Fitness Boxing: A Sweaty Review (Switch)

I love exercise. I love video games. When I initially saw the first trailer for Fitness Boxing, I was definitely intrigued by the DDR-style game that focused on using the Switch’s Joy Cons to throw punches. More than a simple fitness aid, like the preceding Wii Fit games, Fitness Boxing has some gameplay elements that make it an addicting, fun, and rewarding exercise game.

GAMEPLAY
Using Joy Cons, players punch, dodge, and step in rhythm; performing different movement sets or combos. Combos are guided by your selected fitness trainer, who will visually and verbally cue you to complete movements. Hitting a punch or dodge in rhythm will earn you a “Perfect” or “OK!” if you’re slightly off. You can also “Miss” a move entirely. The more punches you land perfectly, the higher your rating, and the greater the reward potential.

There are both single-player and two-player modes. In single-player, you can complete Daily Workouts and select your fitness target for the day, such as cardio or strength training, and select what parts of the body you wish to target like biceps or total body. You can also set the time for these workouts, anywhere between 10 to 40 minutes, and a “Recommended!” icon will flash next to the time intervals that are best suited for your selections. Players can also work out to a song, and can choose which combos they want to perform to a particular track.

In two-player mode, players can go head-to-head in a boxing ring. Filling up your meter by landing punches faster than your opponent will knock them out of the ring. You can also work out side by side, or play a combo-chain mode with the goal of racking up the most combos. The rewards are not as great in 2-player mode, but if you feel like exercising with a partner the option is there.

REWARD SYSTEM
Fitness Boxing provides plenty of extrinsic motivation using a reward system. Outfits, songs, and combos all have to be unlocked by playing the game. Throw 10,000 punches and you’ll get a fancy new outfit. Play for a certain amount of days and you’ll unlock a new combo. Songs are pretty easy to unlock, just workout to individual songs to unlock these. There’s no way to cheat the system to get quick rewards either. You have to actually do the work to be rewarded.

AUDIO/VISUAL
The visuals for this game are good. The vibrant colors and ability to change instructors, outfits, and even your targets provide visual interest so you’re not looking at the same screen every time you play. In terms of the game’s audio, there is a lot left to be desired in the game’s song selection. There are 20 pop hits to choose from, and they can get a little stale after logging in a few hours of playtime. My hope is that Nintendo will update Fitness Boxing with some new tracks soon.

QUALITY OF EXERCISE
This game will definitely raise your heart rate, but as with any exercise your results will be proportionate to the work that you put in. The in-game statistics are about 50-70 calories off from what my Fitbit Charge 2 reports after a 30 to 40 minute session. Some of the calculations, like your fitness age, seem rather ambiguous, but the calorie burn is really what we’re after here, and there is at least some accuracy in the game’s reporting.

IMG_8668My Fitbit reported that I burned 295 calories after this session.

CONCLUSION: 3.5/5
The perfect game for beating the winter blues. Fitness Boxing will get you up and moving, and keep you coming back for more with its reward system. The game offers a good cardio workout when played in 30 – 40 minutes sessions, and will leave your arms sore for the first few days. The addition of new music tracks would definitely increase the level of enjoyment for many players.

RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE WHO LIKE:

  • Movement-based games
Imagineer. Fitness Boxing. Nintendo, 2018. Nintendo Switch.
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Four Character Hopes for Smash Ultimate DLC

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Ok, Nintendo has spoiled us.

There are an absurd 70+ characters in the roster for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Not to mention the fact that there are 100+ stages, 800+ songs, and a one-player story mode. This is all just added to the fact that, at its core, Smash is a great fighting game.

It’s hard to justify wanting anything else in Smash without risking looking greedy. To be honest, I’m perfectly content with Smash. I think that Nintendo has set the bar for other companies and titles in the future, particularly with its abundance of characters.

But, of course, Nintendo has announced that they will be releasing five characters via DLC in the future, so it’s hard not to either speculate or hope for characters who are absent from the current roster. One character has already been announced (Joker from Persona 5), and there is an unconfirmed leak of the rest, but I’ve managed to muster a list of four characters that I hope, but do not expect, to be included in this DLC package.

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Axiom Verge: A Glitched Review (Switch)

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Thomas Happ is insane. Singlehandedly, he developed Axiom Verge, a 2D sci-fi Metroidvania game that is heavily inspired by 2D Metroid games. He started work on it as a “side project” in 2010 and finished in 2015. He wrote the script, composed the soundtrack, developed all of the visuals/sprites, etc.

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The Messenger: A Stealthy Review (Switch)

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Remember that show Samurai Jack: the show about the Japanese samurai who was transported into the future by a demonic shapeshifter? One thing I recall liking about the show was how it combined rhythmic, electronic tracks to artistic action scenes; a nice juxtaposition between the modern soundtrack/setting and medieval character. The story seldom took itself too seriously, as the humor and presentation oftentimes were more prominent than the action. If Samurai Jack was a video game (I’m just going to ignore the fact that apparently there was a game that came out in 2004 for the sake of this post), then I feel that it would be something like The Messenger.

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Firewatch: A Review (Switch)

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Note: This review is spoiler-free until the Conclusion section at the end, where more details about the story are given as an explanation of its final rating.

Campo Santo’s Firewatch is, at baseline, a hiking simulator. When layered with stunning visuals, an intriguing mystery, and excellent voice-acting, it becomes a compelling can’t-put-down experience for its 5-6 hour playtime. Narratively driven, your choices of dialogue and actions impact the story which takes place over the course of an entire summer. Days are treated as chapters of the story, and play out at different hours of the day and night. Originally released in 2016, Firewatch was ported to the Switch in December, 2018.

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Florence: A Brief Yet Triumphant Review (Mobile)

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(Quick shoutout to Hookshot, Charge Beam, Revive, the person who made me realize this game even exists. Check out his video game blog here; he puts out some great reviews and analyses. Highly recommend!)

Perhaps I’ve been a bit close-minded, but never did I think that a mobile phone game could deliver the experience I have had with Florence. I figured that video games that had any weight, any emotional value, and didn’t rely on quick, pick-up-and-play types of gameplay, probably belonged on a console, big-name handheld, or PC.

Man, I was wrong.

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Stephen King Tropes in Night in the Woods

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Photo via Shane Leonard

I hate to admit it as a Mainer who enjoys reading, but to date, I’ve only read two Stephen King books: It, and 11/22/63. Both books were huge undertakings, but were unbelievably rewarding. Despite their length, I found myself entirely engrossed cover-to-cover (disc-to-disc in the case of 11/22/63, as I listened to the audiobook — that long work commute thanked me for it).

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Hyper Light Drifter: A Review (Switch)

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Heart Machine’s Hyper Lift Drifter (hereafter HLD) is a much beloved top-down indie RPG that has found a spot on the Switch eShop, two years after its original release. It looks familiar: like many subsequent indie games, it has a retro 16-bit coat of paint. Gameplay-wise, HLD does pretty much everything right, while the creator also tells an autobiographical and abstract story through the game. HLD is a relentlessly challenging yet satisfying 2D RPG, and creates an unforgettable experience through its presentation that is worth a couple of visits.

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Octopath Traveler Characters Ranked

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Coffee painting by Cidney. Yes, seriously. She painted this with coffee. Check out her art on IG @Cidneydraws.

If you’ve read my review of Square Enix’s newest Nintendo-exclusive JRPG, Octopath Traveler, you’ll know that while I thoroughly enjoyed the game’s massive boss battles and beautifully pixelated presentation, I felt that it was lacking an original, interconnected plot and unique characters who were developed beyond their singular archetypal tropes. But while the English teacher in me was begging for more complexity in characters, I still found something to enjoy about the game’s protagonists.

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