Ring Fit Adventure is Nintendo´s first foray into fitness games for their hybrid console. It comes after the massive hit that was the Wii Fit and the decent success that Wii Fit U enjoyed. But, does it manage to surpass these titles or does it remain in their shadow?
Well, let´s first see what is it about. How it works and what kind of gameplay can you expect.
The Ring-Con and Leg Strap
Like its spiritual predecessor, Ring Fit Adventure comes with a special controller that allows you to exercise while playing. Gone is the Balance Board and in its place is the titular Ring. This ring, dubbed the Ring-Con by Nintendo, is an accessory that you hold with both hands to perform the exercises that the game requires you to do. The left Joy-Con is placed on a special holder at the top of the Ring-Con, so that it may detect your movements. An additional accessory, the descriptively named Leg Strap, is strapped around your thigh with the right Joy-Con attached to it. With both accessories in place, the game is capable of detecting the motions on your arms and legs.
Additionally, these accessories can use the infrared sensor on your Joy-Con to measure your heartbeats and calculate how many calories you have burned in your playtime.
Because these accessories require the Joy-Con to work, Ring Fit Adventure is not a game that is compatible with the Switch Lite, at least not on itself. To make it work with the Lite, you´ll need to buy an additional pair of Joy-Con and have some way to prop it up on a table. This is not an ideal way to play the game, but if you don´t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new Switch, it will have to do. If that´s the case, I encourage you to read our article here to learn how to play any handheld incompatible game on your Lite.
Unlike Wii Fit, Nintendo decided to make Ring Fit Adventure more of a “proper” game, this is done with Adventure Mode, which draws inspirations from classic RPGs like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. In it, you will explore a fantasy world and fight enemies in turn-based battles on your quest to defeat an evil dragon.
Now, to say you “explore” might be a bit generous. The adventure is quite linear. You only have one direction to go, forward. The world map has a couple of extra paths to choose from, but once you selected a level, you can only move in one direction. You traverse the level by doing a variety of exercises. The most common one being jogging in place, while other exercises, like paddling a boat or squatting on a launchpad, are sprinkled here and there to add variety to your stroll.
As said before, this is a classic RPG. Enemies will appear on your way and you will have to battle each one. Combat is done with your standard turn-based battles, the twist here is that every attack mimics a corresponding exercise that you´ll have to perform in real life. This is were most of your workout comes in, as you will have to squat, lift, twist, etc to defeat your enemies. Additionally, squeezing the Ring-Con on your belly will perform an “Ab Guard” that will protect you from the enemy when it´s their turn.
Like almost all RPG games, you will gain experience with every enemy defeated. While the game does have some stats, the main use of leveling up is to unlock more attacks (that is to say, more exercises) to beat your enemies in new and more effective ways. There are forty exercises available in the game for you to unlock.
Each exercise has a different color and is most effective against enemies of the same color. They have a cooldown, so you are forced to switch attacks and vary your routine to beat your enemies.
Adventure Mode has many worlds and is made to be beaten multiple times. The idea is that you play it on the difficulty you are most comfortable on, and when you beat it, you try again on a harder difficulty. The harder the difficulty, the more intense the exercise. This way you will get stronger and more fit with each subsequent playthrough.
If you don´t like the idea of Adventure Mode and would rather use the game as a fun way to have workout sessions, like with Wii Fit, you can try Quick Play. In this mode, you will have a workout session with many different minigames and without any of the story or RPG elements of Adventure Mode to distract you. You can also create your custom workout routine by picking which exercises you want to try.
Finally, there is a Multitask Mode. This mode lets you carry the ring away from your Switch and squeeze or exercise with it wherever you want. When you return to your Switch, you can transfer the experience to your character.
For people who live in a dorm or a house with people they rather not disturb, there is also a quiet mode. This mode replaces “noisy” exercises for quiet ones. For example, instead of jogging to move in the adventure, you´ll do squats instead.
Ring Fit Adventure is full of small accessibility options so that anyone can exercise however they want. You can even disable exercises that place too much strain on your back, knee, stomach or shoulders. All these exercises and mechanics are designed to keep you in shape, not so much to make you lose weight. While the game does track the calories that you burn while playing, they have no actual impact on the game itself. In fact, you will probably not notice them on a normal play session.
Ring Fit Adventure is a fun fitness game that leans on its RPG mechanics to convince you to exercise. While the Adventure Mode is not as in-depth as a “real” RPG, It manages to hit all the rights notes. It is especially successful in making you forget that you are working out while you explore a fantasy world. This game will not make you lose your Holyday weight nor make you a bodybuilder, but it will make you work up a sweat.
Will it be as successful as the Wii Fit? The jury is still out. While the Adventure Mode is a nice draw for gamers, it remains to be seen if it can convince the same mainstream public that didn’t own any games other than Wii Sports and Wii Fit. For this segment of the market, complicating the fun exercise with stats and battles might be damaging to the experience.
As an exercise game, I would say that it is better than Wii Fit. It lets you have the same level of exercise but in a much more entertaining way. If you want to get a workout, but hate the idea of stepping on a gym, this is the game for you.
You can buy Ring Fit Adventure for yourself on Amazon by clicking the following link: