Welcome to T3's Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure review. Ever since the release of the Wii, Nintendo has been keen on introducing more novel ways to play video games and thanks to success of Wii Sports, which came bundled up with the Wii back in the day, there has been an emphasis on fitness and moving people around in their homes when playing video games.
The Ring Fit Adventure feels like the culmination of all the efforts and experiences Nintendo put in developing fitness-themed video games in the last decade and offers a truly unique gaming experience. I was a bit skeptical about the viability of the ring controller before I had the chance to try it out but by the time you're done with the onboarding, you will be completely up to speed on how to play properly and won't have any doubts left.
TL:DR: The Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch is an amazing fitness game that will not only offer a different gaming experience but effectively get you fit in the process.
Before we get to the meat and potatoes of the review, though, I'd recommend watching the official Ring Fit Adventure trailer to get a sense of what this game has to offer.
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure: official trailer
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure review: price and availability
The recommended retail price of Ring Fit Adventure is £64.99/$79.99/AU$124.95.
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure review: what is it, and what's in the box?
The Ring Fit Adventure is an adventure video game for the Nintendo Switch. It uses a special controller setup to track the movement of your body: one part of the JoyCon is strapped to your legs using a velcro-fastened sleeve while the other JoyCon is inserted into the Ring-Con frame that comes included in the game package.
The Ring-Con frame is essentially a pilates ring, a flexible plastic loop that can be pushed and pulled without it breaking apart. The Ring-Con is definitely durable: it "uses fiber-glass reinforced plastics in its spring, the same material used for aircraft and ships", according to Nintendo of Japan.
Your movement data is fed into the game and as you move, you make your avatar move on the screen too. Ring Fit Adventure does a great job explaining how to perform exercises correctly and whenever you are required to do an exercise, a little explainer animation will also be shown on the screen to reiterate the information you are told.
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure review: calibration and setup
When you first boot up Ring Fit Adventure, the JoyCon inserted in the RingCon will be updated which will take a couple of minutes. Before each session, you are required to pull and push the Ring-Con and also to do a bit of a warm up too. As well as that, when you start the game, you will be asked how the last session felt and you can adjust the difficulty up and down to your liking.
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure review: game modes and health tracking
The main story mode of the Ring Fit Adventure can be considered as a simplified RPG: as you complete more and more sections in the game, you collect XP and unlock new moves as well as new abilities. There are altogether 44 different unlockable exercises but you can only equip six for each 'mission' so there is an element of planning present in the game too.
I was a bit concerned at the beginning about being able to swap exercises in and out: I thought people might use this swap in easy exercises and complete the game the easy way. Thankfully, the designers at Nintendo thought about this and introduced a colour-coding system meaning some enemies can be defeated quicker using a certain type of exercise. This way, each mission has a different theme and the game also recommends equipping specific moves before most stages.
Different concoctions can be created from ingredients you find when run around the stages which will give you temporary boost. Clothes can also provide more permanent stat boost; these can be purchased in the shops. All things considered, Ring Fit Adventure won't require Final Fantasy VII team-planning but it's a nice effort to include some level of customisation so you have a sense of control over your progression.
There are also mini games that focus on different areas of the body. Completing mini games is a great way to train certain muscle groups and really build muscle definition, should you want to. Granted, playing Ring Fit Adventure won't replace dumbbells or kettlebells but you will be surprised how much effort it takes to squeeze the Ring-Con above your head, 30 times in a row.
Ring Fit Adventure uses a range of metrics to calculate calories burned. You have to state your gender, age and weight at the beginning and at the end of each stage, the game will read your heart rate using the sensor at the bottom of the JoyCon inserted into the Ring-Con.
At the end of each stage, your moves are tallied up and the appropriate amount of XP is given to you which is used to level up your avatar. When levelled up, your avatar's attack and defense points go up, but since the enemies will get tougher too it doesn't really feel like much of a help.
Truth to be told, I haven't tried grinding away on easier stages to see if I can beef up my character but even if you could do that, I don't see any point as the main storyline is fun and rewarding enough as it is.
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure review: verdict
I was genuinely surprised just how fun it was to play Ring fit Adventure. Being a member of a special breed – I like video games probably almost as much as fitness – I found playing Ring Fit Adventure a rewarding and fun gaming experience. In a world of hyper-realistic FPS and ultra-detailed real-time strategy games, Nintendo yet again showed us that there is another way to keep players engaged and get players moving in real life.
Ring Fit Adventure is not a perfect game: especially at later stages, repeating the same exercise a million times can get a bit repetitive and thanks for the 'best of all worlds' approach, it doesn't quite deliver the perfect RPG or adventure experience. That said, Ring Fit Adventure does a really good job in gamifying fitness and to introduce the concept of daily workouts to people who might otherwise just sit around all day.
If you are even vaguely interested in video games and fitness, you should definitely try Ring Fit Adventure. Some might find the price tag for a fitness game a bit too steep but given the unique gaming experience, the huge replay value and the quirkiness of the concept, it is worth investing in this game. If you need further justification, consider buying Ring Fit Adventure as an investment in your fitness (also health) and not as buying yet another game for your Switch. That is if you find a copy of the game somewhere as it is hot commodity.