Work up a sweat with Marvelous' latest fitness title.
I've never really been one for fitness video games, but being trapped in the confines of my own home for months upon end (thanks Covid) led me to get creative with my fitness options. Up until recently, the cream of this crop in my opinion has been Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise, a game that does well to build body strength while also helping with endurance, but this game has always lacked in the lower body, never really doing much to get your legs involved in the action. Knockout Home Fitness by Marvelous has seen this and has provided an alternative fitness game that uses martial arts to provide a workout to get your entire body involved, and it makes for a more rounded experience.
Unlike Fitness Boxing 2, Knockout Home Fitness not only uses boxing as a method of exercise, but it adds various martial arts techniques as well, including karate, kung-fu, kickboxing, and a few others. Alike other fitness games on the Switch, it uses the motion controls of the handheld Joy-Cons to have players enact the moves the trainers direct, and tracks how accurately you complete the move (in terms of timing and motion) to judge the effectiveness of the workout.
To get the workout across to players, the game uses a pretty typical eight-bar time system, where moves are shown ahead of time, and it's up to the player to enact the move as it comes up on the timeline. For example, in a boxing workout, you may be asked to jab, cross, jab, uppercut, before having a two gap break, and then jabbing twice again, before the whole timeline resets and you begin all over again. This system in Knockout Home Fitness isn't quite as refined as Fitness Boxing 2, as there are multiple times where a new move will pop up, and you'll scramble to figure out what you need to do before it reaches the spot on the timeline. It can be a little jarring in this aspect, but as you play more, you actually begin to appreciate the faster nature, as Knockout provides faster, more intense, and less repetitive workouts than what Fitness Boxing 2 tends to offer (even on the higher difficulties), which is great for those looking to get in a quick workout during a busy day.
The majority of the gameplay is provided through the daily workout portion, which sets the player up with three personalised different workouts, each using a different form of martial arts. In general, these last around 15 minutes in total, and unlike Fitness Boxing 2, doesn't switch between orthodox and southpaw stances multiple times during a workout, instead each workout usually rotates from orthodox, to southpaw, to frontal (a stance for a lot of martial arts exercises) just once, meaning it's far less repetitive and is much more engaging.
The exercises themselves also feel more rewarding and demanding, due to the faster, more intense nature. And since legs are a vital part of this game (squats, kicks, and knees movements of various kinds are all common), you get a rounded workout that doesn't slack on any part of your body in comparison to a lot of other fitness games.
But despite the fact that this is generally a more engaging exercise title, it's not without its faults. Aside from completing the daily workout, which is relatively limited in its customisable options and mainly focuses on tweaking the focus area of the workout, what your goal is or length of the workout, there's not a whole lot to do. The three-minute free practice does allow you to get more exercising in, and there are a few trainers to choose from, but compared to Fitness Boxing 2, which has a deep array of customisable options for trainers, various stages, even licensed songs, Knockout does feel a little lacking.
And then there's the hit registration. There have been a bunch of times when the game just doesn't register a movement I made, despite me physically making it. Granted, this has happened to me less frequently than in Fitness Boxing 2, and might be more of a Joy-Con issue than an actual gameplay issue, but it's still hard to miss a lot of the time.
Still, as far as fitness games go, I think that what Marvelous has created with Knockout Home Fitness is actually one of the better fitness games on the market. It gets your entire body involved, features faster, more intense workouts, and doesn't even require much space to play (just make sure you don't kick a table or anything). If you're looking for a fitness game that will get you active, and will do so in a little unconventional method, teaching you a few basic martial arts moves along the way, you won't go wrong with Knockout Home Fitness.
7 / 10
Variety of workouts available. Gets the whole body involved. Easy to pick up and play. Doesn't require too much space to play.
Move registration is a little finicky. Not a whole lot to do. Workout customisation is limited.