For years now, Nintendo haven’t been ones to let us rest on our laurels – or whatever else we may call our buttocks. The spirit of Wii Fit lives on in Ring Con Adventure, but will it work you out, or will you work it in – to a cupboard?
A fairly large, colourful box houses two pieces of hardware, and a full game case with a cartridge inside. We’ll start off with the hardware.
The most noticeable inclusion is a big, black plastic ring – the Ring-Con. Basically a tricked-up pilates ring, this can be squeezed and stretched, hopefully without snapping and taking an eye or two out (so far, so good). It has a slot in which to slide a Joy-Con controller. The other Joy-Con is housed in a little material pouch with Velcro – aka the Leg Strap – that, as you may surmise, you strap to your left leg. We’d suggest tightly, or it will wriggle off. If you’re Chuck Rhoades we guess you could also flick it to inflict pain upon youself. Hey, whatever floats your particular boat!
Pop in the cartridge and set the Ring Con Adventure software running and you’ll land on a skippable setup how-to. It doesn’t take long to organise, and then you’re ready to get all fit and stuff.
The software consists of the main event, which is the Adventure game, a selection of body bit-targetting Quick Play events, Custom for assembling your own workout from the building blocks provided and Multitask Mode, which allows you to get a bit of ring squishing action in even when the Switch is turned off, earning you bonus XP next time you play.
Not surprisingly, Adventure is the core attraction here, with the stated intent of wanting participants to forget that they’re working out and get lost in a game. We’re not sure about you, but we usually let Lara Croft or Nathan Drake do the sweating when we play, so Ring Fit Adventure doesn’t really nail this aim. This isn’t to say that it isn’t an interesting way to get some exercise in though, for it really is.
You choose your required difficulty setting and representative avatar at the beginning, the latter with little in the way of initial customisation beyond gender (progress equals more gear to play dress-ups with). The spirit of Wii Fit lives on here with simplified, yay-for-polygons characters, and this look follows into the game proper. Here you’ll basically jog down a path into places unknown, variously squeezing, pulling, rotating and waving about the Ring-Con to traverse obstacles, trudge slowly through wet sand, shoot targets, vacuum up others and have both turn-based gym minion and boss fights. That boss? A big, grey, leotard-wearing dragon named Dragaux. All the while, your many and varied bodily bits are being worked out in different ways. The further you progress, the more mini-exercises are unlocked.
“We’re not sure about you, but we usually let Lara Croft or Nathan Drake do the sweating when we play…”
Quick Play lets you loose on those mini-exercises, allowing you to concentrate on giving whichever muscles you wish to target some attention. Custom basically just allows the stringing together of these mini-exercises into your own preferred workout, without having to keep selecting after each brief activity like in Quick Play.
All the while, everything you do is being monitored – calories burned, distance run and even pulse, via jamming a thumb over the IR camera. These Joy-Cons really are clever little jiggers (and the Vitality Sensor lives on in spirit!) The game even reminds you to take breaks and keep hydrated – possibly more a doing of the lawyers than care for player welfare, but then we might just be too cynical for our own good. Regardless, it works and is a good thing.
Ring Fit Adventure really is a cool and, most importantly for the sake of longevity, fun way to get up out of the old couch groove and burn a few calories. It may not be a substitute for a gym membership, but for those who eschew such luxuries and end up with more good intentions than actual workouts, this could be the ticket into being able to climb those stairs a little easier next time. Oh and hey, the hardware is much less cumbersome than that of Wii Fit, so at the absolute worst it will make for less noxious landfill one day.
Ring Fit Adventure is available now for Switch.