Nintendo is no newcomer when it comes to bringing fitness to consoles. Making exercise fun is no easy feat, but they sure have tried. From Wii Fit to the lesser-known Nintendo Exertainment Life Cycle for the SNES, Nintendo has been trying to nail fitness gaming for years. Ring Fit Adventure is their latest attempt.
Looking back, the problem that previous fitness titles have faced is that the games played more as fitness applications rather than actual games. Nintendo has sought to rectify this issue here with Ring Fit Adventure appearing as a fully-fledged fitness-RPG. Not a genre we expected to see, nor one that you would think would work – but it does, very well in fact.
Ring Fit Adventure requires two key peripherals (these come bundled with the game) in order to play, the Ring-Con (which uses the right Joy-Con) and the Leg Strap (left Joy-Con), which allow your movements to be tracked by the Switch. The Ring-Con can be manipulated by compressing or pulling it, this will require some considerable force as its purpose is muscle training. Worry not, as I quickly found out, the Ring-Con is sturdy and isn’t going to break through normal use.
Upon launching Ring Fit, you will be met with a menu displaying all the game modes available: Adventure, Quick Play, Custom, and Multitask Mode. Adventure mode – the primary game mode – will prompt you for your gender (which, tactfully, you are not required to disclose), age, and weight. These options will calibrate the difficulty to your ability, however, you can manually adjust this any time you like.
The story of the Ring Fit adventure mode is that a bodybuilding dragon known as Dragaux is released from captivity, allowing him to wreak havoc by spreading his dark influence across the world. Sure, it may be silly, but it’s all good fun. In order to stop him, you will have to work your way through a variety of worlds, navigating obstacles and defeating various enemies in ‘fit battles’.
The world is navigated by jogging on the spot at your own pre-calibrated pace. Ring Fit keeps you on a set track which feels like a classic on-rails shooter, this allows for exercises to be presented in sequence to provide an adequate workout through squats, Ring-Con manipulation, and more. This style of world exploration is a perfect fit and remains a lot of fun. Upon completing your exercises for the day, statistics will be presented showing how far you have jogged, alongside an estimated count of calories burned and the number of individual exercises done.
The fit battles are probably the most unique aspect of Ring Fit Adventure’s adventure mode. In this fitness-based combat, you are tasked with using various exercises from four categories (arms, stomach, legs, and yoga) to defeat various enemy types that you are faced with. Having a good mix of these skills is recommended as type advantage is a consideration. Entering each stage with six interchangeable skills (more of which will be unlocked as you play) you will need to use them correctly in order to deal the most damage; a helpful on-screen guide helps with that.
The Joy-Con, however, can only do so much, many of the exercises can be cheated, so it’s ultimately up to the player to ensure that they are doing it correctly. Some enemy encounters are avoidable, but I found myself going out of my way to battle anyway due to how rewarding and enjoyable they are. It is also worth saying that the game is a little over the top with its prompting you to rest, sometimes suggesting a break after barely 5 minutes of playing.
There are a few other additions that really add charm to this game. While playing through levels you are able to find and collect various ingredients that can be used to craft smoothies. Smoothies can offer anything from health-restoration to individual attack type powerups. Even the crafting system is a form of exercise, squeezing the ingredients into a smoothie is done by compressing the Ring-Con and keeping it held.
Nintendo has done a stellar job with accessibility in Ring Fit. If for any reason at all you are unable – or struggle – to perform any of the exercises, you can instead activate them with simple button presses, therefore making sure that no one is restricted when playing this game. The amount of effort that has been put into inclusivity to ensure that people of any fitness level or ability can enjoy this game is wonderful.
From the main menu, other forms of gameplay are available. There is a short but diverse list of minigames for players to sink their proverbial teeth into. Each of which exercises a certain part or parts of your body. Similarly, reps allow you to focus entirely on exercise while somewhat disregarding the game aspect. To Further encourage the fitness aspect, while your Switch is off you can still use the Ring-Con to build muscle and this will translate into experience next time you boot up the game – a small addition, but a smart one.
Visually the game is simple, but good, making just running through the stages enjoyable. Importantly, the game does a brilliant job of being encouraging, with gentle suggestions to improve your form and encouraging dialogue; no one wants to be berated for doing something wrong when trying to better themselves. Ultimately Ring Fit Adventure is a fun and effective workout that you will be feeling the next morning.
Ring Fit Adventure £69.99
Fitness games are often judged on whether they make you forget you are exercising, but if you forget, you’re probably doing it wrong. What Ring Fit Adventure succeeds in, is making that exercise consistently enjoyable yet still effective.