Turning gaming fitness up a notch
I’m constantly conflicted when I play video games. I’m an active and energetic person, but I also love to sink hours into RPGs, MMOs, and casual sims. I try to balance fitness with my more sedentary pursuits. Unfortunately, like most people, I struggle to motivate myself to exercise when I’m tired or stressed, and video games just seem a lot easier.
Nintendo gets it; they’ve always made fitness games for their consoles. Unless unless you consider Pokemon Go a fitness game, there hasn’t been much to rock the boat. Ring Fit Adventure takes the idea of what a gaming exercise experience can be to a new level, and it’s done in a way that is both accessible and addictive.
Ring it up
I’ve been at a low point in my fitness recently. My hope with Ring Fit Adventure was that it would still feel like gaming, while helping me stay active. It’s an investment to get the game, as you do need the Ring controller and accompanying leg strap to play. When it arrived, the first thing I did was I was give the ring a couple of big ol’ Hulk crunches to test its durability. I had been concerned that the Ring would wear out with use, but it seems bulletproof. The leg strap is sewn to be durable, and is long enough to go around most leg sizes.
I fire up the game, yoga pants and water bottle equipped. After setting up the controls, I find myself off on an RPG adventure where I have to run in place to move through the landscape, using my Ring controller to interact. In game, Ring (yes, that’s really his name) the little ring spirit guides you along your way on a quest to save the world from Ring’s former protege, Dragaux. As you progress, you unlock more worlds, exercises, and even in-game Smoothie recipes! You character gains Attack and Defense stats as you level, just like a real RPG. You can also buy outfits to add more buffs. These elements aren’t super in-depth, but they’re enough to encourage you to keep working towards saving the day. And, of course, coming back each day to exercise.
Ring Playing Game
The physical experience is… interesting, and running in place feels awkward and dorky at first. However, you get used to prancing your way through the Ring universe surprisingly quickly. If you live in an apartment, the game has a Quiet Mode setting, letting you play without stomping all over your neighbour’s ceiling. When I encounter my first set of baddies on the trail, I discover where the real workout happens. The player uses a wide variety of exercises to target and destroy cute little fitness enemies. Depending on the colour of enemy, you receive an advantage by doing the exercises that correspond with that colour. For instance, a red enemy is arm-based exercises. In this way, the game encourages you to work across the different areas of your body.
I’m not a fitness expert, but I feel that Ring Fit Adventure does a great job of ensuring that you’re exercising at a level that works for you. You’re prompted to do a guided warmup and cooldown before and after your routine, and the game also asks you regularly if you’d like to increase or decrease the difficulty. Also handy is the heart sensor, which provides you with your heart rate based on your thumb placed over the sensor.
The only sticking point for me here was that the leg sensor seems unable to correctly detect my movements when doing some of the floor exercises like planks. Overall, I’d say that the level of challenge and type of exercise provided by the Ring Fit is ideal for folks who are generally sedentary or wanting to maintain an average level of fitness. If you’re trying to lose weight or bulk up, you’ll likely need more than Ring Fit to achieve those results.
Ring a Ding Ding
After 12 sessions, I was regularly working up a sweat, targeting new areas of my body, and only a small way through the game. There’s heaps of areas to explore, with mini-games and treasures to keep things interesting. Additionally, outside of the main campaign format, there are targeted workout training sessions. These are smaller fitness games to add variety and encourage you to keep fit. I’m so happy to have it for days when I start feeling stink about not doing much. I can just do a fun 20-minute session and feel a bit better about myself.
Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic game for all ages to practice good habits around fitness, and a brilliant way to offset your hours of game time with a bit of cardiovascular goodness. It’s a rich, well thought-out game with a great control system that’ll keep you coming back for more. I think Nintendo deserves a big Thank You for caring about creating content that will keep gamers healthy, alongside having fun.