Have Fun While Getting Whipped Into Shape With Ring Fit Adventure

Ever since the early NES days, Nintendo has experimented with inventive ways of getting gamers off the couch and into shape. Dating back to 1986, they first introduced the Power Pad (formerly known as Family Trainer) alongside the game World Class Track Meet. Instead of mashing thumbs on a controller, players had to step on large buttons, testing both their coordination and stamina. Wait, you thought Dance Dance Revolution was the first game to do this?

During the Wii and Wii U cycle, Nintendo offered a new peripheral for optimal “exergaming”: the Wii Balance Board. Far more sophisticated than the Power Pad, there was still a key element missing from these updates. There was no grand adventure. I mean, this is a video game, after all.

Well, that’s changed with Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch. Also, dang, these workouts are actually HARD. This game will make you sweat, and yes, it’s also a totally serviceable RPG at the same time. While the adventure aspect of the game isn’t exactly Final Fantasy-calibre, it’s enough of a distraction and incentive for gamers to burn a few dozen calories per day without even realizing it.

Ditching the Wii’s Balance Board for something more hand-on (literally), there are two peripherals that come with the game, each requiring you to insert one of your Joy-Con into them. The ring is a very versatile fitness instrument that can be used in a variety of ways, while the leg band allows you to free yourself from the confines of the Balance Board when it comes to jogging, squatting, and performing many other rigorous exercises. Having it attached to you is a lot more freeing than the Balance Board, which was tinier and awkward to run on. Now all you basically need is a floor and a few metres to move around.

As the campaign begins, your player is limited to a small set of exercises that are re-purposed as turn-based attacks against foes (this is actually a GREAT idea that should’ve been executed years ago). Certain moves require longer cool-downs than others, but there’s enough to rotate right out of the gate (your legs will thank you after 30 squats… trust me). While things start off simple enough, Ring Fit Adventure‘s campaign not only begins to introduce new ways to burn calories, but also a more refined battle system that can be customized ahead of each stage in order to maximize the damage that’s dealt to specific enemies. There are even generic RPG item substitutes like juices and smoothies, which you WILL need.

The length of this “adventure” is quite substantial. After a solid week of daily workouts I’m nowhere near even halfway finished. After that, there’s the option to do any individual exercise I want or replay older levels with a higher difficulty… which makes a world of difference (I was too cocky going into this and couldn’t walk properly the next day).

Will Ring Fit Adventure make you buff overnight? Don’t be ridiculous! But it’s the closest you’ll get to having a legit gym trainer in the comfort of your home, where you can grunt and swear till your heart’s content in complete privacy.  While I wouldn’t toss that gym membership away just yet, I have a hunch this is the start of something that could quite possible be a game-changer someday.  

Ring Fit Adventure is out now exclusively on Nintendo Switch. Check out the trailer below.