Not quite a TKO, but it manages to break a sweat.
When it comes to video games that got you off the couch and in motion, the Wii motion controls ushered in a generation with Wii Fit and Just Dance, the latter of which released a Wii version until Just Dance 2020. In late 2019, Nintendo brought Ring Fit Adventure to the Switch, adding RPG mechanics and a story to complement its new fitness peripheral. There are quite a few options now for those who want their Switch to be part of their workout routine, and Knockout Home Fitness is focused on boxing and kickboxing to help players burn calories and get in shape. As someone who has spent the past few months getting in shape, I can say that Knockout Home Fitness can definitely help you work up a sweat, but it bridges the line between beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts.
There are three options in the main menu: Personal Training, 3 Minute Fitness, and My Report. The latter simply represents a calendar that records which days you exercise and how many calories you have burned, which can be tailored to the weight you indicate on your profile. The mode you will likely spend most of your time in is 3-minute fitness, as personal training is only available once a day. 3 Minute Fitness offers 60 different short workouts that focus on activities like warming up, boxing, and fighting. You can choose from any unlocked training sessions and repeat them as often as you want. Personal Training selects about three workouts that you do one after the other and that last about 10-12 minutes. I found this mode to be a nice way to start or end my day. The problem with this is that personal training is basically the only way to unlock new activities, and usually only one or two at a time. That means it takes weeks to unlock all of the 3-minute fitness workouts. While this may not be a problem for someone just starting their fitness journey, I found the slow introduction of individual workouts a bit of a hindrance.
As for the actual gameplay of Knockout Home Fitness, your chosen trainer is in the center of the screen, accompanied by two assistants. As they guide you through the various routines, there are rows of eight beats at the bottom of the screen that gradually scroll up and indicate what actions you need to take while holding a Joy-Con in each hand. The lower right corner of the display shows your combination, and higher, uninterrupted combinations result in a better score at the end of each workout. It is a bit unfortunate that achieving a gold crown and a score of 100 requires that every single promotion be rated “Excellent”. I’ve seen dozens of perfect workouts spoiled by a single “Great” rating that wasn’t due to missing an action, but rather a Joy-Con being overly sensitive.
Since the actions to be performed appear at the bottom of the screen, your trainer will carefully guide you through most of them. It can be a bit frustrating when they deviate from their pattern, yelling out the moves and throwing in general feedback and other comments, especially how often these are simply recycled. There isn’t a lot of unique dialog between the coaches either, and the models themselves could be a little more eye-friendly given their on-screen prominence. The music is pretty generic too, with no tracks I could make out: just your standard lift-like gym / fitness themes.
Overall, I was able to work up a sweat by combining personal training with about five or six additional 3-minute workout selections. As someone who is a bit more interested in the types of activities in this package (various types of punches, knee raises, and low kicks), I’ve enjoyed my time here and will likely return to Knockout Home Fitness if I don’t get around to going to the gym or the weather makes a walk or run less palatable. Still, there’s an odd discrepancy between the time it takes to unlock everything – including new backgrounds, music, and the four trainers in total – and how few tutorials there are on the actual moves you’re doing. After the first day of play, I never felt that new strokes and other movements were explained as well as they could have been. Now that the judges have made their final decision, Knockout Home Fitness doesn’t quite seem to live up to its name. In the end, it’s more of a split decision. If you’re looking for a fitness game with a focus on boxing, this one is worth doing a few laps, but otherwise you might be better off with a different trainer.