Fitness Boxing Feat. Hatsune Miku review header image

Review: Fitness Boxing feat. Hatsune Miku (Nintendo Switch)

You can always tell a Miku fan because they have the most muscular arms from their workouts.

9 mins read

If there’s anything that’s going to inspire me to get super fit, it’s Hatsune Miku. Well now, Big Fitness, you figured out the trick with me and I now belong to your cult. In all seriousness, though, Fitness Boxing feat. Hatsune Miku is a great time and it does, in fact, seem to work as a fitness application.

Related reading: Also available on Nintendo Switch is this excellent Hatsune Miku jigsaw puzzle game – no, really, it’s good! Our review.

This is the third game in the Fitness Boxing series, following on from the original and then a licensed title that ties into Fist of the North Star. I have to say that of the three, the Miku one does seem odd. Kenshiro is famous for punching people, so Fist of the North Star boxing makes sense. Hatsune Miku, meanwhile, isn’t particularly well known for being violent, and hasn’t exactly been a spokesperson for fitness, either.

But, then again, pop idols need to work out and boxercise is an excellent form of exercise, so let’s just roll with the punches and appreciate that now we can get hot and sweaty with Hatsune Miku.

Screenshot of Fitness Boxing Featuring Hatsune Miku

Fitness Boxing is, essentially, a rhythm game. Icons appear on the screen and scroll down in time with the music. When they reach a box in the middle of the screen, you need to place the relevant input. Do it in time, and you’ll get a perfect score. Mistime things slightly and you’ll get a lesser score. Miss the input entirely and you’ll get no score. The difference between this and most rhythm games is that in other rhythm games you need to press a button. With Fitness Boxing, you need to swing a punch while holding the Joycon.

At the same time, the game encourages you to get into a proper boxing stance, and shift your weight from foot to foot, again in time with the on-screen inputs. There’s no way the game can actually track this – you don’t need to strap sensors or Joycons to your feet – so technically you can “cheat,” and massively reduce the physical exercise involved in playing the game. Indeed, you could probably play from your couch it you wanted to. But that raises the question: why would you sign up for a fitness game if you weren’t willing to do the fitness routine? It’s like the people who buy into Ubisoft’s Just Dance series and then refuse to dance like an idiot, as the game prompts you to. Why play it at all?

Having played Fitness Boxing on and off over the last couple of weeks (in between other forms of “real” exercise as well as the daily grind) I can confirm that I do feel something. Scientific research suggests that boxing is actually an excellent form of exercise. From a study cited on PubMed Central that compared a group that did boxercise exercise over a period of time versus a group that did brisk walking: “Analysis of covariance revealed that the boxing group significantly improved body fat percentage (p = 0.047), systolic blood pressure (p = 0.026), augmentation index (AIx; p < 0.001), absolute VO2max (p = 0.015), and Physical Functioning (p = 0.042) and Vitality (p = 0.024) domains of HRQoL over time. The walking group did not improve any clinical outcomes, and experienced a worsening of Vitality (p = 0.043).”

Screenshot of Fitness Boxing Featuring Hatsune Miku

I’m not about to argue for the validity of that research, or any other research that might have been done about the benefits of boxercise, but playing the Miku game in the spirit that it’s intended did get me to sweat, and I could feel it working my muscles over time. I like to think of myself as reasonably fit and active, given that I do dancesport weekly and walk to the shops and public transport rather than drive, so the fact that Miku Boxing feels additive to that is a positive in my view.

Related reading: Another must-play Miku game on Switch is Logic Paint S – Hatsune Miku Picross! Our review.

There’s a good library of music to box to. There are 22 standard tracks (mostly low-quality MIDI-like generic pieces of music) and 24 vocaloid tracks featuring the voices of Miku and her pals. Obviously, compared to the hundreds of tracks in the Project Diva game on Switch, this isn’t much, but for its intended purpose – as a background as you work out – it’s more than sufficient, and the musical range is good.

There’s a good incentive to make a habit of using the app, too. It tracks daily progress and you can use it to build a programme of activities of various and varied activities. When you start a session, Miku will take you through the warmup, routines and cooldowns, shouting encouragement at you as you go. It’s basically like how my Pilates sessions go, just with a far better trainer (not to criticise my amazing Pilates trainer, on the very remote chance that she reads this. It’s just that Miku is Miku).

Screenshot of Fitness Boxing Featuring Hatsune Miku

As you train, you’ll earn points that can be used to unlock bonuses in the game, including music, characters and costumes. Unfortunately, this is the one area where Fitness Boxing really lets itself down by being lean on the content. There are only four characters to unlock (MEIKO and Kaito from the Crypton stable are missing for some reason), and each only has a small number of costumes to unlock.

Those costumes all make sense as sportswear, and they’re well designed, but “dress-ups” are a major part of the appeal of Hatsune Miku across most of the games that she features in, and I expected more here. They could have at least given us a swimsuit…

Having not played the previous two Fitness Boxing games, and buying this one more because it was a Hatsune Miku game, I am very impressed. Fitness Boxing feat. Hatsune Miku works as a light fitness tool, while providing workouts that get a good sweat going in just a short period of time. Put aside 15-30 minutes each day to run through some of the workouts and play the game in the spirit that it’s intended and you’ll find that it actually works.

Buy the hottest games with Amazon.

By purchasing from this link, you support DDNet.
Each sale earns us a small commission.

Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

  • Hi Matt, as a fellow Vocaloid fan it is great to see a Miku related game again. It’s sad that the music selection here’s lacking though. As it was with ProjectDiva X, you can only listen to the set selection of songs so long before it gets stale, even with short workouts.

    • Yeah, I do understand the point about the soundtrack being limited. But then the Pilates studio that I go to seems to have a play list of about 20 songs that play on repeat so I might be more used to it in the context of “fitness apps” than some, lol.

  • Previous Story

    Review: Violet Wisteria (Nintendo Switch)

    Next Story

    The catch-up coffee: April 1, 2024

    Latest Articles