As the calendar rolls over into March a wonderful time of the year begins to approach. The days will be getting longer, the clocks will move forward, and we’ll all feel more inclined to spend more time outside. The problem? You’ve done what everyone else did all winter: stay inside, joyously eat and drink through the holidays, and perhaps watched as your waist size grew. This is normal, and not something to feel shame about, but just something that needs to be addressed. Spring is approaching and you are out of shape. It’s time to start exercising.
But where to begin? Maybe there’s too much pollen in the air to run outside and gyms can be intimidating, not to mention the pain of a membership fee. If only you could workout at home and even follow a routine of some kind. Like with Ring Fit Adventure, which came out for the Nintendo Switch last year. It’s rare that video games and exercise mesh together well, as most of them lean too much in the video game direction without getting a real workout in.
That’s not the case with Ring Fit Adventure, which just may be the best workout video game ever made. As a concept it’s pretty simple. It gives players a pilates ring, puts a joycon to their leg with a strap and asks gamers to exercise. But where Ring Fit truly succeeds is that the exercises you do actually work and the game itself is pretty fun. Historically, video games that encouraged exercise were just a series of minigames meant to get players to move around for a bit and get at most a light sweat going. Think Wii Sports or Xbox’s Kinect. They’re fun, sure, but they’ll never help you lose pounds. With Ring Fit, if you stick to it, may actually lead to some success.
The basis is an RPG you begin as a generic character, which is approached by a floating pilates ring. It asks you to free it and so you do, which is obviously a ruse. Out pops an evil buff monster dragon with the sole purpose of bringing chaos to the world with their immaculate pecs, glutes, and delts. As the monster escapes, the ring he was inhabiting takes life in the form of what will become your new exercise partner. He claims that it’s his fault the evil Draguax is bringing chaos to the world and is begging you to help him. Through exercise, of course. And so you set off on a journey of self-improvement, discovery, and lots of squats.
The game initially begins pretty linear, but as you go off into more worlds there are more paths for you to choose from. Each level is a workout where you’ll jog/run through a surprisingly gorgeous world and also fight monsters. The monster fights are done so in a turn-based RPG format that involves you using exercises to knock down their health. Squats, overhead presses, turning twists, and yoga positions are all available to you and each move does damage to the enemy.
And as you make progress, you’ll eventually gain the ability to do more damage to certain enemies based on the exercise do. For example, blue enemies are weak to lower body workouts so you might choose to do squats on that monster and save your standing twists for a yellow monster. In a way, Ring Fit is pushing you to exercise certain muscles over others, just like you would at a gym. You can, of course, ignore these suggestions, but defeating some monsters might take longer as a result. Once you finish a level you’ll do one last squat and push your ring into the air in a sign of victory.
Level length will vary based on the level of intensity you’ve chosen. Beginners will play levels with fewer reps and easier monsters making them quicker to get through. Higher intensity players will have more reps, stronger monsters making them naturally take longer. It might also be more difficult to run/jog in certain areas for higher intensity players. Luckily, the game is constantly asking you how you’re feeling before and after workouts. If you feel like things are too easy then you can knock the difficulty up a bit, or if you’re struggling you tone it down a bit. Personally, I asked the game to give me an intense workout and I can get between two to three levels per session depending on what exactly I had to do.
What’s greatest about Ring Fit Adventure though is its accessibility. Anyone can play this game. Never worked out a day in your life? The game will do its best to adjust for you. Are you a hardcore gym rat? Crank it up to its highest intensity and difficulty and go nuts. The workouts are for real and after a session, you will be sweating just as much, if not more, than if you had gone to the gym or went for a run. At the end of each session, it will give you an estimated length jogged/ran and calories burned. It’s just an estimate, but you’ll be surprised at how much you burn at the end of a session.
The only real complaints I have about Ring Fit is I feel like the leg strap slides off too easily and sometimes the joycons will lose track of where they are mid-exercise session. It’s fine on the ring, because you can flip it upside down and it will re-adjust itself, but the one on the leg is more of a pain. Nothing ruins a set of squats more than the game not recognizing that you’re actually doing them. Even with occasional issues, this is easily the best exercise video game ever made. You get an actual workout in, it’s great for beginners, and most of all it’s actually fun. If you’ve been looking for something to get you up and moving off the couch then give Ring Fit Adventure a try. You won’t be disappointed.