Exergaming. It may be a term you’re not too familiar with, but you will have seen it or even taken part in it before. It essentially combines the activity of exercise with video games. And one of Nintendo’s latest ventures into the field is Fitness Boxing. But will it be a knockout, or will it go down with a quick one-two and be counted out?
Well, exergaming isn’t a new concept for Nintendo, you may well remember the incredibly popular Wii Fit from what seems like a lifetime ago. And it is members of the very same development team, currently at Imagineer, who have built Fitness Boxing from the ground up to make use of the Switch’s motion sensors in the console’s Joy-Con controllers.
The idea is to throw together certain punches and movements to the rhythm of a song, trying to time each one perfectly to the beat. And the song choices are great, there are a whole host of instrumental tracks from more modern tunes like Party Rock Anthem, to some classics like I’m in the Mood for Dancing. But no matter what you’re working out to, they all help keep you feel upbeat when working out.
But Fitness Boxing is much more than just a rhythm-based game. It’s designed to give you a workout that will help you get/keep fit and burn some calories so you don’t feel guilty about that brownie you ate last night. Plus, it also tracks your data so you can see what progress you make in terms of weight loss, calories burned each day and how your BMI is changing.
When you first start up Fitness Boxing, you get given a small introduction to the game. It teaches you your basic stance and a couple of different punches. Once complete, it then allows you to explore the game a little more with different modes like free training, and even has some multiplayer options on there too for a bit of fun.
Once you’ve completed your first day, it will then ask you the following day to set up some information so it can track your progress. Insert your height and weight, and it will chart these on a graph and calculate your BMI. Whilst mine was high being a big guy, it was nice to see I wasn’t entirely off the chart, seeing some offensive message like “to be continued…”.
You can then visit Fitness Boxing each day to do a daily workout. Which you set up for what you’re looking to get out of the game. Want to work on purely your arms? That’s fine. Core? They’ve got that covered. Need a full-body workout like me? Yep, they have that too. Just select what you want and how long you’d like your daily workout to last for, and it’ll soon put a program together for you, which is taught by one of the in-game trainers, of which there are six to choose from.
You start out with Lin, she’s the small one third from the left below. But you can switch it up whenever you like. Sadly, each instructor is the same in terms of content, it’s only really their appearance and voice that changes. It would be cool to see each trainer offering a little variety in how they approach workouts. The positive thing though is they are all customisable. From hair colour, skin tone and even their outfits.
You’ll be stuck with basic stuff at first, but the more you play Fitness Boxing, the more you’ll unlock. Some content is unlocked through logging in and doing so many workouts, but you can unlock other content too such as songs and different routines. These are made available by collecting stars, which are awarded based on your performance in your workouts. The better you do, the more stars you collect.
Out of all of the content you can unlock though, it’s the new routines I enjoy the most in Fitness Boxing. It keeps the game fresh by adding new movements and patterns so the game doesn’t feel stagnant. It always feels fresh and keeps things interesting. You go from working on basic punch combinations to dodging, walking and throwing punches to certain areas of the body. Each exercise working out a different part of your body.
One issue I did have was not all movements were picked up. For the most part, it was fine. I was able to land the majority of my throws perfectly. However, some punches it would pick up early, some late or not at all. Especially when working on stepping forward and backwards. Stepping forwards was normally fine. But stepping back just seemed terrible. I ended up having to try and wave my hands around to see if anything would work to register it. This is the only major let down for Fitness Boxing though.
The problem is these issues then impact your score, as the more you miss or mistime, the lower your score will be. On one particular workout, I must’ve missed about 25 activities which left me on a one-star performance, and I was definitely making the movements. The puddle of sweat I had on the floor confirmed it. Which does mean that progress can be inaccurate as it won’t calculate accurately calories burnt for example.
Despite the poor response from the Joy-Cons, I knew in my mind I was getting the job done, and so took some of my readings with a pinch of salt. And because I wasn’t taking them too seriously, I found myself having a whole lot of fun playing Fitness Boxing. In fact, it has been 3 weeks now, and I’m seeing results. I lost 2kg in the first week, although have since put some back on, but I tend to fluctuate anyway. However, I have noticeably lost weight around my face and arms. And my fitness is definitely on the up.
Even the multiplayer modes are great to work up a sweat in Fitness Boxing. You can battle it out in a rhythm-based fight against opponents, like a friendly version of Rock’em Sock’em Robots. It’s these kinds of games that actually encourage my competitive nature to play more. It’s why I loved the Wii Fit, beating everyone’s scores. Plus I find normal exercise boring. That and I don’t like working out in front of people. So with lockdown, this is ideal, it’s great to do indoors, and I don’t have to see anyone.
Add to that Fitness Boxing is much cheaper than paying to go to a gym all year, so you won’t be wasting money when you join for a New Year’s Resolution and never go. You can get a physical edition of the game for around £54.99 on Amazon, but it is significantly cheaper to get a download code, currently only £33.49 over at CDKeys. And with a mere 1042.00 MB download size, it’s definitely worth investing in digital. But if you’re unsure if it’ll be worth it, you can download a demo from the eStore.
Fitness Boxing overall thoughts
Fitness Boxing is a whole bunch of fun. It’s a fresh fun game that keeps adapting the more you play it. Throwing up new stuff all the time and rotating exercises so things don’t get repetitive or stale. The music will keep you bopping to the beat and you’ll soon feel your fitness increase and body toning up. It may not give you a variety of games like Wii Fit but still gives you a full-body workout. If the kinks with the motion sensors could be improved to more accurately pick up movements, it’d be better and offer more accurate reporting of data, but as long as you know you’ve done it, it’s no big issue.
Fitness Boxing is developed by Imagineer for the Nintendo Switch and is available now both in physical and digital versions. You can find more information on the official Nintendo website HERE. And if you decide to check it out, even if it’s just the demo, whilst you wait for it to arrive or download you can read some more of our game reviews by clicking HERE.