Nintendo isn’t new to the fitness game genre with the success of Wii Fit years ago, but Nintendo is back with a new and improved version called Ring Fit Adventure. It’s not just a novelty either, this one will make you feel the burn and it’s the perfect game for current times. The following is a review of Ring Fit Adventure.
Ring Fit Adventure successfully blends an RPG, fitness equipment and the variety of sensors and inputs on the Nintendo Switch to create an entertaining package that gameifies workout sessions perhaps better than I have ever seen before. There’s the classic Nintendo polish – the hero, a big boss to take down and gorgeous graphics.
This game comes with a couple of attachments – you have a Pilates ring called Ring-con which you attach one joycon, and a strap which you tie around one of your legs. Used together this can provide Ring Fit Adventure with the info it needs to guild you around a world of fitness. I say guide, but this game seriously puts you through your paces. I wasn’t expecting to sweat as much as I have while playing this game and it’s certainly the best home workout I’ve tried outside of watching a fitness YouTube video. Throughout the main activities in the game, you’ll be pulling the Pilates Ring, lunging, running on the spot and getting into yoga positions.
Wii Fit was a success for Nintendo, however, it was more of a ‘copy what you see on screen’ kind of experience. Ring Fit Adventure, however, is what it says it is – an adventure. It looks like the Breath of the Wild engine has been used to create the world. This is equally a video game and fitness experience with characters, a world to explore, side quests and bosses to take down. Nintendo has tinkered with technology leading up to this point. Wii Fit is well known, but there’s also the Nintendo Vitality Sensor which never saw the light of day. There are remnants to found in Ring Fit Adventure though as after a fitness routine you can read your pulse to help provide more info for the fitness report at the end of the session.
I really like how Ring Fit Adventure takes care of you. When you open up the game you stretch out, and your companion is always reminding you to top up on water and take a break if you want to. At the end of sessions, you ease out of the game with a stretch out routine. You can tweak the difficulty levels at any time, so if you feel tired or worn out then you can adjust things. You can also turn the settings up too… so it works both ways.
Nintendo has balanced the hardware and interaction with this game to perfection. The joy that’s strapped into the Pilates ring acts as your controller, so you can navigate menus as if you were using a steering wheel. Both joycon manage to read your body movements with a good amount of accuracy and after a few minutes the intuition kicks in and it feels second nature.
There are a few modes to the game – you have the main campaign or you can do one-off sessions. Unlike other RPGs, you have to run on the spot to explore this environment. Along the way, there’s hidden coins which you can collect and use to buy power-ups later in the game. You’re on a set path and enemies tend to block your path and challenge you to ‘battles’ where you have to perform a mix of exercise routines to knock them out. The exercise is split up nicely – running around the environment gets you warmed up and then the enemy battles consist of yoga poses, twists and squeezing the Ring-Con.
As you progress through the game you can unlock new moves, get bugger and better power-ups. The story is fairly basic video games fair – you’re trying to restore the power of your companion who’s had it stolen by the big bad – a huge muscle-bound Dragon who loves working out. He’s kind of like a jacked-up Bowser who loves to do push-ups.
The variety of work out moves will be sure to test every muscle in your body as the Ring-Con is robust and provides a good amount of resistance. The day after my first session my arms and legs were aching, which is a good sign that some good was being done to my body.
At the end of the sessions, you get a detailed report of your workout activity. This gives you a breakdown of distance travelled, how many reps you’ve done in the various activities. You can also have your pulse taken through the infrared sensor giving you an estimate of your current heart rate, something which must have been pulled from the cancelled vitality sensor.
The blend of RPG elements and fitness has been judged well here by Nintendo and they’ve sprinkled on their usual layer of Nintendo magic. Gamification of fitness isn’t new, but blending the RPG and levelling up elements is fairly unique and has been executed well. You’ll want to come back not only to keep yourself in a fit state but also to level up your character and to help restore the magic to your ring-shaped companion.
This has been sold out everywhere for obvious reasons, what with the way the world is at the moment, but if you can get your hands on one then I thoroughly recommend Ring Fit Adventure. I was curious about this before lockdown, but since early March this has provided me with valuable fitness at home in a time when I can’t go outside. The charm that Nintendo has injected is clear to see and then exercise and yoga routines have been made fun, engaging and will make you want to come back for more. What started out in my mind as a novelty game, turned into a very valuable purchase in a short amount of time.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: 18th October 2019
Check out more reviews from This Week In Video Games.