Ring Fit Adventure Review - Making Fitness Fun Again
Ring Fit Adventure, the latest fitness outing for Nintendo, packs a full-fledged workout for all ages in a colorful children's RPG package.
Role Playing Game, Simulation
Review copy provided by the publisher
Between Fitness Boxing and now Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo is continuing its tradition of creating games that force players to get up and get active. This latest foray into the physical health genre just might be Nintendo’s best so far.
Ring Fit Adventure takes the casual nature of fitness titles and combines it with more traditional elements of RPGs, such as a story mode and a customizable character. Of course, there are still plenty of options catering to those who would rather jump into the action instead of playing through a gradual build-up of activity.
When you first boot up Ring Fit Adventure, it runs you through how to attach the leg strap (which the left Joy-Con is fitted into) and how to slot the right Joy-Con into the Ring-Con. The Ring-Con is the ring-shaped controller that most of the workouts will utilize. Said controller is very well crafted using high-quality material that is sure to last through plenty of abuse. It also contains cushions for your hands to help maintain a comfortable grip at your sweatiest.
After setting up, you input your age, height, weight, and sex. Then it sets your strength level and your overall difficulty level by having you squeeze in the Ring-Con and jog in place. None of these settings are permanent, allowing you to change them at any time in the menu options. The game itself will also ask how your workouts are and whether you would like to adjust the difficulty setting on a daily basis.
As you workout, Ring Fit Adventure monitors total actual exercise time, calories burned (if you previously inputted your personal information the data becomes more accurate), and your best records when applicable. Progress is tracked on a daily basis and those records can be viewed at any time, giving you a real sense of the progress you’ve made.
There are several modes available in Ring Fit Adventure: Adventure mode, Quick Play mode, Custom mode, and Multitask mode. Adventure mode is an RPG-style experience that allows players to take part in a very simple and tongue-in-cheek, yet charming, story. Your character accidentally frees a being called Dragaux, an evil dragon Gym Bro, and then meets another named Ring. Ring grants you powers and a magic power ring, which are activated through various workout routines, and then you’re on your way to defeat Dragaux once and for all.
There are several levels in each world, and then a larger scale battle at the end of each one. Along the way, you must maintain a steady jog (although the pace is completely up to you) as you pull off additional workouts. Workouts can consist of knee lifts to climb stairs, pushing in the ring to hover over platform gaps, dashing across unstable ground, and other activities.
There is a Silent mode that disables the required jogging and lets players use the analog stick to move the hero forward instead. Although billed as a mechanic for people who are afraid to disturb their neighbors, it also works for those with disabilities or have knee/leg issues and cannot sustain a prolonged run.
“[Ring Fit Adventure’s] RPG mechanics are still well-balanced, rewarding, and a joy to play.
While traversing the game world, players fight against both normal enemies and Dragaux in something called Fit Battles. In order to deal damage to foes, you must successfully complete one of several exercises of your choosing. Each move has a certain recharge time before it can be used again. When the enemy attacks, you must use a technique called an Ab Guard to defend yourself and lower damage is taken.
Even though the type of workout (each category being color-coded) determines the damage dealt to specific enemies, you can still choose which ones you prefer. For instance, someone like myself with a bad knee can avoid squats and cycle through other moves instead. Naturally, this goes for any other move type as well. As you level up, your attack and defense increase, as well as your move repertoire, thus increasing the options best suited to your physical needs.
What makes this mode incredibly satisfying is that every facet of it is meant to give you a tough workout while having a good time as you do so. The plot and characters can slide into the campy side of the scale depending on your tolerance for children’s media, but its RPG mechanics are still well-balanced, rewarding, and a joy to play.
Quick Play mode is for those who simply want to jump right into the action and exercise immediately without worrying about the gradual level progression of Adventure Mode. There are several sets of exercises that target various parts of the body. It feels like this mode was specifically targeted toward the adults in a given household who want the health benefits of Ring Fit Adventure without having to power through a story campaign geared for children. It’s also handy if you don’t need a well-rounded routine but instead want to focus on certain target areas of your body.
There are also plenty of mini-games attached to these exercises, which serves the useful purposes of breaking up the monotony of straight workouts while distracting you from the actual work you’re putting your body through.
Custom mode is similar to Quick Play with the main draw of the former being that you can completely customize your own sets to better target your fitness needs. It’s also an incredible resource for those with disabilities and injuries who may need to strengthen specific parts of the body or otherwise avoid workouts that would cause further injury or just simply aren’t possible. And just like Quick Play, you have access to the same mini-games which you can add on to your custom sets.
Multitask mode is a way to exercise using the Ring-Con without the need for the screen. Enabling Multitask mode allows players to record the number of presses and pulls done with the Ring-Con while doing other activities such as watching TV. Activating this mode simply requires activating the Joy-Con on the Ring-Con while the system is in sleep mode. Up to 500 reps can be recorded this way and you can earn special daily rewards for using this feature, as well as send excess reps to your friends so they can receive rewards as well.
“Ring Fit Adventure is all-around an excellent exercise title with a unique RPG hook.”
One aspect of Ring Fit Adventure that I’m partial to is the constant monitoring of your well-being as you play. As I mentioned earlier, every day the game asks if the settings need to be adjusted in various ways. Ring Fit also encourages you to partake in warm-up and cool-down exercises to reduce the risk of injury and stress before and after you work out, similarly to Fitness Boxing.
Then there are other small details; having the Joy-Con sensor measure your heart rate, being able to stop any activity at any time with absolutely no pressure or judgment, reminders to drink water and rest in between workouts, even during Adventure mode you’ll be asked after a certain amount of activity if you need to stop or take a break. Although some of the fitness challenges may seem too daunting for children, I believe the delivery of said challenges is what makes it perfect for its intended audience. Children are often very active and have the energy to burn, so having a game like this that teaches them how to harness that energy in controlled bouts as they learn about proper exercise is nothing but beneficial.
Meanwhile, the other modes are especially useful for adults because they allow for a more tailor-fit health regime that works around any weaknesses or injuries for a better experience. For older people like myself who want to stay fit but have physical limitations, it’s what makes this title so accessible and broad-reaching. Ring Fit Adventure is all-around an excellent exercise title with a unique RPG hook. It’s well-crafted, fun, relaxing, inclusive, allows for tons of customization, and encourages anyone — regardless of age, weight, or physical ability — to start their own workout routine and get into shape. It’s a truly refreshing take on the fitness genre and one that I hope to see emulated more in the future.