Video games have often ventured into more proactive activities than your usual escapism. Nintendo has been especially determined to maximize the potential that can be found in fitness-focused titles. The Wii’s motion-controlled nature and the balance board are just some examples of what the Japanese giant has done to encourage gamers to get up from their comfort zone. The results, on the whole, have been decent, with Ring Fit Adventure as recent proof that getting fit at home doesn’t need to feel like a grind.
In 2018, Nintendo launched Fitness Boxing, a game that aimed to give your muscles a regular massage in the same way that Brain Training flexes the cranium. Now, a sequel has arrived with Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise. Aside from some quality of life improvements and a fresh set of songs, it’s largely the same game.
Rhythm and flow
The core gameplay is rhythm action split into exercises. Each one uses a variety of boxing techniques to get your feet moving to the music while your arms are timing punches and blocks. You’ll also find yourself ducking and weaving to help you stretch out those back and knee muscles, with intervals and warm-ups/cool downs to minimize unnecessary injury.
The game works in a similar way to fitness tools found on various mobile apps. Using some basic information about you, it can track your progress and present tailored workouts to assist you in your journey to improve your metabolic health. With estimated calorie burns and a calculated fitness age based on performance, the game does a reasonable job of keeping you informed of your improvement, even if BMI ratings that the game utilizes can be a misleading measurement of health.
Burning desire… to burn calories
Your mileage on Fitness Boxing 2 is going to vary based on two things.
First, the rhythm action works very well with punching and rolling hit detection, even in fairly enclosed spaces during my testing, and there are plenty of variable exercises to cut your teeth with. But it is exactly as the game suggests. If you enjoy boxing or boxercise, you will almost certainly have fun with the game’s mix of timed beats and workout routines, but for those wanting a little variety, there’s not much else to it.
Second is your determination to get healthy. Like any reputable training regime, there’s no quick fix here. You need to return to it consistently to see results, and it will take time. However, the game somewhat undermines its efforts by not emphasizing muscle engagement as much as it should, and explanations on how each routine improves target areas are spread thin. If it leads to slow results, the motivation to continue is going to be much tougher to sustain.
Then there’s the price. Asking $50 for a fitness tracking system attached to an accurate but fairly simple rhythm action game feels steep, especially when the licensed tracks included are instrumental remixes with only a passing resemblance. The game makes getting started very easy, but is it really worth the price over the many free mobile apps that perform the same function? Ultimately that’s for you to decide, but to me, it’s a hard sell.
Fitness Boxing 2 is enjoyable in the right hands, with a neat mix of beats and jabs that present a fun way of beginning your road to fitness. The scheduling features help you to stay focused on a workout plan, and the routines are intense enough to feel the burn. It’s an excellent gateway to more advanced training, such as gym work or even actual boxing.
But it’s hard to recommend it solely as a tool for tracking your progress. There are plenty of mobile apps that can perform that job equally efficiently for free, and the game’s unlockable outfits and achievements do not add enough value by comparison, particularly if you own the original game.
If you’re looking for something to get you moving again, Fitness Boxing 2 can do the job. What it does, it does very well. Just make sure that you’re ready for the commitment.
6.5 / 10
|+||Simple, but fun rhythm action|
|+||Boxing motion controls work well, even in confined spaces|
|+||Progress tracking is made simple|
|–||Remixed music tracks are limited and add little|
|–||Represents poor value for money, especially if you own the first game|