Like many people this year, fitness hasn’t exactly been high on my agenda due to a number of reasons. For starters I couldn’t even access my gym for several months after March, ruining all my work I’d done to get into decent cosplay shape. When gyms were reopened though? I was still hesitant to go, thanks to a free weights section inhabited by gym rats who had dumbbells for brains and decided that they didn’t need to wear a mask while packed into a small area with heaving sweaty bodies.
Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure did help for a while, until the incessant chatter of the magical Pilates ring grew on my nerves and I decided to yeet that peripheral into the atmosphere. I’m still craving that divine feeling of aching muscles and joints that you can only attain from strenuous workouts though, and Nintendo’s first sequel to Fitness Boxing is currently scratching that itch.
Just like the original game, Fitness Boxing is a hybrid of ideas. Part fisticuffs simulator and part Just Dance, the core idea of the game is about mixing up classic pugilism with a flow of rhythm that would make Prince Naseem proud. You’re on the spot, you’re keeping pace, and you’re throwing out a flurry of jabs and right straights to a particular beat of music.
As these sessions increase in intensity, so to do the moves that you’re required to do. From a tried and tested one-two combination through to uppercuts, left hooks, and weaving through danger reminiscent of a Dempsey Roll, the key here is to stay true to the beat and land those deadly blows with pinpoint accuracy.
That’s the idea at least, albeit a flawed one as the motion controls don’t always connect with the targets you see on the screen. While you’re able to easily land a combination of straights and jabs with relative accuracy, uppercuts and hooks tend to miss the mark. That makes it hard to stay within the beat, which is compounded by performance issues occasionally popping up and throwing your harmony off-balance.
Perhaps the biggest issue here is that for a game that’s all about moving in a karaoke squared circle, there just isn’t that much music to go the distance. There’s a selection of around 20 tracks to time your combos to, but the likes of YMCA, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, and more feels like a selection of music that has no place in a shadow boxing simulator.
It’s not that these songs lack the eye of the tiger, but that they’re not even decent cover versions to begin with. They’re instrumental tributes, scored with what sounds like PlayStation One era equipment. If I’m going to pretend to pummel Geoff’s face in to the tune of Venus by Bananarama, I want the original track dammit.
There is some hope on the horizon as an eShop listing hints at DLC, so the library can definitely be padded out further in the weeks and months to come. If you’re prepared to pay for it that is. It’s a pity, because I like the idea of Fitness Boxing 2. At its core it has the fundamentals locked down but its sparse selection of music highlights the lack of variety on offer here.
There are some improvements to the personalization facets of the game with regards to your trainers requiring less of a grind to customise, and you can work up a decent sweat if you’re prepared to put the effort into each swing of your punch-limbs, but right now Fitness Boxing 2 isn’t the kind of game that can last 12 rounds in the ring.
Last Updated: December 7, 2020