Cooped up at home and need something to keep you active? Looking to get in shape this year but find the lure of gaming too hard to resist? Worry not, because with Switch it’s easy to mix your favourite pastime with a little cardiovascular exercise to get your blood pumping. Below we’ve collected our picks of the best Switch games for fitness and exercise.
Of course, you’ll need to combine these games with a balanced diet and the sessions of more taxing exercise if you really want to feel great and benefit from a dynamite bod with a washboard stomach, rock-hard pecs, etc., but Switch has a whole host of games and software aimed at getting you off the couch. The console’s portability also means there’s no need to skip a session when you’re away from home, either. So, no excuses!
Whether dedicated fitness software or games with motion controls that get you moving, the Nintendo Switch games below should get your blood pumping and help you get into shape at any time of the year. So, grab those Joy-Con and get on your feet for the best Switch games for fitness and (non-stationary) fun…
Nintendo’s latest entry in the fitness games genre succeeds in properly gamifying exercise where Wii Fit never quite hit the mark. If you’re a gym addict you probably shouldn’t throw out your membership card just yet, but for everyone else looking to get fitter, Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic way to do it that won’t bore you senseless. Play it properly and you’ll definitely feel it the next morning – a sure sign that it’s at least doing you some good – while the compelling adventure mode with its RPG elements will ensure that you’ll keep coming back for more.
A brilliant meld of fitness and fun, stock shortages have made it difficult to track down for the last couple of months, but keep an eye out as Nintendo gradually replenishes stock.
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Fitness Boxing and its sequel (see below) are positioned as lifestyle apps – software to tide you over while you’re on holiday and can’t get to your Boxercise/Body Combat class. In that capacity, they’re breezy, energetic successes that get your blood pumping. For the one-time price of a month’s gym membership, they deliver some light CV and takes pointers from the Just Dance series (and various rhythm games) to provide a convenient and engaging workout as you box to the beat. It’s no substitute for hard hours at the gym, but there’s certainly potential to tone up those arms and shed a few pounds.
Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise adds very little to the foundation of its predecessor but if you don’t already own the original, it’s still a fine alternative to the more intense workout Ring Fit Adventure offers. Fitness Boxing, with its rhythm-based gameplay, is a markedly different proposition and might suit your situation better (the Ring-Con is a little inconvenient to throw in your travel bag!). It would be a mistake to buy this thinking you’re getting a game or some magical antidote to your spare tyre. However, it kept us coming back for more and if you’re after a reason to justify cancelling that direct debit to Gold’s, either one of the Fitness Boxings will get your blood pumping and keep you on your toes, especially while you’re away from home.
Just Dance 2020 was a celebration of the series’ tenth anniversary in more ways than one, with years of releases all leading up to a formula that has truly been perfected and a decent new song list to boot. You’ll want to be subscribed to Just Dance Unlimited to get the most out of your purchase — a fact that’s become even more apparent with the latest entry (see below) — and if you’ve already got Just Dance 2019 or Just Dance 2018 or Just Dance 2017, it’s probably not worth picking this up as well unless you’re assembling a Just Dance collection on the shelf (gotta love those pandas, huh?). Newcomers to the series won’t find a better experience out there, though, and jiggling about to chart-toppers with costumed dancers doesn’t get much better.
Just Dance 2021 is absolutely fine, although don’t go in expecting anything particularly new from this latest entry. You’ll also need a Just Dance Unlimited subscription to get the most out of it. Still, if you just love to dance, this is the newest game with the most up-to-date setlist. Grab those Joy-Con and throw some shapes.
Publisher: 505 Games / Developer: Kuju Entertainment
Also known as Just Dance Without The Unnerving Bleached-Out Mannequins, Zumba Burn It Up! is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and plays very similar to the Just Dance games in that the Joy-Con track your movements as you follow the on-screen instructions. You dance along with one of the game’s real-life instructors with the aim of burning off as many calories as possible, and you can do so with a partner in Fitness Party mode. Full Class mode offers workouts lasting from 15-60 minutes, so there’s definitely scope to burn some calories here, but as with all the software on this list you only get out what you put in, so the onus is on you to commit. Go on – grab those sweatpants and get down.
Not an exercise game per se, ARMS is still an excellent way to work up a sweat with its motion controlled-fisticuffs. The core fighting mechanics are easy to grasp, but they also showcase the kind of depth which rewards dedicated players. Mixing up light and charged punches with your dashes and leaps allows you to create an almost balletic style of play, but add in grabs, stuns and features unique to each stage and you’ve got a truly formidable foundation for burning a few calories and toning up your… arms.
Collecting all the different Arms provides motivation to keep coming back and although the game arguably failed to find an audience — certainly not on the scale of super hit Splatoon 2 — it’s still polished, addictive and immensely rewarding and well worth grabbing.
A surprise drop on the Switch eShop from Nintendo, Jump Rope Challenge is a free game that has you (and a friend, if you’ve got a willing one of those) grabbing a Joy-Con and jumping over a pretend rope as many times as possible. The game was made by Nintendo staff working from home and is designed to help keep you active when you’re cooped up indoors. It was originally a limited time release only available to download until September 2020, but it got a reprieve and will now be available ‘until further notice’. Zoink!
Is it the most in-depth video game ever created? Obviously not, but it’s cute, it’ll get your pulse racing, and it’s totally, utterly free to download. You really can’t go wrong! If you’re still not convinced, why not let our lovely resident video man Alex give you a short demonstration…
And the best of the rest!
If you’re after something that gets you on your feet, there other games that’ll get you off the couch, even if they won’t have you breaking a sweat. Mario Tennis Aces has a Joy-Con control option a la waggle classic Wii Sports. Again, Swing Mode won’t exactly provide a workout that’ll get your biceps bulging, and you’ll lose the shot accuracy you get from an analogue stick, but it’ll get you and yours moving while having a laugh as you knock balls back and forth.
There’s also 1-2-Switch which encourages you not only to stand up but also look your opponent in the eyes rather than look at the TV screen. No, you won’t be burning too many calories by quick-drawing and firing your ‘gun’ at your gran, but at the very least the movement should keep you alert and on your toes. It should be noted that 1-2-Switch only really works in a party-style context, though. The game otherwise struggles to justify its status as a full-price retail release, but if you catch it on sale and you’ve got the right crowd, it can still be a winner. Plus, we know you’ve been dying to try out that HD rumble ice cube thing since Switch launched.
That’s all for now, although we’ll update this selection as and when more ‘exer-tainment’ titles arrive on Switch. Think we’ve missed something? Let us know below and tell us how you’ve got on with the titles above, too.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games , the Best Free Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You’ve Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we’ve got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat ‘Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch., and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.
If you’re looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. And finally, if you’re interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.