Nintendo has been at the crossroads of video games and fitness since the famous Power Pad for the NES, and the Switch is the latest to receive a game powered by physical activity: Ring Fit Adventure. And it actually looks fun!
In the game, you’ll jog in place to advance your character, and perform various movements and exercises to avoid obstacles and defeat enemies. Your quest is to defeat an “evil body-building dragon” who has disrupted the peaceful, apparently very fit world of the protagonist. Sure.
The game comes with a pair of accessories: a ring and leg strap, each of which you slot a Joy-Con into. The two controllers work together to get a picture of your whole body movement, meaning it can be sure you’re keeping your arms out in front of you when you do a squat, and not phoning it in during leg raises.
The ring itself is flexible and can tell how hard you’re squeezing or pulling it— but don’t worry, it can be calibrated for your strength level.
Interestingly, the top button of the controller appears to be able to be used as a heart rate monitor. That kind of came out of left field, but I like it. Just one more way Nintendo is making its hardware do interesting new things.
There look to be a ton of different movements you’ll be required to do, focusing on different areas of the body: upper, lower, core, and some sort of whole-body ones inspired by yoga positions. Ingeniously, some enemies are weak to one or another, and you’ll need to use different ones for other scenarios, so you’re getting a varied workout whether you like it or not.
Meanwhile your character levels up and unlocks new, more advanced moves — think a lunge instead of a squat, or adding an arm movement to a leg one — and you can get closer to the goal.
There are also minigames and straight-up workouts you can select, which you can do at any time if you don’t feel like playing the actual game, and contribute to your character’s level anyway.
The idea of gamifying fitness has been around for quite a while, and some titles, like Wii Fit, actually got pretty popular. But this one seems like the most in-depth actual game to use fitness as its main mechanic, and critically it is simple and easy enough that even the most slothful among us can get in a session now and then at their own pace.
Ring Fit Adventure will be available October 18 — no pricing yet, but you can probably expect it to be a little above an ordinary Switch game.
You can watch the full-length walkthrough of the game below, but beware — the acting is a little off-putting.