The world right now is a bit of a frightening place; people worldwide have been instructed to stay home while a pandemic is currently underway. That said, when you’re cooped inside your house, it’s probably the best time to play videogames!
…Of course, you’ll also want to try and exercise too, and with gyms all around the world closing, it might be difficult to get that cardio workout you might need. Nintendo released Ring Fit Adventure last year to combat this problem, but what if you need a digital download or don’t have the cash to purchase that game? (Especially what with the game reaching fetching some pretty hefty prices due to demand issues right about now!)
Luckily, there are some great options that I personally use when I want to burn a few calories here and there, and don’t need any other equipment other than the two Joy-Con included with your Switch. It also helps that all three of these games can be played in portable mode, which means you don’t even need a big-screen television to get exercising; you can just play in your bedroom if you’d like! (Just be careful of your surroundings, lest you break a sweat and your favorite lamp.)
Just Dance 2020
The quintessential party music game, Just Dance has released a mainline entry annually since 2009 with no signs of slowing down. This version is the latest one and includes a story mode (randomly enough) as well as a collection of 40 songs that range from Top 40 hits like Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy to classic songs like Backstreet Boys’ Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).
If you don’t want to shell out more for a Just Dance Unlimited subscription, Just Dance 2020 comes with a month free, which means you’ll already have a taste of the hundreds of songs available from the back catalog of Just Dance games. As a plus, there’s also some more DLC coming to Just Dance Unlimited every few weeks with special events and tournaments, so there’s no shortage of content for those wanting to have a good time.
As for fitness features, while this game is more of a party experience (you can hook up to six Joy-Con controllers, but please remember to stay six feet apart!), you can also activate sweat mode to track how much you’ve burned in a session or song, which helps a lot when trying to gauge your calories. It’s not a pure exercise tool, but there are some great options should you want to use it as such.
There’s also tons of content here if you just want to dance; just make sure to take a break as some routines can get pretty intense even after a few minutes (and if you don’t believe me, make a playlist of all extreme songs).
Zumba Burn it Up!
If you’re looking for a more traditional exercise program, Zumba has some modern routines where you can dance it out while breaking a sweat. While the main experience is usually spent at a studio where you spend time (and money) with a group of other Zumba-goers, our current situation means you can’t really go out into a gym at the moment. Thankfully, 505 Games has created Zumba Burn it Up! exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, which features 30 sweat-inducing routines across a selection of tracks made for the program. You’ll follow different coaches as they dance in glorious HD! (Seriously, this game looks pretty great.)
Why is Zumba Burn it Up! a fitness game to consider? Well, for one thing, you only need one Joy-Con to play this, and the game supports up to four players; if you want a local co-op fitness party, you got it! It’s an officially licensed product too, which means you have some training instructors here that can show you the moves you’ll need to perform in order to score the legendary “Zumba” ranking.
While I wish there would be a feature to practice moves rather than doing everything in one go, there’s still enough variety here that you’ll be replaying songs in order to get fit quick anyways. Each song has a difficulty effort ranking, and there are some premade setlists you can access if you want to do a longer workout.
Fun fact: Did you know Nintendo released another fitness game in 2019 that wasn’t Ring Fit Adventure? While developed by Imagineer (who also created Quest 64, oddly enough), the Nintendo published title remains one of my favorite ways to work out on the go. Fitness Boxing features 20 cover versions of songs from hits like Sugar to classics like Video Killed the Radio Star, but here the star of the show is the routine variety. Fitness Boxing includes dozens of routines that can be used individually or through daily consecutive workouts, and you’ll have to mimic the movements of your onscreen coach as he or she teaches you how to jab, dodge, and hook your way to fitness.
The reason I love Fitness Boxing is due to how much effort I need to exert when playing. While it’s not as intensive as a full-body workout at a gym, there are still a lot of endgame routines that require fast moves in succession, and you’ll need to stay on your toes if you’re aiming for a high score.
This is the only game on this list that requires both Joy-Con controllers to play, and it’s rather accurate with capturing the movements and tracking calories burned. There’s also a two-player co-op mode or competitive mode for those that want a real-life partner by their side. This title also has a surprising amount of progression that you can follow for a daily workout, as you can earn stars for scoring high enough that can unlock different outfits and accessories for your in-game coach. In addition, Fitness Boxing also keeps a tally of different statistics during your playthrough, so it works like a little fitness diary that you can use in order to keep track of your goals. All in all, it’s a pretty fun game that also encourages daily play thanks to some unique features.
We might not have a definitive end date to when we can all head outside again, but there are still tons of stuff to do indoors. The gym might be closed, but getting a workout is easier than ever thanks to the Nintendo Switch. Have a fun exercise video game that we didn’t cover? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned to Miso for more anime and gaming news and columns!