Let me start this off by saying that I’m no gamer extraordinaire, but when I heard about Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch, I got excited. I try to work out on a regular basis, but like many people with a jam-packed schedule and a gym that specializes in treadmills, it’s an uphill battle. I find myself making excuses as to why I can’t work out as often as I’d like so I’m down to try a video game that forces me to exercise while I play.
There are a few different ways to play, including a long-form adventure, shorter mini games, or pure exercise sets. The adventure mode has a whole storyline to it: You play as a customizable character to explore new lands and battle against a bodybuilding dragon and his minions. The plot isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but that’s not really the main motivation behind this game.
The game uses two new Nintendo accessories: a Ring-Con and a leg strap. The Ring-Con is a circular contraption that looks like a steering wheel and acts as the controller. The leg strap helps measure your movements.
In order to move the in-game character, you have to jog in place IRL. You run through the level collecting coins by physically pushing and pulling the Ring-Con in your hands. You can jog a little quicker to make the character move faster, lift your knees higher to climb stairs, and blast through the air by pointing the Ring-Con down. Along the way, you’ll face off against different monsters in battle rounds that consist of real-life workouts, including squats, overhead presses, and even yoga moves, such as chair pose. There are bonuses you can unlock as you level up, including new worlds to explore, different outfits for your character, and more workouts, which you can use to attack the bodybuilding bad guys in different ways.
As you play, the game will show you the proper form and how long to hold each pose while sensors measure your movement to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly. For example, if you’re on the floor doing knee-to-chest sit-ups (yes, it really makes you get on the floor and go for it), the game will instruct you to go slower or to hold your elbows in different positions to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. It’s helpful because that’s something you wouldn’t get if you were working out on your own. At the end of each round, you can measure your pulse to track your workout and calories burned.
I found that just playing for a few minutes made me break a sweat pretty easily, which made me feel like I was getting a good workout. Playing for more than an hour definitely left me sore the next day. There are so many different types of exercises incorporated into game-play that it’s really like a full-body workout that also offers fitness and healthy lifestyle tips without being obnoxious. It also tells you how much longer you have to go by saying things like, “halfway there” and “five more!” You can adjust your difficulty levels to make it easier or more intense, and there are also warm ups, cool downs, and stretches to make sure you’re not overexerting yourself.
In addition to the adventure world, you can also do straight-up workout sets or play mini games that target different areas of your body. The mini games are quick and fun, including Squattery Wheel (molding pottery by squatting at different heights), Thigh Rider (make the vehicle jump for tokens by squeezing your thighs), Gluting Gallery (lean left and right to avoid bombs and collect flying tokens), and Dreadmill (control your running speed to move left and right on the treadmill to gather tokens).
Ring Fit Adventure is like having a personal trainer in your living room and if you use it often, the $79.99 price tag will pay for itself. It makes it really easy to workout at home and the best part is, you’re playing video games at the same time. The only bad part? No more excuses not to get your sweat on.
Photos: Nintendo, the Pop Insider