin that is the Wii Fit Trainer, but something different and new. Based around Boxing and anime-inspired instructors, here is my review of Fitness Boxing for the Nintendo Switch!

Gameplay

fitness 4 - ui

Fitness Boxing is a bit of a cross between an exercise tool and a rhythm/music game. Whenever you go through exercises, you’ll take part in a music game that has you going through boxing stances and maneuvers to make all of the right hits in said rhythm game.

When you play this game, you really need the mindset that this isn’t so much a game but a tool for exercise. A digital fitness instructor, if you will. This is something meant to help you do a workout every day for exercise, rather than something to power through to unlock everything within a week or so. If you try, you’re going to be in a lot of pain (as I am in as I write this from trying to unlock as much as I could within a week for this review).

When you first boot up the game, data input is the biggest thing it asks for. You put your BMI data in so it can properly assign you daily workouts and determine calorie burn. You also input data for how you wish for your daily workout to be set up in terms of length and what body parts you wish the workouts to focus on (like Biceps, Core, Calves, etc). Do note that all of this can be modified at any point and the game even suggests you constantly check your BMI data and update it on a regular basis.

fitness 3 - goals

Now, let’s talk progression in a game sense. You’ve got a Daily Objective to do in the form of your Daily Workout. Outside of that, you can dive into Single Player and Local Multiplayer to do workout to songs and workout types to unlock new songs and workout types. You’ve also got stretch goals you can meet to unlock new outfits and accessories for the in-game instructors.

On the topic of that, you’ve got 6 anime-inspired instructors in the game that help you learn and do all of the workouts. There are 4 female and 2 male instructors and they are completely customizeable with outfits and accessories as well as the colors of their eyes, hair, and skin tone. As I said above, new outfits can be unlocked for them by hitting stretch goals, like throwing xx number of punches or completing xx numbers of workouts or Daily Exercises.

When you get into actual gameplay, it’s a pretty simple rhythm game. You get yourself into a basic boxing stance (both orthodox and southpaw stances are used in all exercises), and throw punches when symbols fly across the screen to be the music game’s inputs for making hits. The punches can vary from simple jabs and straights to more technical moves like dodging and blocking. The more exercises you complete, the more you unlock and the simple jab combos can easily turn into very complex punch + dodge + Uppercut, etc combos.

fitness 2 - gameplay rhythm

The great thing about this is the fact that it’s actually a really good workout. As long as you do everything you’re told (punching as well as doing all of the twists and leg movements to stay in rhythm ie NOT doing punches while lazily sitting on your couch), you’re going to feel the burn, even in the lighter 10-minute workouts. Of course, depending on your own health, you can set every exercise to light or heavy emphasis to be able to work out according to your own needs.

This leads the game to be a lot of fun while also helping you work out at the same time. I, personally, am always interested in exercise, but rarely can keep myself committed to doing it with an exercise bike or total gym. But when I play this, it feels like I’m enjoying a rhythm game that just happens to also burn some calories and keep me working to getting into better shape. I love that aspect because it doesn’t feel like I’m “working” per say.

In terms of content and length, it’s really hard to gauge this game because it’s not meant to be powered through, but rather have you do an exercise a day and unlock new songs, workouts, and cosmetics over time. If I had to put a number to it, then I’d say this. There are around 20 songs and around 25-30 different workout types. With one workout per unlock and the shorter workouts being around 5-12 minutes in length, I’d say you -could- unlock all songs and routines after around 5 hours of play (which would equate to around a month of playing if you just stick with the once-a-day daily workout idea that the game suggests.

Controls

This game is based off of Joy-Con Motion Controls. As such, it cannot be played in handheld mode or with a controller. It can only be played with the two Joy-Cons synced up together.

The game is played very simply. You wrap your hand around each Joy-Con in fist-like formations and you punch them forward for all of your punches in-game. The Joy-Cons register inputs based on how they move and that’s how hits register in the game.

I will applaude the developers for this, as the input recognition is done extremely well. There’s no lag between motions being registered in-game and it does a great job of registering direction, like the Joy-Cons moving down during a dodge or forward during a punch.

Presentation

fitness 5 - presy

Graphically, this game looks good. All of the instructors have a lot of detail to them. The problem with presentation is with the actual voice-acting. Many of the voices sound very robotic at times. Lin, the default instructor, has quite a few lines where it sounds like English isn’t her native language or wasn’t recording her voice very smoothly. Some voices do sound better than others, but each of them has one or two lines that sound strange and robotic like this as they instruct you during each workout.

It’s not a huge problem, as this is just a line or two among dozens, but there is an option to mute instructors if it ever does become a big problem.

Performance I have no complaints about. I have seen a couple frame drops since starting the game, but that’s only twice across about 5-10 hours of gameplay. It never drops enough to cause problems.

Battery Life

Considering a heavy part of this game’s marketing involves taking it with you for working out on the go, I was expecting some pretty nice Battery Life. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 49 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 52 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 33 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 38 minutes

Ask and you shall receive. These are some really nice Battery Stats.

In conclusion, Fitness Boxing is a fun way to use gaming to help you stay in shape. On the downside, the voice-acting isn’t nearly as good as it ought to be and there are some rare frame drops during gameplay, but this is a great tool to help fans of rhythm games and dressing up anime-like characters in outfits and accessories maintain a daily exercise routine that is fun to play and is hard on your body, as any workout should be.

Final Score: 8.5/10