[Review] Ring Fit Adventure – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kieran Fifield
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Release date: 18/10/2019
  • Price: £69.99
  • Review unit provided by Nintendo UK

If the Ring fits!!

Ring Fit Adventure is the kind of experience that only Nintendo could bring to fruition, let alone conceptualise. The fitness sector will always be where the money is at, Nintendo even took a wild foray into the market themselves with Wii Fit , over a decade ago.

Ring Fit Adventure however is a different beast entirely, something that is so inimitable it just has to be a Nintendo product.

If you like it then you should have put a ring on it

Ring Fit Adventure sees our gym-wear laden hero attempt to thwart the nefarious antics of the potentially steroid fuelled Dragaux, who has unleashed havoc and all manner of demons upon the once peaceful land. With the help of Ring, the mystical device that bears a striking similarity with the Ring-Con accessory, you set out on a journey of adventure and self betterment.

Ring Fit Adventure is an incredibly linear experience that leads you through levels on a predetermined path. You navigate by jogging or running, along a route that has been set out for you. Along the way you may encounter obstacles, such as steps, that require you to lift your knees higher as you climb them, or swamps that you can circumnavigate with a raft, which you control with your hips. Everything you do feels calculated and concise and unlike Wii Fit, it never seems as though you’re doing something for the sake of it, to simply make you feel or work up a sweat.

Step into the Ring

This brings us nicely into combat, with battles taking the traditional fayre of being turn based. Rather than select a move and wait to see what the opponent does on their turn, you must use an actual exercise to cause some damage to your opponent. The variety of attacks range from leg presses to full body sweeps, all of which will work designated sections of your body during the process. When it’s the enemies turn to attack, you must take up a defensive stance and hold it in place for the duration of their turn. This whole experience is married perfectly with the nature of the Ring-Con, along with HD Rumble, as you feel an actual strain and resistance during the defence round. Again, this is the game’s way of training your body while you’re blissfully distracted by the medium of Video Games!!

Levels are segregated into game worlds, which, at the end of each one you’ll fight Dragaux, who utilises new abilities at every subsequent new encounter, to further test your athleticism, stamina and poise. Let’s be clear about one thing, this isn’t a Wii-era waggle-fest, performing moves in battle requires precise inputs, of which the Ring-Con is the star of the show in terms of performing them, as well as feeling the gains they provide, however minimal.

Move over Goomba, there’s a new cute critter in town!!

One ring to rule them all….

Aside from the main adventure which, given the intense gameplay nature is best in enjoyed in short spurts (ergo lasting a solid two months to reach completion), there are various ways to play aside, if for example you’re not particularly enamored by the idea of an RPG fitness game. There are mini games which all utilise different skill sets, such as performing leggings presses to guide a car across a track or using the ring press technique to shoot blocks and hit a high score. While Ring Fit Adventure is inherently a single player experience, these mini games lend themselves perfectly to local multi player gaming, and you can compete to see which family member can hit the most dizzying heights of the scoreboard. Just try not to get Grandma too riled up!

On top of the mini game madness there are also targeted workouts that focus activities on improving certain muscle types, be it abs, glutes or triceps, for example. From my limited experience with working out, these all seemed to make the intended area feel as though it was being used, again the Ring-Con proving an invaluable asset to Nintendo’s already impressive Arsenal.

Ring Fit Adventure uses the technology within the Nintendo Switch as well as Nintendo’s Labo range. Another example of this is the way in which the right Joy-Con can be used as a heart rate monitor t the end of a workout.

Ring-Con, or Ring-Strong?

The Ring-Con accesory is the latest in a long line of Nintendo branded peripherals, but is it a must have product, or the new tennis racket add on for your Wiimote?

Thankfully, the Ring-Con is as sturdy as it is circular. Throughout the course of yur time with Ring Fit Adventure, you wil likely press and pull the Ring-Con hundreds of times. The flexible polymer provides comfort and resistance and I would imagine that to utterly destroy it, the ring must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

Aside from it’s uses within Ring Fit Adventure, the possibilities for it’s implementation in other games is vast. I can imagine playing Mario Kart would be a blast, using the Ring-Con as a primary input device and would open the market for the sale of standalone Rings. I can already envisage the Dark Souls community doing speed runs with it too!

Ring of Fire

Ring Fit Adventure blends a seemingly lo-fi aesthetic with the base engine for 2017’s GOTY – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The results are delightful, as RFA packs in familiarity and delight in equal measure. The game worlds, while as mentioned earlier are very linear, work in blissful harmony with the nature of the game and provide an aesthetic that complements the world of Ring Fit Adventure to perfection.

The sheer range of targeted exercises really makes Ring Fit Adventure feel like the perfect exercise game, seamlessly blending aspects from Yoga, cardio workouts as well as specific muscle defining work. With the addition of warm up routines, stretches and cool downs – all of which seem sincerely thought out and not just tacked on, Ring Fit Adventure is exactly what people who don’t neccesarily want to head to the gym, but wan’t to change their routine somewhat, need.

Pros

  • Makes exercise accesible
  • Surprisingly in depth RPG experience
  • Ring-Con is a phenomenal piece of kit
  • Remains fun throughout

Cons

  • Travelling in the linear world can grow… tiresome
  • Demands respect, not a casual experience

Verdict

Ring Fit Adventure reinvents the fitness game experience in a manner befitting Nintendo’s perpetual need for innovation and creation

4/5

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