I know, I know: Ring Fit Adventure has been out for some time, why bother reviewing it now? Well, it’s the start of a new year and like many, I’m also a sucker for New Year’s Resolutions so I set out to lose some of that holiday weight. Ring Fit Adventure may just be the best videogame out there to achieve that goal, as the RPG gameplay makes it addictive enough to stay motivated. (If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my Top 5 Games to Lose Holiday Weight article.)
If you aren’t familiar with the title at all, here’s the short rundown: it comes with two accessories: a leg-strap that holds the left Joycon and a Ring-con that holds the right one. Combined, these help track your movement as the game will make you run in place, pull or push the ring-con and various other exercises that will be thrown your way in multiple game modes.
The biggest draw here, the Adventure Mode, is a sizeable single-player RPG that you quite literally run through. You meet the Ring character from the get-go and have to team up to defeat the evil Dragaux, a buff dragon obsessed with fitness and bodybuilding who’ll stop at nothing to unleash his dark influence on the world.
The game is divided into several World chapters and each one will task you with various challenges. Most of them are tracks where you have to run from start to finish, encountering enemies along the way. You’d be surprised how exhausting it can get, to simply run in place, but when the games asks you to sprint (to escape from thieving enemies or to chase a runaway treasure chest) or lift your knees high (to wade through water or run up a set of stairs) you’ll really get your heart-rate up.
Because simply running in place can be tiring on your joints (your knees especially) the game is smart enough to include several breaks and it keeps introducing other methods of traversal: You’ll have to squat a few times to open a chest, use your abs to break boulders, blow a gust of air through the Ring-con to break obstacles or they’ll make you fly through the air or paddle up a stream.
Prepare to feel the burn though, as many of these exercises ask you to squat and if you’ve ever worked out before, you know those can really take a toll on your body. I usually let go a sigh of relief when I could start working my abdominal or upper body muscles again.
On these tracks, you’ll also encounter a bunch of enemies, most of them themed after work-out equipment like barbells, yoga mats or balance balls. You pick from a selection of fit-skills to damage them and if the colour of the exercise matches their own, it’ll do extra damage.
- Yellow: Abdominal
- Blue: Legs
- Red: Arms
- Green: Body & Balance
To keep things interesting, you’ll constantly get new attacks and it’s up to you to choose which ones to add into your line-up, depending on their attack power, their range or simply based on how much you enjoy the particular exercise.
You’ll make your way through 23 worlds this way, for the main story, but the game keeps going well after that and I’ve heard some people say there are ~70 worlds total. (my completionist muscles weep in agony!)
Luckily the RPG elements all make it bearable, because nothing works as motivating as seeing your character grow and get more powerful with each level it gains. With the biggest upside of this game being that you’ll also see some personal growth!
Each level you gain also gives you a skill point which you can spend in a skilltree to learn new attacks or boost your stats. This is an RPG game at its core and that’s the main reason why it’s so damn addictive.
What surprised me the most, is how oddly motivating it was to have Ring scream motivations at me. I never thought this would have any impact at all, but it really did keep me going when he rooted for me.
What did considerably bother me was how frequent the game throws tutorials at you. It’s ok to show the excercises in preview each time you’re changing to a different attack, but the game often comes to a full-stop to tell you to assume a certain position first and that means a few seconds of staring at an instruction screen while losing your workout rhythm.
While the very nature of the game is a bit repetitive and you may be scared that it gets too grindy, Nintendo stopped at nothing to introduce as much variety as possible with plenty of minigames present to break up the pace.
Getting through one world often takes longer than what I can handle in a single workout session and that holds especially true because of all the optional challenges that will have you replay minigames or tracks with additional goals added, like breaking X amount of boxes, only taking a maximum amount of steps or beating a certain type of enemy.
The rewards make these well worth doing though: you’ll gain money, new outfits or recipes & ingredients to make status-enhancing smoothies.
What I’m getting at is that this is by no means a short game and because it requires physical movement, you’ll be limited in how quickly you can beat it. It’s not uncommon to take several months to completely finish this game, and that’s a good thing: any excuse to keep moving is a good one, especially during these weird Corona-lockdown times where gyms are closed around the world.
Outside of the main adventure, you can also create your own workout sets and keep track of scores and personal achievements, which you can compare with your friends (provided that you have Nintendo Online). You can even use Multitask mode which lets you use the Ring-con when watching TV to rack up some pushes and pulls. You can use them to advance your own character in the adventure or if you so choose, you can send them to a friend.
People who’ve been reading my reviews and follow me on Twitter may also know that besides RPGs, I’m equally into rhythm games and wouldn’t you know it: Ring Fit Adventure has that as well!
Obviously having more game modes can only be a good thing, but I was still somewhat disappointed with it. The ring pulls/pushes you have to perform are rarely on the rhythm of the music and the entire mode takes place in a boring old gym.
They included tracks from other Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey but it’s such a letdown that these don’t have any visual elements from the games. I would have even settled for a video that plays in the background, but you only get a single title image projected on a screen.
Ring Fit Adventure is the best possible motivator to get in shape. The RPG elements make it addictive enough that you’ll come back each day and there is plenty of content here to keep you busy for months!
I’ll update this review later on with my personal progress (weightloss, improved physical condition etc) but I want to give it more time. I’m at 76.8 kilos at the time of writing, having already lost 1 kilo, but I hope to drop it down to 70.
Ring Fit Adventure$79.99
- Excellent way to work out and stay motivated
- RPG elements make it addictive
- Plenty of content: Adventure, minigames, rhythm games...
- Visually appealing
- The Ring-con is brilliant and very sturdy
- Some weird presentation choices
- No way to disable instructions
- Repetitive by nature
- Story is nothing special