Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: Physical
Category: Sports, Practical, Training
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: October 18, 2019 (Worldwide)
Price: $79.99 USD
As a developer with big ideas, the drive to see said ideas become a reality and the money to pull it off, Nintendo are no strangers to indulging in the weird, the wonderful and the downright whacky.
They are the masters of gimmicks, creativity and they certainly like to get their massive audience to get up from the comforts of our lavish couches and look like a bit of an idiot as we attempt to lose some weight by playing an all-new fitness game and Nintendo are back at it once again.
Having first teased Ring Fit Adventure in early September 2019 and then properly revealing it a week later, Ring Fit Adventure swiftly proved to be the exergaming RPG we never asked for, but let’s be honest, desperately needed and now that it’s release is almost upon us, it is time to go into the many reasons why I love it so!
Dragons, they can breathe fire, they can fly and in Ring Fit Adventure, they can be a body-building dragon called Dragaux, who likes to lift weights and cause devastation. In an epic adventure across a game world comprised of more than 19 worlds, made up off 100+ levels, players must join forces with the mysterious Ring and set after Dragaux, after freeing him in the first place.
Stopping Dragaux won’t be an easy task however, for his minions will block your path at every turn and just in case performing various yoga poses aren’t enough to deter you from your righteous pursuit, you will need to traverse grassy fields, rocky canyons and much more. Do you have what it takes to do battle against a dragon in a see-through leotard?
It’s time to put down the Pro Controller, for two new accessories have stepped onto the scene and if you’re looking to give Ring Fit Adventure the go it deserves, you’re going to need them!
Thankfully, the brand new Ring-Con and Leg Strap come bundled with Ring Fit Adventure, and both are actually an impressive piece of kit. It’s not the lightest thing in the world to hold, but the Ring-Con is surprisingly durable and responsive and vital for multiple in-game actions.
Coupled with the Leg Strap, which you’ll need to strap high up on your left Thigh, the two accessories, and the associated Joy-Con, which you slid into their respective accessory, every action you make is then read, interpreted and put into effect on-screen.
For instance, when characters are conversing, or you’re on the game’s title screen, pressing in on the Ring-Con can be used to make a selection, whereas pulling out on the accessory, causes you to cancel your action. You can then rotate the Ring-Con to move your selection to the left and right and you can even lift it up, or down, to have your selection move up and down, but that’s just the basics.
As you progress in the game and newer exercises are acquired, one minute you can be asked to run on the spot for movement, only to tilt your body and Ring-Con and press in, just to blast a crate, or pull out and inhale coins that are just out of reach. Then, because that’s just the beginning, you can be tasked to perform squats to open treasure chests, perform knee lifts to climb stairs and so much more.
With regards to how levels are handled, the majority of the time, it’s a case of getting from one side of the level to the other, in between facing hurdles and performing a victory squat when you do reach the finish. However, being as though Ring Fit Adventure is also a turn-based RPG, there are also side quest, and a whole array of enemies who are looking to pick a fight with you.
When battles are triggered, players and foes, take it in turns performing their desired action, but in the turn of the player, they are welcome to cycle through the available skills before confirming which one they wish to use, but don’t just make a selection for the sake of it.
Choosing the right skill requires strategy as using a specific coloured skill will do more damage to an opposing monster and some skills do more damage than others. Some even have a higher cooldown than others as well, so just because one particular skill might be a favourite of yours to perform, it’s pointless to use it on a weaker enemy, only to have to wait two turns before you can use it again on a tougher monster.
You’ll also need to take into account just how many monsters you can hit with the preferred skill as there are single hitting skills and skills that will hit every monster you’re faced with. What’s more, once a decision has been made, and its time to execute your chosen skill, timing is everything and in RPG Mario fashion, perfection is meet with more damage being administered.
Once your move has been made however, it’s time for the monsters to have their go, but thankfully, defence is on your side. As your opponents take it in turns to hurt you, players are advised to use an Ab Guard to guard against the forthcoming damage and depending on how well you do, the less damage you’ll sustain. Be warned though, if you lose all your hearts, you will fail,
Still, what are the benefits of all these exercises and running? Well, the more you put into Ring Fit Adventure, the more you’ll get out of it. Everything you do, every action taken and every battle won, can earn vital EXP that can be used to level up their player, earn stat bonuses, learn new skills and improve your number of hearts.
What’s more, just in case you are finding the game on the easy side, you can always increase the difficulty and see just how much you were able to make your heart race, at the end of every level, by utilising the IR Sensor on the right Joy-Con. But, for the players who are worried about making too much noise when playing, there is also an in-game option that enables the player to only perform quiet exercises.
Yet, even after all everything I’ve said above, there is still plenty more to the gameplay of Ring Fit Adventure, but it’s content and features that are worth experiencing for yourself, and not just reading about.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Ring Fit Adventure’s main dose of content is in its Adventure Mode. With more than 100 levels, across 20+ worlds, there’s plenty on offer for players to sink their teeth into, especially when you take into account that Ring Fit is an RPG with plenty of collectible titles and outfits for players to acquire and smoothies that deserve to be made.
Because of how the game works though, players will not be able to cane the entire campaign in a matter of days, unless they are a fitness fanatic, or have a group of friends they can share the experience with, but because it’s something you can enjoy for 30 minutes to an hour a day, it’s certainly a game you can enjoy over a few weeks, as you work on improving your personal skill level.
Just because you won’t be able to fast forward straight to the end any time soon, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other things you can do, such as playing other modes that allow you to customise a workout routine for you to stick to. Heck, there is even a minigame and challenge mode for players to enjoy, but my personal favourite additional mode, has to be Multitask mode.
With the latter activated, players are able to put their Switch into sleep mode and still use the Ring-Con by pushing the analog stick in and activating the controller. With the Ring-Con ready for use, players can endure an off-screen workout session of pulling and pressing the Ring-Con up to 500 times before the accessory stops reading your movements.
One benefit of the off-screen workout however, is the fact your actions can earn you an award, which you can assign to your save file and collect the very next time you return to Adventure mode. Once the rewards have been collected, which can only be done once a day per player, another player is welcome to take advantage of Multitask mode and earn their own daily rewards.
When it comes to audio, just because Ring Fit Adventure looks like an adventure driven RPG game that borrows from Splatoon 2’s and ARMS’ colour palette, it’s a musically average title at best.
Sure, the voice acting is clear and audible, but I wouldn’t class it as being a highlight of the game. It’s tolerable, but I’m not too sure I could say the game is better for having it, as I’m sure it would work just as well without it.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
If you ever find yourself wondering why the world of Ring Fit Adventure looks so familiar, it’s because the game actually runs on the very same engine that was created for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and there are instances of the game world in Ring Fit that looks a lot like something straight out of Breath of the Wild.
Given the amount of time, money and effort that it took for Nintendo to create such a world, I don’t blame them one iota as to why they’d reuse the engine again, especially for a quirky spin-off such as Ring Fit, which it fits perfectly.
Still, it is good to see they did spruce things up a bit by given Ring Fit more of a vibrant feel to it, thanks to the game’s colour scheme, which sees it nicely matching up with the likes of Splatoon 2, ARMS and even various Nintendo Labo minigames.
On the performance side of things, Ring Fit Adventure handles itself rather well. All actions performed with the Ring-Con and Leg Strap accessories are perfectly captured and implemented in-game and there were never any noticeable slowdowns throughout the duration of my adventure.
What’s more, when players set their own difficulty and speed things player movement as a result, the game continues to process these movements and actions with what seems to be the simplest of ease, which only furthers just how well put together this game really is and how nicely it all fits together.
I’ll be honest, I can’t help but be impressed by Ring Fit Adventure. What appears to be a simplistic fitness game on the surface, is anything but. The 60+ real world exercises are perfectly executed and there is just so much depth to the game that you wouldn’t even notice, if you wasn’t looking for them.
I however, was looking for them and that’s the reason why the first time I saw the protagonist having to trudge through a body of water, I was impressed progression required the player to do knee lifts just to advance.
I also like the fact during Fit Battles that players are not able to consecutively repeat the same exercise, especially since when body-building or just working out, constant repetition can do you more harm than good. Yes, reps are vital, but so is variety and Ring Fit Adventure certainly has plenty of it.
If it were up to me and the clocks could be reversed, Ring Fit Adventure should have been the quirky Nintendo game we got at the launch of the Nintendo Switch, not 1-2-Switch. By no means is it the greatest RPG in the world, but it’s a creative title that nails its motion control gameplay in every aspect worth talking about, even if it does feel like an expensive piece of gym equipment.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*A review copy and associated accessories were provided by the Publisher for the purposes of this review
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