Great addition if you’re using custom mode
After many, many weeks of fan bickering and complaints, Nintendo finally dropped a new Nintendo Direct yesterday that gave Switch owners a look at what they’ll be playing for the next three to four months. Sure, it didn’t have much we didn’t already know about, but given the fact the impact of COVID-19 cannot fully be measured just yet, it was good enough.
Not only did the Direct highlight some upcoming games, but it also revealed some updates to current Switch titles, including Ring Fit Adventure. An update that went live yesterday added a few new features to the title. Ring now has a female voice option, a jogging mode — that is incorrectly named as it includes more than jogging in it — new languages, and a rhythm mode. The final one is obviously the headline getter, but it’s not exactly a great mode on its own.
Rhythm mode is available from the main menu, you don’t have to do anything to unlock it, and it’s divided into two workout options: Arms & Legs and Core & Legs. The former uses the basic Ring-Con maneuvers of squeezing, pulling, and turning, as well as squats for the Joy-Con in the leg strap when you’re asked to get low. The latter has you pressing the Ring-Con into your core as you squeeze it in time to the music while standing up straight, leaning to one side or the other, or squatting down low.
Perform the action on the screen in time with the music to rack up your score. Hit it just right and you’ll gain more points. You’ll also want to make sure you’re squeezing or stretching hard enough to maximize your point total. If you’re cursed with a lack of rhythm, you can perform the action before the beat hits and still get points. Some actions will ask you to hold the squeeze or stretch. There is also a rapid squeeze maneuver for the Arms & Legs option while the Core & Legs workouts have you squeeze the Ring-Con into your gut as you shake from side to side as fast as you can. Easier said than done when you have a belly like mine.
There are 17 tracks available to play in rhythm mode and the songs each have their own routine for both of the workout options mentioned above. You can choose between novice and advance difficulties for both, and there is an unlockable super-advanced option for the Arms & Legs mode. Most of the tracks you’ll find are from the soundtrack of Ring Fit Adventure with an additional five coming from Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and Wii Fit. “Jump Up, Super Star” is the clear winner of the group while “Breath of the Wild Melody” is too demure for an exercise routine. It’s a shame no K.K. Slider songs made it into the mode (yet?) given the reception for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
After you try out two songs, you’ll be able to add these tracks to Ring Fit Adventure‘s custom mode, and this is really where it’s going to shine. On its own, rhythm mode doesn’t provide much of a workout. Playing on novice feels more like an extended warm-up than actual exercise, even if you’re attempting a long track. Advanced is more engaging, though the songs are pretty short. However, when you add these songs to the wide array of exercise options available in custom mode, it becomes a wonderful way to jazz up your routine.
The new jogging option is also available for custom mode. Jogging just removes the combat from the regular game and lets you run in place. However, it’s based on the locations you visit in the campaign, so if there is a stage where you’re not jogging but, say, paddling a boat, you’ll do that instead. Again, on its own it’s probably not an amazing workout — and it doesn’t appear you can just run in place with the TV turned to another station like you could in Wii Fit — but add it to your custom workout and it can be a nice break from all the arm and chest exercises.
An additional new feature included in the update offers a big change to the adventure mode. In versions prior to this one, when an enemy ran out of HP, the exercise ended. So if you were asked to do 10 squeezes of the Ring-Con and you killed it in two, you’d move onto the next exercise. With Ver. 1.2, you now have the option to always complete the last exercise, complete exercises that switch sides, or don’t complete exercises. That’s a change I’ve been waiting for since I first reviewed the game.
With these additions, it’s hard to argue against Ring Fit Adventure being the best fitness game you can buy for modern consoles. That is if you can actually find it. The game has basically sold out everywhere and new copies on eBay are going for north of $200. If you’re stuck inside like the rest of us and are looking for a workout, there are cheaper options like Fitness Boxing, Just Dance, or even Zumba, all three of which are available for download right now. Also, if you see somebody selling just the Ring-Con and leg strap without the game, do not buy it as the Ring Fit Adventure game is not available digitally.