Nintendo's new fitness peripheral lets you fight dragons with squats
Nintendo has been trying to make exercise fun since the days of Wii Sports and Wii Fit, and its latest attempt may be the weirdest one yet. Ring Fit Adventure is a generic-looking adventure game played with a motion-sensing resistance ring and a controller strapped to your leg.
The game itself looks pretty basic. Players move through 20 different worlds to hunt down an evil dragon, fighting enemies in turn-based battles and leveling up their character. Yawn.
But it’s the “how” that makes it interesting. Players strap one of the Joy-Con controllers to their thigh, and slide the other into the kind of resistance ring often used in yoga and pilates. Then, to move through the game world players jog on the spot, and use the ring to attack and perform other movements.
Attacks are made using “Fit Skills,” including things like squats, knee-to-chests, thigh presses, ab presses, and bow pulls. These skills are divided into four groups that target different muscles – arms, core, legs and yoga poses, and in each case players get the chance to pick a particular exercise. Defending against enemy attacks is done by pressing and holding the ring against your abs.
Because correct posture is important for these kinds of exercises, players deal more damage and earn more experience points for performing the actions more precisely. This unlocks more Fit Skills.
Besides the main adventure mode, mini-games can be played separately to chase high scores or do specific workouts. That includes squeezing the ring to break boxes, performing squats to shape pottery, doing overhead presses to guide a hang glider, or doing the mountain climbers exercise to … well, climb a mountain.
The game difficulty can be tailored to match the starting fitness levels of individual players, and let them scale up the challenge as they get better.
Of all of Nintendo’s past attempts at combining video games and fitness, Ring Fit Adventure looks like the most fun and probably one of the closest to an actual workout. Wii Sports only took marginally more energy than sitting on the couch, and the Wii Fit Balance Board didn’t really add much outside of yoga poses. The addition of the resistance ring should actually exercise players’ arms, and the adventure game skin, while generic, looks entertaining enough to hook people into sticking to a daily routine.
Ring Fit Adventure is due to launch on October 18 for the Nintendo Switch. The pack includes the game, the ring and the leg strap for US$79.99. Check it out in action in the (extremely cheesy) video below.