If you enjoyed punching above – or below – your weight with the first release, then Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise delivers more reasons to be cheerful.
As with the first iteration, there’s no battery-guzzling Balance Board, wires to trip on or array of plastic click-on thingummies to mess about with it. Just two JoyCon controllers (or four if you play with a friend). Wonderfully simple – and portable, too!
More a lifestyle accompaniment than a gaming experience, the intention remains clear from the title – this one’s to help you tone up and keep some semblance of fitness. These goals can be accomplished in several ways, from a daily workout that tracks your data (just enter height and weight and your Switch does the BMI thing) to just diving in and selecting from a variety of options. If you were in on the ground floor with the original Fitness Boxing, your data will carry over, too – you’ll be asked whether you wish to import it at first start-up.
It all happens – not surprisingly – via the punching and the jabbing and the ducking and the n’hey. Left and/or right indicators scroll up a bar in rhythm game style, you punch the air and Fitness Boxing registers either ‘Perfect’, ‘OK’ or ‘Miss’. We did find the rare occasion where we’d have called for an adjudicator if there was one, as hits completely failed to register. The things we do for wireless connectivity…
Want to zero in on your biceps, chest, core, legs, calves or just tune up everything? There are options for those – although we’re not sure how much sway we’d put in them. Then again, it’s probably no less accurate than some of those cowboy and cowgirl trainer types out there who rob the gullible blind (uh, we’re not saying all PTs are bad, just some of them, OK?)
Speaking of options, if certain parts of the regimes on offer aren’t your (punching) bag, or you may be carrying an injury or suchlike, there are myriad ways of tailoring the workouts to score or not score different parts of their make-up.
Have a fitness buddy? No problem, as long as you have a second set of JoyCons. You can do the same workouts together, combine to get combo chains or hit up a very simple Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots-styled ring biffo affair. This is as close as you get to any sort of game-type mechanic here, unless you count the ability to not only customise your trainer from any of nine choices – the six from the first in the series, plus three newbies (including a Karen – oops!) – but also unlock a variety of clothing items for them the further you progress.
Speaking of the trainers, they often tend to be rather robotic and uninspiring. We flipped the audio to Japanese and it was a lot more fun, as you still get English instructions onscreen.
Those who are into such things will likely be excited to learn of the addition of in-game trophies for doing pretty much anything. It’s nice to feel rewarded, isn’t it?
It all takes place to beat-infused accompaniment, with 23 muzak takes on tracks from the likes of Ariana Grande, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers (irony noted in a fitness game…), P!nk, Justin Bieber and Nicky Minaj. For those who have no idea who we just mentioned, there are also a handful of throwbacks such as songs made famous by Steppenwolf, Cyndi Lauper and Bananarama.
Much like its predecessor, Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise manages to accomplish its aim in an engaging way with a minimum of fuss. We can’t ask for much more than that. If the more expensive Ring Fit Adventure isn’t your thing, then this may be a good alternative.
Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise is available December 4 on Switch.