Fitness Boxing review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Medium: Cartridge
Players: 1-2
Online: No

Fitness Boxing for the Nintendo Switch is exactly what it sounds like. A boxing themed game that?s focused on giving players a light cardio workout, similar in some manner to Nintendo?s other, more notable entry in the world of fitness games with last generation?s Wii Fit. However, Fitness Boxing lacks the much needed variety and charm found in the Nintendo Wii title, trading in for a more streamlined approach that feels a little barebones at release. It?s also not the most accurate piece of software, from the calories burned tracking to the motion based input, which in turn makes for an unreliable piece of fitness software.

At the onset of Fitness Boxing, you?ll be introduced to the CPU trainer and the basic punching mechanics using the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons.You?ll also be tasked with inputting weight and height for personal tracking on your Switch profile. One small issue right off the bat is the lack of region specific measurement options, as I had to Google my height in cm and my weight in kg. From there you?ll be able to take on the Daily Workout, which is essentially the main mode of Fitness Boxing. You can also choose from a handful of trainers, both male and female, and customize the trainers to your liking. Every trainer has a unique voice, but most sound oddly robotic and stilted.

Daily Workouts are structured around your fitness goals. You can opt to focus on certain parts of the body, like biceps or core, or instead go for the full body workout. You can also customize the length of time for the workout, from a brisk 10 minutes to a longer, drawn out 40 minute exercise. You can opt to include stretching, which will make the workouts a bit longer, but are highly suggested and worth doing in order to save your arms, back, and chest a little unnecessary pain later on.

The general goal of Fitness Boxing is to time your punches with an on-screen meter that scrolls down the screen as music plays. It?s a rhythm game at heart, so you?ll be moving in tandem with music, and trying to line up your punches with an icon as it passes into the accepted hit markers on screen. As you tackle more and more of the Daily Workouts, you?ll start to see more varied movements incorporated into your exercises. Fitness Boxing starts off a little slow with jabs and strikes, but will eventually work in hooks, uppercuts, and body blows. It?s around this time that you?ll realize something is a bit off with the motion controls, as you get further and further away from those initial perfect marks. Hooks, in particular, can be quite frustrating, as the game will often not pick up on the movement, or register a punch while mid-swing, causing you to hit too early.

Outside of Daily Workouts, you can also try Free Training or the Two Player mode. Free Training is exactly as sounds, allowing you to attempt a workout either by fitness goal or song. There are roughly 20 songs to choose from, all generally pulled from modern, or near modern, top 40 hits. These are instrumental versions created specifically for Fitness Boxing, and they sound a bit like trumped up elevator music. Two Player mode gives you the option of just working out with another player locally (two sets of Joy-Con?s required), work together in co-op to string together combos, or go head to head and see who can get the best score. It?s not a bad idea to have a vs. or co-op mode here, but I can?t see it getting much use.

On the plus side, there are a few things about Fitness Boxing I did like. It does give you a decent light cardio workout, even if the calorie loss counter is wildly inaccurate compared to modern calorie trackers. If you?re a little out of shape, expect to huff and puff after a good 20 minutes or so. I also dig the progression calendar, which doles out the occasional reward when completing your daily workout. These rewards are clothing options for the various trainers, allowing you to customize them even more, and it gives a decent incentive for completing a workout each day. I also like the general look and feel of the menu, which is easy to navigate, and it takes almost no time to jump into whatever you?re looking to do.

However, for the asking price, I don?t think Fitness Boxing offers up enough. It?s certainly light on content, light on songs, and rarely feels great to play from a video game standpoint. Yes, you can get a little workout in, but it would be nice if the Switch would accurately track movement more consistently. I think Fitness Boxing has the opposite intended effect after you whiff 3 or 4 hooks or uppercuts due to poor motion sensitivity, which in turn leads to some dejected, frustrating moments. As it stands, I wouldn?t recommend Fitness Boxing to Switch owners, at least not without some deep discounts involved.

Note: Nintendo provided us with a Fitness Boxing Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C