By: Jonny Casino
I’m 38 and a father of 2. These two factors make it difficult to exercise and they should be what drives me to get in shape. Honestly, they are not what I think about when I want to be healthier. All I do is look in the mirror and realize my man boobs are not appealing.
For 12 years I was in the Navy. I was a mechanic on a submarine. Every day, I would spend my days turning wrenches, lifting heavy pipes and valves, and going up and down ladders. I was never in amazing shape, but I was fit. Ever since leaving the Navy, I’ve struggled with fitness. I’ve had gym memberships. I’ve owned high-end ellipticals. They work for me for a bit, but I always fade away from them. I get bored and I find excuses to stop using them. On top of it all, I have major joint issues. Jogging isn’t an option for me if I want to be able to walk. Add to that that I now spend 60% of my time in hotels. I’ve always looked for new options to inspire me to stick with an exercise plan and one that I can take with me.
Along comes Ring Fit Adventure from Nintendo. This is a “game” that I was instantly skeptical about. Nintendo’s last fitness game had a stand that told young girls that they were fat. Nintendo makes amazing games, but fitness has been a bit of a miss.
Christmas has now passed and the big meals are behind me. I know I need to do something. I could wait a couple days and make it my New Year’s resolution, but those are made to be broken. Instead, I’ve taken a gift card and decided to try the game out. I could just wait and give you a review once I’ve had it for a few months, but I feel a day by day analysis of how it goes for me would be much more valuable.
Day One: I’ve Bought In
Today I read many reviews from verified purchasers of Ring Fit Adventures. I was shocked to find nothing below 4 stars on one popular store’s website. I took my gift card and made the purchase. Now I’m in and I need to give it a big try or I’m going to regret wasting a Christmas present.
I unboxed it all as soon as I could. The game case instantly going next to all my other Switch cases. The ring felt very solid, and I gave it a good push and pull. The leg strap was made of comfortable material and looks like it could fit even the largest legs. I popped in the cartridge and away I went.
The game starts with getting everything calibrated for the player. It asks about age, weight, and desired workout experience. It also calibrates the JoyCons that you have put in the strap, now on your leg, and in the ring. I was very impressed by the accuracy of it all.
The actual game started with a story, but I won’t bore you with the details because it’s really not a selling point. I’m glad the workout is built into a game, but the story doesn’t mean much. I started out running down a path and learning how the ring makes the game work. When I say “running” I mean that I had to jog in place to make my character move. Going up stairs means jogging in place with higher steps. It’s not a hard-core workout, but it got my heart beating.
Eventually, I made it to a fight. To battle, I had to pick a workout to attack with, and each repetition of the exercise was one hit. I assume the number of reps is based on the desired level of exercise you request. These exercises consisted of squats, crunches, arm lifts, and even some yoga moves. I appreciated that I could choose a workout because some of them bothered my joint problems.
I encountered 3 fights today. The first two were little guys and did not require a lot to take out. Each exercise I chose had me do about 17 repetitions, and the battles required me to do 2 exercises to defeat them. Even though they were weak, I did start to sweat and could feel the burn. This could be because I’m extremely out of shape.
I played through to the first boss fight. Once again, the story leading me there is not worth getting into. The boss fight had me feeling it. I don’t remember how many different exercises I had to do, but it was enough to where I had the desire to stop. For this fight, I chose to put the exercises on random and I think I’ll do that for most of the fights to come. I hate choosing attacks, and they all do the same damage.
After the first day, I was left with these thoughts: The workout feels legit and got me tired and I like that it tells me what to do and makes me jog in place between other exercises. The tech actually impressed me as well with the tracking. The game allows you to check your heart rate with the IR sensor on the JoyCon, and this turned out to be very accurate when comparing it to my Apple Watch. I think I’ll wake up sore, and I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow’s workout will bring.
Day 2: Rough Return
I woke up today not as sore as expected. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. I wasn’t feeling great, so I put off my exercising until the evening. This turned out to not be a great decision. By the time I started the game up, it was close to time to start dinner and I was feeling a bit weak. These issues led to a very short workout.
Today’s game started on the second world. As with the previous worlds, this one starts with jogging in place while heading towards the first enemy. This time, it was 2 little bad guys waiting on my path. I didn’t think much of this and jumped into battle. I decided to put the different exercises on random and let the game choose what I was going to do.
I didn’t get to choose which of the two to attack, which was fine by me. Throughout the fight, I eliminated one of the two while taking a good bit of damage. There isn’t any skill involved in defending yourself, that I’ve seen, so, when I was getting smashed. I didn’t know what to do. Before I could take down the second enemy, I was dead. I wasn’t sure what to think about this. What could I have possibly done differently?
Turns out, the game was showing me that your character sometimes needs to level up to take make it through some levels. At the bottom of each level, it shows what level you need to be. In this case, I needed to level up once. This is the equivalent of grinding in a real RPG, which I hate. I guess in a game like this it doesn’t really matter because the point is to exercise. I went back to a previous level, leveled up, and was ready to move on. This was about the time I knew I needed to stop, or my kids would start eating their own arms. Tomorrow will be a longer work out.
Day 3: I Power On
I woke up feeling better and decided to get my exercise in early. This time I wasn’t feeling weak and I wasn’t rushed. When I started up the game, I jumped right back into the second world. Turns out, I had villagers to save!
I approached the same enemies that took me out the day before, and I was able to defeat them without any problem. I jogged in place and fought my way through groups of enemies as I conquered 2 levels and one minigame. The entire workout took about 40 minutes, but the game told me I only exercised for 18 minutes. My exercise is tracked as yoga on my Apple watch because I have to have something to show me constant achievements.
I came across a few new things today. The first is that they add new exercises as you level up. This is important because the different exercises attack different ways, which I will get into in a minute. The other great part of adding new exercises is that it gave me options to choose ones that don’t hurt my shoulders. There are a couple that require squeezing the ring and they cause me a lot of shoulder pain if I do them too often.
The second new thing I came across was an enemy that would block in different directions. This meant I had to choose an exercise that attacked in a way that wouldn’t be blocked. Some exercises attack upward, some downward, and a new one sweeps across. On top of that, some exercises attack multiple enemies on the screen and others just attack the one. This aspect actually makes Ring Fit Adventure feel like a real RPG (kinda).
Day 4: More Game Play Revealed
Today, I decided to exercise early again. I have a lot to do today, so I knew this could be a short one. When I got into the game, I was about to head into the boss fight for this world. The ring (your companion in the game) told me that the main bad guy, who you fight at the end of each world, had stollen his five powers. It’s time to fight him and try to get one of them back. One problem. This fight says I should be level 11 and I’m only at 10.
Back to replay an earlier level I go. I blew through this one, but I was not jogging fast. I’m not sure if it was a tracking issue or just because my body wasn’t in the mood. I had to walk away from my Switch several times to find my puppy that is potty training. Each time, I would have to reconnect one JoyCon, but that didn’t seem to be an issue.
After leveling up, I stepped up to take down the boss. It honestly was not a tough fight, but I did break a sweat. I was being careful about which exercises I chose because my shoulders were really bothering me. The boss had 3 points to attack, and I needed to take out the two side ones first. This meant choosing exercises that attacked all three points or ensuring my exercise would attack a specific point (something I had to figure out how to do).
I decided to call it a day after the boss. I earned another exercise and learned that I could only have a certain number in my arsenal, choosing to replace one that really bothers my shoulders. I also gained one of the ring’s powers that had been stolen and will have an indication of which exercises will work best against which enemies. They really are trying to make this game more like a real RPG.
Day 5: It Got Real
Today was a real workout. I completed three levels and almost regretted not stopping after 2. By the end, I was sweaty and tired. One thing I really need to figure out is how excited am I to keep going. I woke up and knew I was going to play, but I’m not sure if the game is motivating me or if the motivation comes from me writing about the game. Either way, I’m 5 days in.
So, what was new today? Well, I was able to use the color coding to determine which exercise the enemy was weak against. This ended up making me do more of the ones that bother my shoulders, but I fought through the pain. I received a new exercise that was more of a yoga move. This allows me to keep going but give myself a little break. I was able to buy new clothes! I let my son pick the outfit, which was something I would never wear in real life. The clothing increased attack and defense.
Besides all that, the worthless story continued. It’s not something that bothers me, it’s just not something that excites me either. Tomorrow I will continue on. I hope to be able increase the length of the workouts and the intensity, but we will see.
Day 6: Got My Butt Kicked
I woke up feeling good this morning and ready to exercise after breakfast. Going into the game, my plan was to do 3 levels. I knew the last one would be a boss fight and that could be a workout. I also wanted to try some minigames. I saw them on the map and hoped I could work those in as an area to do.
I was lucky and started with the mini-games. One had me raise the ring above my head and lean left or right to dodge bombs and collect coins. This was not much of a workout, but still good to do. Very Yoga feeling. The second was jumping different heights to grab coins but not run into bombs. This required doing squats, which I enjoy.
From there I went through a normal level, fighting a few groups of enemies. One fight had 5 enemies, but it still didn’t feel too difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I was still getting a workout. Then came the boss fight. To get to him, I had to do a lot of jogging. When the fight began, I didn’t think it would be anything special. Just a guy with a lot of HP.
I was wrong. Each time he hit me, even while blocking, he took away two of my four hearts. I had to keep drinking smoothies to stay alive. Oh, did I forget to mention I can now make smoothies? Anyway, this fight was intense. I was doing every exercise I had. I drank all my smoothies. At one point, his attack was throwing boxes at me. I was able to break them in the air and sometimes get hearts. By the end, we were both close to death. I needed one more attack to take him out. I only had one heart, and it was his turn. As hard as I fought, I couldn’t do it. He knocked me out.
I will have to fight him tomorrow. I gained a level with the experience I received from the fight. I also learned that I need to have as many smoothies as I can. The boss fights can be tough, and they are a complete workout in themselves. I will conquer.
Day 7: The Final Analysis
It’s New Year’s Day. I didn’t drink last night, so I was ready to go this morning. This is the last day of the evaluation and I needed to make it good. I knew that I had to face the boss again, which would be enough of a workout, so I decided to start with some mini-games. I cannot do a proper review without trying everything out.
Ring Fit Adventure gives you several options for exercising outside of the Adventure Mode. I wanted to try out as many mini-games as I could. There were so many. I was able to jump by squeezing the ring and flinging myself upward, run against a treadmill to get coins, do core workouts to dodge bombs, and much more. None of these had me sweating, but they were a good start.
The game also provides a couple ways to just workout. No story, no game, just exercise. I only tried out one of these, one that focused on my core, and I really enjoyed that. It was like doing a workout video that was more guided to just me. I plan to do many more of these and bump them up to a harder level. There is a good chance this will be the way I continue in the game long term.
After my mild exercise, I headed into the boss fight. The one that destroyed me yesterday. I made sure that I had plenty of smoothies to refill my HP. I was given the option to jump straight into the fight but decided to get the cardio of going through the entire level instead. The details of the boss fight are not important, just know that I destroyed him. In the end, I was sweating, and my muscles were worn out.
Ring Fit Adventure feels like an inexpensive way to get back into exercising. I’m not locked into a gym membership. I didn’t pay crazy amounts of money for a big machine. It also takes up way less room than those machines, and I don’t have to leave the house as I would with a gym membership. The ring is very sturdy, and the JoyCon tracking is extremely accurate, with my experience. The price and tech are great.
The real question is whether or not I will keep going. Will this game continue to motivate me to exercise, or will it sit with the other Switch titles I’ve completed and set aside? Honestly, at this point, I can’t say for sure. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve been happy to do it every day. I’ve closed all the fitness rings on my watch every day, which feels good.
I think the real issue, for me, is that I just don’t care about the story or RPG elements. I plan to play through at least most of the game, but then I’ll potentially just do the guided workouts. If that keeps up, then the game is Hundo P worth the cost. If someone asked if I thought they should buy it, I would have to tell them it’s worth trying out.
Final Results According to Ring Fit Adventure:
Total exercise time: 1hr 35 minutes
Calories Burned: 494.76
Distance Jogged: 4.01 miles