Which Switch Fitness Game Should You Buy?

The Nintendo Switch has a few different fitness software choices, with Just Dance, Fit Boxing and RingFit Adventure (as well as Zumba but as I don’t have that I won’t be talking about it).  Given the habit of New Year’s Resolutions you might wonder which is right for you?

Just Dance

First is Just Dance which has yearly iterations. It’s mostly a party game, where input is detected by one joy-con or a smartphone with connected app. Following the pictograph instructions to perform the dance, trying to get the highest score. Just Dance is for one to four players, provided anyone else is willing to play it with you.  For fitness purposes it is almost entirely cardio, though depending how unfit you are it might work your leg muscles too.

On the Just Dance games available on Switch you can select Sweat mode. This will track the time you have left on a song, and all the calories estimated to have been spent during your session, unless the server disconnects again and it loses track. You can also set playlists to lessen the time between dances. Some dance have extreme versions to be more of a workout than others. You do need a fair bit of space for this game as you’ll need to move around for some songs.

With yearly iterations it comes at the cheapest although there is a subscription service. This enables you to play online with a pool of other players, but they always pick the worst songs. It does unlock a huge catalogue of more songs and some exclusive ones. This streams them rather than download, so if you don’t have amazing internet then it’s really iffy. As it might take half a minute to load a song, then kick you out of it at the last ten seconds, while also pausing here and there.

If you buy a new copy of a Just Dance game you usually get a free month of Just Dance Unlimited, but in case it doesn’t work well make sure to pick one with the best songs on a cart, personally I think 2018 has the most for me, and I regret picking up the new one. Elena reviewed the 2018 version which you can read here.

Fitness Boxing

Fitness Boxing is a boxing game. You need to use two joy-cons at a time. This obviously entails rhythm boxing, but can still provide a good workout for your muscles, assuming you aren’t already buff. While not developed by Nintendo it has a similar vibe to WiiFit, having a Fitness Age, Calendar and progress tracking. After tutorials you set a fitness goal that includes the duration which then gives you a daily workout to do. Outside of that you can also do Free Training for an additional workout, or to stretch (the stretch routine remains the same although you can include it in your daily training).

The gameplay is rhythm boxing to instrumental pop songs. You’ll be taught jabs, hooks and so on, with some dodging as well. These will appear down screen for each hand, and need to be done at the right time just like a rhythm game. The first few days you’ll only have a couple of different moves but it progresses more as you go, you can go to basic training at any time if you need to relearn the moves. Like all the others it has a calorie estimate, but also keeps track of how many punches you threw. In Free Training there are two player modes, either co-op or competitive. These allow you to use a single joy-con.

Fitness Boxing has trainer customisation, as there are six different instructors in game including two males. These are voiced and you can unlock new clothing to give them. I like Sophie, definitely not just because I can make her look like Elsa.

RingFit Adventure

Lastly the latest one is RingFit Adventure. This uses two peripherals, the Ring-Con with one joy-con, and the leg strap with another. This is a fitness RPG. The most basic way to describe gameplay in adventure mode is that you jog on the spot, which moves your character on a set path, and using the ring con pressing in or pulling to gain new items. Certain obstacles may require high knees, or more intense presses. Running into monsters will start a battle, which you can choose from your pool of moves to attack with. These can be yoga, cardio or muscle attacks. Tipp shows you the correct pose and you perform it the required number of times to attack. The better you do it the more damage it will deal. You also try to take less damage by pressing the ring-con into your stomach to block.

There are other elements the further you progress such as making healing items, which is why you need to collect ingredients on your journey. While your body gets a workout, at the end of a level your character gains experience points. This makes you strong enough to fight tougher monsters, leveling up may also unlock new moves for you which you can exchange into your move pool.

The story mode is quite long, especially depending on how long you workout in one day it could take quite a while. It has trainer customization, which affects your battle stats. In worlds other than levels, and shops there are also boss fights and sometimes the mini-games. Further on in levels there is more than just jogging but this is a comparison not a review so I’ll stop. Though another neat feature is at the end of a level you can check your heart rate with the IR camera to estimate your level of activity. Before starting you can choose to do a dynamic stretch, and at the end static stretches of which the latter will change depending on what kind of moves you focused on during your session.

Outside of Adventure Mode you have a few different mini games, such as squatting to make pottery. As well as simple moves like simply trying to push in the ringcon as many times as you can in the time limit. You can also keep it to straight workouts by targeted area. The different exercises can be made into a custom set including stretching, though there’s some interruption between different parts. There’s also an idle mode that uses the ring-con, so while your Switch is in sleep mode you can pull or push the ring con and when you reconnect it will add those points.

It has a variety of fitness levels, so even though my little sister answered the quiz the same as me, she was a few levels below me due to age. This affects how hard and how many repetitions a move needs. The game also allows you to adjust the difficulty if you felt it was too hard, or was getting too easy. The Ring-Con itself is pretty hardy, and you might exercise some arm muscles you haven’t noticed before.

The main detraction from this game are the leg strap issue, as it constantly rode down for me. The only way I can alleviate this is by hitching it really high up. This means it can’t detect my high knees terribly well. In Story mode with all the blah blah talking they do you can spend fifty minutes to only have worked out for twenty.  It is also a solitary experience, though advertising suggests you can pass the ring-con around for mini-games. RingFit demands a lot of space, and perhaps a yoga mat as some moves involve sitting on the floor. I have gone against its advice of not using a hard floor and I wouldn’t suggest doing so.

Fit it All Up!

Finally a summary of all three choices.

  • Just Dance is a dancing game, that can provide a cardio workout as long as you are looking for it. Which allows for four players at one time. It is the cheapest option, as you can pick up 2018, 2019 or 2020. Though you can increase the price with a Just Dance Unlimited subscription. You can download demos for different versions from the e-shop but that will just be one song.
  • Fitness Boxing is a rhythm boxing game that tracks your efforts and rewards it with some trainer customisation. You can tailor your workout for both needs and time. It is slightly less than a full price Switch game. I can definitely recommend this one and you can workout with a significant other or grandmother if you choose. There is a demo on the e-shop, so give it a shot!
  • RingFit Adventure is a fitness RPG that combines cardio and body weight workout. There’s a full story mode to encourage you, although it can be time draining. It has options and you can keep it straight to the workout, but that might take out the fun. It’s the most expensive option, the least travel friendly and there is no simultaneous multiplayer option. I think currently depending on your region it might still be hard to get your hands on. Obviously there is no demo.

Clearly the best choice is up to you, your budget and what you value. I’d definitely recommend Fitness Boxing or RingFit Adventure. Though you might find Just Dance more motivating than voiced trainers, or an RPG. If you’re interested in your health as a gamer you might also like to check out my post on exercise for gamers.

One comment

  1. Paige, did you have any problems getting Fitness Boxing to respond to the joycon movement? I tried the demo but was very frustrated that more than half the time, my punches were not acknowledged by the game, or were laggy. Any suggestions?

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