Fitness Circuit Review – Your Very Own Futuristic Training Facility

    Title: Fitness Circuit
    Developer: EXFIT
    Release Date: May 26, 2023
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
    Genre: Sports, Fitness

We’ve all been there. You want to stay fit, but your nearest gym is a 20-minute commute, and you just don’t want to leave the comfort of your home. Speaking from experience. But you do have a Nintendo Switch. That’s where fitness games come in. They were prolific, especially in the Wii and XBOX Kinect era, and were extremely popular, especially with casual gamers. The Switch has seen a resurgence, with hit titles like Ring Fit Adventure. Still, I will say that seeing Spike Chunsoft publish a fitness game, of all things, wasn’t on my bingo card for this year, so I was curious to see what Fitness Circuit might have in store.

In Fitness Circuit, you enroll in a training facility known as the Extreme Park. Here, together with your Fitness Runners, you’ll go through various training courses while also helping your runner clear several activities. Upon the initial startup, the game will ask you your height and weight and give you a choice from six runners: Ray, Maverick, and Max for the male side and Naomi, JJ, and Scarlet for the female. Each of them is also fully voiced in both English and Japanese, and the one you choose will also be the one who greets you every day on the title screen.

Starting things off, we have the Daily Circuit, which is a training course where the game will randomize a set from the 45 available poses. At the lowest end, we have 5 exercise minigames, which alternate between Cardio and Strength-type poses, and depending on how you’ve set up your plan, that number will gradually increase.

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To determine which poses you’ll get, the game will ask you some quick questions to know more about your goal with the software. While at first you only get very simple questions, this can be changed and fine-tuned by pressing the Plus button and then setting your own Training Plan. There are then three difficulties to choose from, and the harder you go, the more sets you’ll do.

Each training session can take from 4 minutes to even over half an hour because the game should adapt to the difficulty. But in my case, it defaulted to the lowest Workout, which never increased the difficulty. There were also some times when the moves I got one day were almost the same on the next day, and even after fine-tuning my preferences, it just didn’t evoke the feeling that the game was growing with me.

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To perform the exercises, you have to copy the movements from the example shown on the top right, and depending on how well you do the pose, Workout Power is sent to your Runner, increasing their speed and allowing them to clear the minigame, which usually consists of a course that’s vaguely related to the pose you’re making. The number of calories you’ve burned, and Workout Energy are then converted into EXP, which unlocks costumes, as well as additional moves to be added to the shuffle.

One thing that I found is that Fitness Circuit is very particular is the orientation of which you hold your Joy-Con. If it’s even slightly off, it will refuse to correctly register your moves sometimes, and because it does not make use of additional accessories, it’s not infallible. The majority of the lower body exercises can be easily fooled without even moving your legs too much because it’s not like they can be tracked by the Joy-Cons in your hands alone.

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If you’re having trouble getting a particular pose recognized, you can always review it at any time by going to the Demonstration Mode, which has a list of all of the Cardio and Strength poses you’ve unlocked. You can also create your own Fitness Circuit through the Custom Course menu and perform it by yourself or connect with other players online on your Friends’ List and play together.

There is also a Profile that displays how many calories you’ve burned, and a graph containing your weight and BMI, though the latter is unable to accurately say how effective the training is going because that sort of data needs to be inputted manually by the player. As far as I could tell, that data is only used in Multiplayer, which I sadly was unable to try out because you cannot play online with random people, and I don’t have any friends to try this with.

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Still, what Fitness Circuit lacks in accuracy, it delivers back with its rather unique presentation, in my opinion. The entire game has this futuristic sci-fi look to it that’s very cool to look at. This extends from the way Runners are dressed to even the backgrounds. Even the font in the UI feels very sci-fi and modern while still being sufficiently readable.

From the Runner menu, you can customize features of your coach, such as their hair color, skin color, and clothing, which, as I’ve said before, is unlocked by increasing your Player Level. From the Profile Menu, you can also change the voice language from English to Japanese. For the most part, their voice lines only have a slightly distinct personality trait, but it’s very subtle.

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Like many titles of the fitness genre, this is certainly one of those games you’ll have to try before you buy, and there does exist a free demo, which gives you 5 days of gameplay but does have some limitations. For example, only a fraction of the moves are available, and customizing your Runner is also disabled.

Still, those are relatively minor, and I would certainly recommend it for potential buyers because the full version supports porting over data from the demo, so you can continue your training and even discover the rest of the moves that the game offers.

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Fitness Circuit is a charming game that might be limited in its promised effectiveness but delivers on presentation. By offering total flexibility towards a player’s personal goals, perhaps the only bottleneck is the lack of overall accuracy and how it is unable to properly track your training progress, but then again, it’s doing what it can without the need for yet another weird required accessory. Your legs and closet full of Ring Cons and Balance Boards will thank you.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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