Review

Fitness Boxing 2 review: a pop-drenched indoor exercise opportunity

2/5

Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise will definitely work up a serious sweat if you're prepared to really get into it.

Fitness Boxing 2 review
Fitness Boxing 2 plays a bit like Dance Dance Revolution for your hands instead of your feet Credit: Nintendo

I must admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Nintendo’s fitness games. From Wii Fit to Ring Fit Adventure to the mini-game Jump Rope Challenge, they tend to be broadly good fun and if nothing else they do provide an easy means of getting off the sofa in these locked down times. 

That being said, I will admit that Fitness Boxing passed me by entirely when it launched on Nintendo Switch two years ago. I was honestly a bit surprised when I heard Nintendo was releasing Fitness Boxing 2, or to give it’s full title: Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise. But I’m up for anything, so I dove in and gave it a go. 

Odd as it might sound, the closest thing I can compare it to is probably the old Dance Dance Revolution arcade games. While those have you jump around and moving your legs to cheesy pop tunes, Fitness Boxing 2 does the same for your arms. 

You start with a few basic moves like jabs, uppercuts, and hooks before moving on to all sorts of athletic activities like blocks and ducks, and you end up jumping and weaving around your living room like Muhammed Ali. It gave me some flashbacks to being 13 years old and going rather too hard on Wii Sports Boxing. 

It's a brightly lit neon utopia in Fitness Boxing 2; probably a far cry from your drab real life gym Credit: Nintendo 

I say that as both a positive and a negative. Certainly you quickly work up a sweat when playing, which is obviously the whole point and so I’ve no qualms with recommending this as a way to boost your activity. The trouble is that as with Wii Sports Boxing, Fitness Boxing 2 isn’t that great at actually registering your movements properly. 

That’s fine when you’re doing quite basic stuff like straights and jabs, but once you’re doing hooks and uppercuts you quickly get the sense that the technology in the Switch’s Joy Con controllers just isn’t up to the job that’s being asked of it (that’s the only control method by the way, so stop reading now if you have a Switch Lite). After a while I did work out the knack to it, but by that point I was already quite frustrated with the experience. Maybe if you were a diehard fan of the original you’d pick it up more easily, but for newbies, it’s annoying. 

You can choose either Daily Training which offers you a set work-out which gives you something new each time to work on different areas, and Free Training which allows you to pick a workout, intensity level, music, and what work-out studio your virtual avatar finds themselves in. 

The latter category is worth talking about only to say that this game isn’t exactly a looker. The fitness instructors who train you look like they fell straight out of The Sims 2. There’s something deeply uncanny about them in a way video-game characters have stopped being in recent years. The backgrounds too could definitely have popped out of the aforementioned dancing game. It’s a shame because perhaps if the game had gone for a more cartoon-y aesthetic it would have felt a bit less cringey. 

Perhaps if the art-style had emulated the box art, it might have been an improvement...  Credit: Nintendo

The music which accompanies your boxing feels like the studio has committed some kind of corporate espionage to break into my personal Spotify Wrapped breakdown, but I thought the tunes were a blast. Break Free by Arianna Grande, What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction, Venus by Bananarama? Yes please!

The rest of the 23 tracks included are more of the same brand of cheesy pop (including three original songs) and honestly, if this kind of thing isn’t your bag then there’s really no sense in buying Fitness Boxing 2 because there’s absolutely no variety in genres to be found. By the same merit, if you really love these songs you may also be annoyed by the fact that they’re all unlicensed covers. 

I did notice an eShop icon in the game’s menu which currently doesn’t work. Could more tracks be on the way? Fingers crossed because the last game’s soundtrack contains some of my personal favourite songs of all time (don’t judge me) so if Nintendo want to release that as DLC, I would not be averse to it. 

On top of that there’s unlockable achievements and loads of extra outfits to unlock that’ll keep you busy for a while. 

That said, I’m not sure about Fitness Boxing 2’s sticking power. While I did work up a sweat and had a bit of fun bopping around to the tunes, I’ll confess the game didn’t exactly draw me back in once I put it down the first time. Had I not been reviewing it, I wonder whether I would really have put in much more than an hour with it. 

With something like Ring Fit Adventure, the variety of exercises and madcap storyline drew me back in time and time again, and in comparison Fitness Boxing 2 just feels flat. Even the budget RRP of £39.99 feels far too much to pay. Given that we’re all mostly housebound at the moment, it feels like there might have been an opportunity to do something more interesting with the concept.