For well over three decades now, companies have marketed games and accessories as a way to get physically fit. While most are familiar with Just Dance, Wii Fit, and the Kinect as more recent examples of this “exergaming” phenomenon, RacerMate’s Computrainer started this revolution back in the early 80s.
Enter Ring Fit Adventure. The newest game released to help players get in to shape while enjoying some video game fun. Plus, it’s just in time for the holiday season.
Dragaux, a bodybuilding dragon, and his minions have taken over this fantastical world of fitness. As the avatar, you team up with a sentient ring, the in-game embodiment of the Ring-Con accessory, to defeat Dragaux with the power of fitness. Use real-life exercises such as jogging, stretching, and yoga poses to complete over 100 levels across a diverse collection of settings.
Ring Fit Adventure not only offers players a full-body workout but an element of fantasy and gaming as they get their sweat on.
Every copy of Ring Fit Adventure comes with the Ring-Con and Leg Strap accessories. By connecting each to a Joy-Con controller, both accessories measure a user’s real-life actions during the game. Be it jogging on the spot or squeezing the Ring-Con, the game translates these actions as inputs for the game.
If you want to see how much of a workout you’re getting, you can check your approximate pulse rate with the right Joy-Con’s IR sensor.
Ring Fit Adventure melds exercising with the gameplay of an on-rail shooter and traditional role-playing game (RPG). This is best on display in the game’s Adventure mode.
Adventure mode follows your journey to beat Dragaux. The levels are split between the two game styles: on-rails shooting and turn-based role-playing.
By pressing and pulling on the Ring-Con and jogging in place, you explore the set path of each level. While exploring the level, you may need to perform some specific movements like swinging your hips or high stepping in order to overcome obstacles.
At certain points on your path, you will engage in Fit Battles. These battles are where the RPG elements come into play. You perform attacks by engaging in exercises for a specific set of reps and defend by squeezing the Ring-Con against your abs. You will earn experience points from fallen, which can be used to learn new attacks and increase skills.
While the Adventure mode is the bulk of the game, Ring Fit Adventure has multiple modes to dive into. These modes are:
- Quick Play: Engage in workouts without the game mechanics.
- Custom Mode: Create your own workout routine that combines exercises and minigames.
- Multitask Mode: Press and pull on the Ring-Con outside of the game and have your reps sync with it later.
The overall reception around Ring Fit Adventure has been a positive one. Especially for those video game enthusiasts who may not love to workout.
The mix of physical activity and RPG mechanics has users more focused than ever to try to get to that next level while getting in a good workout. In fact, Andrew Webster of The Verge stated that Ring Fit has given him a new perspective on working out. It now makes him feel “guilty” if he’s skipped a routine, even if he’s sick.
Meanwhile, GameXplain, a Nintendo-focused YouTube channel, stated that Ring Fit Adventure was a “real workout”. Specifically, they mentioned, “Point is, while Ring Fit Adventure may not be the most efficient workout method in terms of time spent, it’s the only one I’ve found that is this fun”.
Lastly, Mike McWhertor of Polygon noted that “Ring Fit Adventure is also respectful of players who might be new to working out.” He also comments on how respectful the game is of its players. He said, “The game regularly checks in with me to make sure I’m staying hydrated, and asks if I need to take a break without being annoying or condescending.”
With all that said, many aren’t completely sold on Ring Fit. For instance, Engadget’s Dana Wollman found the game wasn’t all that fun and an “awfully complicated way for someone to do squats and crunches in their own home.” Additionally, GamesRadar’s Sam Loveridge had problems with the left Joy-Con de-syncing while in the Leg Strap, which caused some frustration.
Should You Buy It?
If you are interested in getting more active or love exercising, Ring Fit Adventure may be the perfect game for you. Retailing at $79.99, it is certainly less than buying your own home fitness equipment.
Past exergames would only focus on the movements and routines specifically. In the case of Ring Fit, Nintendo uses the combination of gameplay and physical activity to make it much more engaging and enjoyable for the user. Even for people who don’t currently engage in much or any exercise.