How do you keep to your workout regimens while in lockdown? Turn exercise into a video game, of course.
The Nintendo Switch is a great place to start, letting you accomplish your fitness goals for the year while staying safe and indoors.
The good news is that the majority of these Switch games won’t require any additional peripherals other than the pair of Joy-Con controllers, which support motion controls, that come included with the handheld device. In some cases, you can also get by just using a single Joy-Con, so you can have another person in on the fun without the need for additional controllers.
Whether you’re looking to get your arms, feet or your whole body for a full workout, or just want something a bit more on the casual side, then we’ve got just the Switch games for you.
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure transforms exercising into a full-length RPG adventure as you travel across different worlds to vanquish a bodybuilding dragon using a variety of real-world exercise routines from jogging to different muscle stretches and yoga poses. All you need (besides the Switch) is a Ring-Con accessory that’s included with the game.
Just half an hour of exercises a day will have you working up a sweat, though the intensity and types of exercises you do can also be tailored. With over 100 levels, expect several months to complete the adventure, though you can customise your own workout routines or simply enjoy the range of mini-games on offer.
Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise
Combining a boxing workout with a nightclub, Fitness Boxing 2 has you grabbing a pair of Joy-Con to jab, uppercut and dodge to the beat of over 20 catchy pop tunes. It’s also possible for two people to play simultaneously with a single Joy-Con each.
Beyond boxing to the beat, you can get a daily workout routine going with the help of nine virtual trainers, each with their own personality and specialty. These trainers can design challenges specifically for you, ranging from light to heavy – or you can create your own routine from scratch in the Free Training mode.
Just Dance 2021
A night out on the dancefloor still feels like a long way away. The next best thing is Ubisoft’s long-running Just Dance series, which should have you dancing up a sweat in no time. The new instalment contains over 40 tracks including SZA and Justin Timberlake’s ‘The Other Side’, Lizzo’s ‘Juice’ and Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’.
It’s just the game to get everyone in the house moving, and you don’t have to limit it to just two players with Joy-Con – the game can support up to six players by using your smartphone to track your movements with the Just Dance app.
Zumba: Burn It Up
While Just Dance may be the overall crowd pleaser, Zumba remains an unstoppable force in the fitness world. Compared to the former, it’s also more focused on getting you burning calories by pacing your workout along to high-intensity songs to give you a full cardio session.
Burn It Up is anything but a casual game. Newcomers may find following the movements of the onscreen instructors daunting, but those unable to get their Zumba fix at the gym will feel right at home dancing away with a pair of Joy-Con, whether you just want to play a single song or go for a proper 60-minute session.
From the makers of Mario Kart 8 comes ARMS, a 3D fighting game that puts you in the shoes of a “champion” with extendable arms. Your goal: punch, uppercut, block, throw and dodge your way to victory.
Sure, you can perform all the above by mashing buttons, but for a full fitness experience, using the Joy-Con’s motion controls will have you feeling the burn quick.
Mario And Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games last year (and its new July 2021 date looking shaky with each passing day) has been one of the biggest high-profile casualties of this pandemic. Which makes this sports game tie-in, originally released in November 2019, all the more surreal.
With over 30 events, mostly based on real Olympic events – as well as a few retro twists – this is more for casual multiplayer fun. But you can still at least feel as though you’re exercising if you’re playing with motion controls, whether you’re swinging your arms in the running events or taking a Joy-Con each for a game of badminton or table tennis.
Although the sports craze in gaming began with Nintendo’s Wii, we still haven’t seen a Switch equivalent of Wii Sports Resort. Enter this Bandai Namco title.
In Go Vacation, you explore the paradise resort of Kawawii Island through more than 50 mini games meant for groups of players (within the same household!), from horseback riding and buggies to kayaking and mini-golf. Admittedly, the motion-control activities here aren’t going to give you much of a workout, but a virtual holiday on a paradise island sure sounds like what we can all do with right now.
Mario Tennis Aces
Tennis remains an all-time classic on Wii Sports, so being able to play Mario Tennis Aces with motion controls makes it worth the price of admission alone.
As a game, however, it packs a substantial and challenging single-player story mode. And those looking for more than swinging their racquets against an AI opponent can also make use of some extra powerful trick shots to use against your family and friends.
Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training For Nintendo Switch
With so much emphasis on body goals, don’t neglect flexing that grey matter to keep your ‘brain age’ down. On that note, this smash hit brain training game, made popular on Nintendo’s handheld DS systems, has made a welcome transition to the Switch.
Keep your mind sharp with daily brain exercises from quick maths to memory tests, or take your time with some challenging Sudoku puzzles. The game even comes with a stylus – for once, this is not a game that’s meant to work well with the Switch’s Joy-Con.
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