Since I can’t really exercise at the moment, it’s the perfect time to talk about it!
Nearly a month ago now I severely sprained my ankle walking down stairs. By severe I mean I’ve been in a walking boot for three weeks and am just transitioning into a brace because I managed to tear some ligaments and damage a nerve. When I get injured, I go all in. That being said, I’ve spent the last three weeks basically in bed or on the couch and completely unable to work out with the exception of abs and, let’s face it, there are only so many crunches and sit ups that one person can do. I’m used to exercising at least an hour every day between running, dancing, and cross-training. I used to cross-train at the gym up until the gym closed because of COVID which left me in need of other options which appeared in the best form: gaming.
The interactive nature of fitness games creates the ability to change up not only the gaming experience but the experience of working out as well. It is so easy to change between games and the way that I exercise using my Switch that it honestly keeps my motivation up. Most of these games have a decent variety in the games themselves but the different games also vary quite a bit. I still have fond memories of working out in middle school via Wii Fit and the balance board. It’s only understandable that as technology has evolved in the years since, that the games have too. The Wii did a good job of getting people moving but there were only so many ways that it could work. Many of those original games are still going strong but the variety of games has grown quite a bit. We are no longer limited to just Wii Fit, Just Dance, and Dance, Dance Revolution (which I’m ashamed to admit, as a dancer, I completely sucked at). All of the fitness games I play regularly provide wonderful workouts. They are entertaining and I often don’t realize how long I’ve actually been working out until I’m done with a set workout or the game tells me how long I’ve been going.
Of course, being unable to exercise just has me thinking about exercising even more which leads to the question: which fitness game do I pull up first once I can get back into it? This is where we get into the ranked portion of this post. In an effort to decide which game was my favorite, I was weighing the pros and cons of them and trying to determine how the four games I use regularly ranked.
The games I’ll be getting into today are Ring Fit Adventure, Fitness Boxing 2, Fitness Boxing, and Zumba: Burnt it Up. I will also be including a brief review on Yoga Master, but I will not be including it in the rankings for reasons that I will explain once we get there.
1: Ring Fit Adventure
Pricing: $79.99 (US) or $99.99 (CAD); physical editions only
First on the list is Ring Fit Adventure. The primary reason for this honestly is the story itself. The lack of personalization options isn’t my favorite, but that is a really minor detail in the grand scheme of the game. Right away, you get thrown into the story and meet the Ring who becomes your assistant and trainer throughout the game. It certainly keeps you moving as you have to run or squat to move along the track and then perform various exercises to defeat the monsters you encounter along the way. These exercises range in intensity and vary quite a bit in how they are performed which provides a really fantastic whole body workout. You get yoga-inspired exercises as well as exercises that target the abs, arms, and legs. As someone who tends to get randomly injured a fair bit, I also really love that I can turn certain muscle groups on and off depending on how I’m feeling that day. Another fantastic feature is the Quiet Mode where you can squat to move along the track instead of running in place. This is ideal especially for people who exercise later at night or maybe have young kids and can only exercise while they’re napping. There are honestly a lot of situations where this mode could be helpful.
As you progress through the game, you unlock more and more exercises which is also a great feature. It gives you something else to work towards with the added benefit of not being overwhelming at first with the sheer amount of possible exercises. The monster battles also get increasingly more difficult require more exercises to win. I also love that I can go back and play an easier level if I’m in the mood for a lighter workout or keep pushing forward. The fact that this game gives you a direct and active role in defeating monsters through movement is what places it at the top of my list. That and the different ways you can play. You can play through the story and push forward or replay past levels, but there are also quite a few mini games that can be accessed through the initial game menu which are all fairly fun as well. The story itself is relatively simple, but when the ultimate goal is to exercise, it works because it keeps you focused on that goal.
2: Fitness Boxing 2
Price: 49.50 (US); Demo available, can be purchased in digital or physical format.
Fitness Boxing 2 is ranked just above the original for only a couple reasons but the two really are fairly similar overall. The song choices are completely different in the two, thankfully. Both versions of the game contain a fair balance of newer and more classic, throwback-type songs. This variety likely helps to draw in a variety of players with the added benefit of the songs being different enough that they don’t start to just sound the same at a certain point. One feature that I was really excited about that also disappointed me is the ability to import data from the original Fitness Boxing game. I had hoped that this meant it would share data such as punches thrown and combos unlocked between the games when all it really meant was that it’ll share age, height, and weight information. It is a little defeating to have unlocked most of the things in the original game only to have to start completely over in the second.
That being said, this version is still higher in the list because there are more trainer options and outfits that can be unlocked for the trainers. There are also different ways to earn rewards, which is a nice bonus because you can actually see what you need to do in order to get them. It is also nice because you can choose what to unlock. In the first game, I seem to always unlock new outfits for the male trainers or even one of the female trainers that I don’t use. In the second game, I can choose what outfits to unlock first. In addition to this, the overall interface of the game has improved quite a bit. It’s a lot easier to time punches and the time bar that shows how far you are through that exercise has been moved to the top of the screen where it’s easier to watch. The addition of the score where you can see it is also an amazing and motivating addition as it provides an additional, immediate reward for hitting punches on time. The final feature that sets this edition of Fitness Boxing apart is the ability to turn off certain exercises. If I’m having a day where my hip or knee is bothering me, it’s so easy to go in and just turn off anything that requires ducking or extra twisting, like hooks, which is something that would keep me from playing the original at all if I was having an off day.
3: Fitness Boxing
Price: $49.50 (US); Demo available, can be purchased digitally and physical copies can sometimes be found cheaper at Game Stop or possibly used game stores.
Despite the things I prefer in the second version, the original Fitness Boxing is still a wonderful game and I do still play a fair bit. Minor visual detail, but I do like the outfits that can be unlocked for the trainers a little better in this game. Of course, I also like that I have more progress in this edition which gives me a little bit more variety in the songs and exercises I’m able to do. However, I know that a lot of that is probably going to be very similar in the second as I progress more. The song list is different, so I may go for one over the other depending which songs I’d rather workout to that day. As I mentioned above though, the second game does have features that have been added or updated which are what sets the two apart. I do love this game and will continue to play it. You know, once I can exercise again!
4: Zumba: Burn it Up
Price: $39.99; digital and physical versions available
Zumba: Burn it Up is another outrageously fun game that really gets you moving. I’ve done in person Zumba classes before and really loved them, especially being a dancer. I tend to work out later at night which means that I usually wouldn’t be able to make those live classes anyways so being able to do it from the comfort of my office/exercise room is a bonus. The routines are relatively easy to follow and you can set them to be either higher or lower intensity. Unfortunately, there isn’t a very large song library in the game which does mean that it can get repetitive fairly quickly. I have to admit that I haven’t actually played Zumba: Burn it Up in almost a year now. Initially it was because I had surgery to repair an old wrist injury which left me unable to hold the controller for awhile. Since then, I’ve been more focused on progressing in the games that actually show your progress and have a wider variety of features. Overall, the game is does what it says; it gets you moving and dancing. It just doesn’t necessarily have the features to hold interest for a long time because there really are only so many times that you can do the same routine to the same song before you just get bored.
Honorary Mention: Yoga Master
Price: 24.99; digital only. Different bundle and DLC options available.
I’m not entirely sure how long this game has been out on the Switch, but I initially got it in the summer of 2019. I used to do quite a bit of yoga several years ago but didn’t really have the time to go to a studio anymore and I was also recovering from a severe hip injury which just made the studio very intimidating. It was at that point that I bought this game and, at that point in time, there weren’t any DLC options or anything, it was just the base game itself. I do recall the game being relaxing and easy to follow. I recently looked the game up again and there are several different DLC options available now which all look amazing. However, I am going to refrain from purchasing them for the same reason why I haven’t actually included this game in the ranked list: I can’t really play it anymore. I haven’t played it in probably a year and a half now due to the previously mention wrist injury. I found out, actually almost exactly a year ago, that the pain I’d had in my hand since I sprained it 9 years ago was due to a fracture that was missed on x-rays and never healed. I do have to be cautious still of what I do with my hand as I have limited motion and can’t put much weight on it either which means that yoga isn’t actually something I can do. Given that, I didn’t feel it would be fair to rank this game with others that I can play, especially because I can’t include feedback on any of the DLC features or improvements that have been made to the game in the last 18 or so months.
So there you have it! These are the fitness games on the Nintendo Switch that I am aware of and have actually played. I’m not including games like Just Dance because I haven’t played them on the Switch and I also feel that they are marketed more as fun, competitive games rather than workout games. I’m hoping that more games will come out in the future! I did see that jump rope game that was available for a while, but haven’t had the chance to try it. Maybe I should go see if it’s still available… At any rate, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What do you agree or disagree with? Also, If there are any important details that I may have missed or if you know of any other games I haven’t mentioned, feel free to leave a comment or even send me a message!