The Reviews for Nintendo’s Quirky “Ring Fit Adventure” Are In

Ring Fit Adventure is the type of video game only Nintendo could make. While many developers have tried their hands at the often-unsuccessful genre of “exergaming,” Nintendo’s latest take on the concept represents a breath of fresh air, as the title amusingly combines the worlds of fitness and role-playing games by asking players to perform yoga poses and strength training exercises to defeat enemies and progress through a colorful and creative game world. The game works by combining the Nintendo Switch’s unique hardware offerings with custom fitness peripherals, as the title asks the player to connect one of the console’s controllers to a flexible ring device and to strap the other controller to his or her leg in order to track their physical movements. Reviewers have confirmed that this configuration provides for a challenging, if comical, workout, and mostly agree that Ring Fit Adventure succeeds in the difficult pursuit of making exercise fun.

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This is not Nintendo’s first foray into the world of exergaming. The company previously debuted the fairly popular Wii Fit, which included a so-called “Balance Board,” a sophisticated and expensive scale which tracks the player’s center-of-weight, used in combination with the motion-sensing Wii Remote. The title was a moderate success, but suffered from a general lack of structure, as while it included a number of activities for the player to engage in, it was devoid of character and personality. Ring Fit Adventure seeks to address this criticism, as while its basic and cartoonish story mode likely appeals more to children than adults, it nevertheless provides players with the motivation to return to the game as their avatar levels up and progresses towards the goal of defeating the title’s antagonist.

Dana Wollman, writing for Engadget, enjoyed her time with the game, and while she was not particularly interested its simplistic and childish story and characters, she thought that it was more than capable of providing motivation to those looking to incorporate fitness into their lives, particularly for children, teenagers, and families. While she notes that the game is not entirely necessary for working out, she points out that this is true of nearly all fitness accessories, as their value is not in the workout they provide but in the motivation they offer to their customers. The Verge’s Andrew Webster was even more laudatory, as he praised the game for changing his mindset about exercising, as for the first time he felt guilty when he had to pass on his daily workout. Additionally, he praised the game for being easy to fit into your life, due to its flexible yet consistent structure, though he believed the game’s heart rate measurements were likely inaccurate.

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Dami Lee, also writing for The Verge, thought the title was so fun that it works as a standalone party game, as each of Ring Fit Adventure’s twelve minigames provide an amusing and competitive experience. And Stephen Totilo, writing for Kotaku, went so far as to call the game “ingenious,” praising its success in combining a thoroughly-conceived exercise regimen with traditional role-playing-game elements, to the point where he didn’t even realize how effectively the game targeted various muscle groups, as it felt more to him like levelling up his character’s stats as in any other RPG. Though Totilo was skeptical that the game would be effective for anyone looking to build a significant amount of muscle, he considered the product a more effective motivational tool, in all of its charming weirdness, than any other he had tried.

For those who are looking for an effective and fun motivational tool for introducing basic workouts into their lives, and aren’t too afraid of looking a little bit ridiculous in the process, Ring Fit Adventure releases today, October 18, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.