Ring Fit Adventure Review
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Ring Fit Adventure certainly isn’t the first of its kind; there have been several games that blur the line between workout and videogame, including Wii Fit, Just Dance, and my personal favourite: Beat Saber. But it’s the innovative ways that Nintendo’s latest IP finds to get you exercising that makes it so gripping, combined with engaging gameplay that often doesn’t feel like a workout at all – until you wake up the following day, that is!
True to its name, Ring Fit is an Adventure, but this isn’t a lazy story mode tacked onto a fitness regime. No, Ring Fit Adventure’s titular mode has a genuinely engaging narrative, a deep combat system, and creative, evolving mechanics. The dialogue and plot can be a touch juvenile at times, mind you, but its clear that this game is meant to be accessible to all ages, genders, and skill levels.
This is abundantly apparent when you go to set your difficulty, which has 30 levels of complexity. You can change it on the fly if you start to struggle, and the game will even advise you to increase or lower the difficulty by a few levels if it sees you’re breezing your way through or having some trouble. You can even adjust your strength relative to the Ring-Con accessory, which is perfect if your young child or older relative want to have a go.
Speaking of the Ring-Con, it really is impressive how many movements and exercises Nintendo have built into a simple circle accessory, especially the way in which these are implemented into the Adventure mode. Each level will require some degree of running on the spot to move through linear environments, usually with a few monsters to battle along the way. There’s also a “Silent Mode”, which is particularly brilliant for anyone living in a flat or crowded household, that let’s you bend your knees gently to mimic this movement without loudly stomping your feet around.
As for the Ring-Con, you can squeeze it inwards to fire blasts of air that break boxes, open doors, and even allow you to jump if you aim it downwards! Conversely, pulling the ring outwards will create a vacuum effect that sucks in nearby items, hearts, and rings. I won’t spoil them all, but it’s hard to overstate just how innovatively Nintendo has melded the exercises into an RPG-Adventure setting in logical ways.
During Ring Fit Adventure’s battles, you must attack using exercises that are split into four coloured groups, each targeting different disciplines; Arms, Legs, Core, and Yoga. After you’ve progressed a few hours into the story, you’ll unlock the Colour-Coding power, which takes battles to an entirely new level. By matching your attack to the colour of an enemy, you’ll get a boost to your damage; the (red) arm-centric exercises will hit red enemies harder, for instance.
It’s a system that works seamlessly to provide you with a varied, interesting workout, with new exercises unlocking as you work your way through the story. This levelling technique is integral to the engagement of Ring Fit Adventure, spurring you on to try one more level or complete every side quest. The enticement of unlocking powerful new exercises that deal more damage or hit multiple opponents is a strong driving force.
You might think that this all means Ring Fit Adventure focuses more on gameplay than getting you fit, but you’d be wrong. You see, behind the soft, saturated visuals and youthful charm, Ring Fit Adventure is a serious workout companion. It’s filled with tips and technique advice to ensure you stay healthy and hydrated during your workouts, even prompting you regularly to take a break or have some water if you want to continue playing.
On top of this, every session can be bookended with dynamic warmups and cooldowns, which are automatically adjusted if it recognises that you’ve recently focused a specific muscle group. The list goes on and on; you can set alarms that will wake up the Switch and remind you to workout at specific times, the exercise instructions are clear and comprehensive, and the right Joy-Con’s IR sensor can even measure your heart rate! Put simply, Ring Fit Adventure has everything you need to kickstart – and maintain – a healthy lifestyle.
It doesn’t stop there, though, with minigames and customisable sets that you can use to tailor your perfect workout. The minigames are particularly fun, with online leaderboards to push for, or local leaderboards if you’d rather invite some friends over and throw down the ring-shaped gauntlet. This all means that there’s sure to be entertainment and exercise in equal measure long after you finish the adventure mode.
It’s important to note, too, that Ring Fit Adventure is a marathon, not a sprint – the advertising boasts that you can play for 30 mins each day for several months and still have more to do, and that certainly seems true from what I’ve seen so far.
I’ve played an hour or so of Ring Fit Adventure every day this week and I’m sure I’ll continue for weeks to come. You have to listen to your body, though, and regular, lighter play sessions will always be more beneficial in the long run, no matter how much you want to keep playing to see what happens next in your adventure.
As much as I love Ring Fit Adventure, there are still areas with room for improvement, however, with repetition being a potential sticking point for some; you will start to recognise reused environments after a week or so of continuous play, and the numerous battles against the main antagonist, Dragaux, can drag on a little.
It would also benefit greatly from a daily reward system that so many free-to-play titles employ, which would provide a greater incentive for players to keep exercising regularly. Still, these are minor blemishes on an otherwise stellar title, which provides excellent longevity and value for money if you have the endurance to keep working up a sweat.