Ring Fit Adventure Review: A sweaty week in Nintendo’s ring
“Ring Fit Adventure is an ingenious blend of fitness and gaming.”
- Story keeps you motivated
- A large variety of exercises
- Mini-games are fun
- Tons of replayability
Ring Fit Adventure was introduced in a weird and obscure YouTube video on the Nintendo channel. Billed as a “new experience for the Nintendo Switch,” he strange ring-shaped device and leg strap left many of us scratching our heads. Was this to be the spiritual successor to the Wii Fit?
It turned out to be far more than that. An adventure game with Joy-Con-powered workout accessories, Ring Fit Adventure is one of Nintendo’s more daring innovations. After spending a week playing with it, my skepticism was sweated away, replaced with achy muscles and a new appreciate for exercise.
Ring Fit Adventure has you jog, run, and high-knee through a series of scenic obstacle courses, all the while squeezing on Nintendo’s version of a pilates ring. It’s a bit of spartan race mixed with a bit of story to distract you from the fact you’re working out.
The distraction is successful.
Playing a bronze, bicep-toting protagonist with flaming red hair, you and a mythical weapon called “Ring” embark on a journey to build your strength. It’s all in an effort to stop a giant meathead dragon named Dragaux who threatens to ruin the world with his big ol’ scary muscles, and halt the so-called “dark influence.”
It’s not the most original story, but it gets the job done. Ring is a cute, fantastical spin on a personal trainer, resembling a character you’d find tucked away in Greek mythos. Just like Phil in Disney’s Hercules, they’ll coach you through the fitness journey and teach you how to use your newfound ring abilities.
Jog or run in place to move. High-knee up stairs and through water to move faster. Pull on the ring to suck up coins and other hidden objects. Push on the ring for strong gusts of air that can break boxes or propel you into the air. It takes some getting used to, but once you’ve mastered the art of the ring, you’ll be breezing through levels with style.
As you move through levels, enemy encounters will keep you at bay. Running into monsters puts you in a turn-based battle where you have to defeat them using a variety of exercises. The exercises you start with include the squat, overhead press, knee-to-chest, and chair pose. A faceless trainer by the name of Tipp demonstrates how to do each one.
I played on moderate difficulty, and defeating monsters took work. Each repetition of an exercise inflicts a bit of damage. After completing a full set, the amount of damage dealt is substantial, but not enough to defeat an enemy. I found myself doing at least 4 sets of moves to take down one baddie. Powerful enemies, like Dragaux, warrant a lot more.
Each move has a cooldown, so there’s no cheesing your way through battles. I’m sorry to report that spamming Chair Pose won’t work. Every day is leg day in Ring Fit Adventure.
Defeating enemies also earns you experience. You level up and learn new moves (or Fit Skills) that you can use in battle. Unlocking the Twist lets you attack an entire group of enemies instead of only inflicting damage to one at a time. That makes leveling up feel rewarding, and switches up combat that otherwise would go stale fast.
The further along you progress in Ring Fit Adventure, the more you can do to traverse through levels with the ring. You’ll fly, row, and even float through a variety of scenic environments.
Ring Fit Adventure is a serious role-playing game. The story might be a tired cliche, but the mechanics it’s built on do well to incentivize you, as would any good RPG. I looked forward to turning on my Switch after a long day in front of the computer and picking back up where I left off.
More presses? Okay, that kind of sucks, but that monster is standing in my way of fighting that jerk Dragaux, and I simply won’t stand for it.
More squats? No problem. More presses? Okay, that kind of sucks, but that monster is standing in my way of fighting that jerk Dragaux, and I simply won’t stand for it. Ring Fit Adventure makes working out feel more like an adventure and less like work.
I went the distance
That doesn’t mean it’s not work, though. You’re going to be sore the next day. Ring Fit Adventure might won’t train you to run a marathon, but it’ll kick your butt if the only treadmill you regularly see is at your favorite Sushi joint.
The game goes the extra mile to ensure you’re working on your personal fitness goals. After completing each level, it will offer to take your beats per minute (BPM) and provide a summary that includes distance traveled, calories burned, and the amount of time spent working out. It’s great for people who want to track calories burned or miles traveled.
Prompts to stretch, various difficulty settings, tips for living a healthier lifestyle, and reminders to take it easy and drink some water, all add up to make Ring Fit Adventure a game that blends gaming and fitness. There’s even a silent mode that replaces jogging in place with squatting for players who don’t want to disturb their neighbors. These features make it a legitimate workout.
The campaign is hefty, with 20 worlds and over 100 levels. But once it’s over and you start to explore the modes outside of the adventure, you’ll find Quickplay, Custom, and Multitask mode. Each offer workouts you can do outside of the story, and much like Wii Fit, Tipp that trainer will guide you through each exercise or tasks so you know how to do it properly.
Quickplay features challenges that target specific muscles, sets that hit different muscle groups, and mini-games that, surprisingly, were my favorite part of Ring Fit Adventure.
There’s 12 mini-games. The best includes a riff on wack-a-mole called Robo-Wrecker, along with Squattery Wheel, a pottery wheel that requires squats and some mighty delicate handling of the Ring. You can even compare your high scores to your friends, adding an element of competition to the mix.
Custom mode lets you build your own workout routines using the large library of exercises included in the game. The library includes workouts that target specific body parts and even has Yoga (my personal favorite). Multitask mode puts the Switch to sleep and tracks the number of squeezes on the Ring, and gives you a surprise in Adventure mode if you reach 500 in a day.
Ring Fit Adventure proves itself as both a great fitness option and a proper adventure.
These modes contribute to Ring Fit Adventure’s replayability, even if many of the exercises only use the ring as a prop to hold or stabilize you. With a challenging and legitimately fun role-playing game, and plenty to do after it’s over,
Ring Fit Adventure invites players of all fitness levels to have fun while getting in a workout. It’s a real role-playing game that works in challenging, enjoyable, and effective fitness routines.
With a price point of $80, it’s important that it can continue to deliver more after the adventure is over — and it does. The game never felt like a chore. Instead, I wanted to come back to it day after day, even when the workouts were making me feel the burn.
Is there a better option?
No, there’s nothing quite like Ring Fit Adventure available. It even surpasses Wii Fit in features. Sure, you can buy yourself a pilates ring and watch workout videos on YouTube for free, but
How long will it last?
Nintendo games and accessories have a three-month warranty. While the Ring-Con and Thigh Strap accessories feel sturdy, I’m unsure how long they will last with consistent use. You can buy replacements on the official Nintendo Store.
The Ring Fit Adventure game has high replayability. Even after the generous campaign is over, you can replay levels on different difficulty settings or come up with your own workout routines outside of the campaign with the additional modes. It could be a viable workout option for a very long time.
Should you buy it
Yes.game library that makes excellent use of the largely underused motion controls in the Joy-Cons.
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