Knockout Home Fitness Review – Kick, Punch, It’s All in the Mind

    Title: Knockout Home Fitness
    Developer: Marvelous Inc.
    Release Date: September 28 2021
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: XSeed Games
    Genre: Fitness

It’s been since the Wii era that I’ve given a fitness game a shot. Since then, motion controls have become more precise, making me curious to see what a current fitness title for the Nintendo Switch has to offer. Knockout Home Fitness by developer Marvelous and publisher XSeed games combines cardio kickboxing with rhythm gameplay for a pretty intense workout. While accuracy can vary at times and limited content, the foundation of Knockout Home Fitness is pretty solid and a humbling exercise.

Gameplay for Knockout Home Fitness sees you matching the beats with various punches, kicks, and other cardio moves. Beats are presented as dots where actions indicate your movements. Each move is color-coded, informing you what side it’s asking you to perform the action on. For example, blue means to your left, and red is for the right. The layout is simple but works well. There were moments I wondered if icons would work better for moves, but as varied and numerous as moves can be, it’s probably the best representation is kept to colors than text. 

When first starting, Knockout Home Fitness is pretty good at telling you how to perform each action, but by the third lesson or so, it assumes you will just watch the coach and learn as you go. This may be fine for some players, but it took me off guard several times, throwing in a new unlearned move into the mix.

For those with absolutely no boxing, martial art, or cardio knowledge, I imagine this might be a bit overwhelming to approach this way. There is a mode to see all the moves you currently acquired so you can practice, but simply having a tutorial for new moves would have gone a long way to alleviate confusion. 

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Knockout Home Fitness gives you two major gameplay options, personal training and 3 – minute fitness. Personal training focuses on an approximately ten-minute routine made up of 3-minute exercises. Once you accomplish your daily personal training, you must wait until the next day before you can play this mode again. Each time you complete one of the daily personal training exercises, you unlock them for free play in 3 – minute fitness. 

This means that you can be pretty limited the first couple of days when starting out. There are pros and cons to this. For those, like myself, who are currently less adept at cardio, the willingness to wait until the next day for other workouts fits well. However, those who are more fit might find the grind a bit too slow for their liking. Although you can play in 3-minute fitness as much as you’d like, I feel there is a tendency to get tired of the same repetition so early on. 

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Knockout Home Fitness breaks workouts into five main categories: Warm-up, boxing, kickboxing, fight, and challenge. Every activity lists the focus areas you exercise along with the moves involved, so you know what more or less each course entails. Each workout also lists the approximate kilocalories you burn, allowing you to make and plan your workouts accordingly.

In total, there are a little over 50 workouts. And with each being around 3 minutes long, you essentially have approximately two and half hours of total workout content. While that might not seem like a considerable amount, Knockout Home Fitness courses can be pretty intense. For the average person, fifteen to twenty minutes will probably be more than enough. And for those able to do more, there is undoubtedly enough complexity in the more challenging courses that sequences will not be easily remembered. And even if they are, the move sequence is pretty enjoyable.

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This is Knockout Home Fitness’s greatest strength. Actual course sequences along with dancey electronic tunes work well and provide a decent experience. Although I’ll admit, I felt pretty sore from moving and using muscles in ways I wasn’t used to the first couple of days.

After some days passed, though, I felt motivated to keep up with my daily routine. I noticeably was able to do more when I consistently played and struggled less each time. Knockout Home Fitness keeps track of your workouts with a fitness report. In addition, each day you finish your training, you get a stamp from your coach on a digital calendar. These stamps, along with unlockables, helped encourage me as an excellent incentive to return day after day.

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While these unlockables did keep me engaged, unfortunately, there is relatively little to unlock. In total, there are only four coaches to choose from. I was expecting some style or attire changes that could be unlocked like some other fitness games, but it’s not to be found here. Likewise, there are only three workout studio backgrounds available. While there is the whole roster of workouts and songs to unlock, it feels like adding a bit more content would have gone a long way to making this a more rewarding experience.

Perhaps the aspect I was most curious about was movement accuracy with the joy-cons. I was surprised by how often Knockout Home Fitness allowed me to get away with wrong moves as long as I essentially moved to the beat. This is preferable, though, as opposed to being super strict, in my opinion, as the end result, it’s getting you moving in some way.

Your accuracy is represented by bronze, silver, and gold crowns. You can only obtain a gold crown by getting a Perfect on every move. While sometimes there was a frustrating, seemingly random strike knocking me off of a perfect run, gold crowns are undoubtedly obtainable. While it’s not always ideal, the accuracy is more precise than other motion games I’ve played and rarely distracts from typical workouts.

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Knockout Home Fitness ultimately sets out and accomplishes what it’s trying to do. It’s a pretty entertaining workout experience that actually breaks a sweat. While I wish there was more to unlock and movement accuracy isn’t always consistent, it still had me invested in a daily workout. However, while Knockout Home Fitness isn’t on the ropes, it is not the undeniable champion either.

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

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