We're fighting for our lives. We're deprived of oxygen, our muscles are aching and our normally ghostly pale complexion has turned bright red. We find ourselves thinking that this could be the end - but at least we defeated that boss.
Let's back it up a bit. Back when the Wii was a status symbol to own we spent our fair share of hours playing Wii Fit, and some of us are old enough to remember Family Fun Fitness from the NES era. We've also reviewed work-out games played on the Xbox through the Kinect as well as the PlayStation equivalent of the PS Move. Apart from Wii Fit, however, we never really felt that workout games were that great. Nintendo managed to make working out fun, at the same time keeping much of the Nintendo brand's overall charm and personality.
Nintendo heading back into the genre felt like a sure-fire thing and now, Ring Fit Adventure is finally here. Instead of a sterile yet charming gym experience, however, Nintendo has aimed for a more "work out without feeling like you're working out" approach this time around. Ring Fit Adventure drops you into a fantasy world where an evil dragon called Dragaux is wreaking havoc and, of course, it's up to you to stop him in his monstrous tracks.
As it turns out, you do this by using the Ring-Con and Leg Strap accessories, gadgets that you strap your Joy-Cons to in order to add that necessary motion sensitivity. After making some changes to the settings, like picking a difficulty and calibrating your setup, the adventure begins. Just like in Wii Fit, jogging on the spot is a key function in Ring Fit Adventure, but here you'll find the movements change, making it feel more like a classic video game. For example, you'll be able to jump, smash boxes to get the loot hiding within, and grab items.
To manage the aforementioned actions, you'll simply move your Ring-Con around in various motions and, unlike in Wii Fit, you won't experience the frustration of your movements registering randomly. This means the game is also more fun to play, even though we would have liked to see battles with more depth. The game is also varied and breaks the main narrative up with various challenges, with evil beings trying to sabotage and halt your progress.
This, in turn, leads to turn-based battles where you defeat your opponent by working out until they've dropped dead. It starts off as a fairly simple task but gradually it becomes incredibly challenging as Nintendo adds more and more workout aspects for you to complete while reminding you to drink your fluids. Throughout the game, you'll also have a helper of sorts called Tipp, who's at your disposal and who will teach you how to do the workouts in the right way. Tipp will quickly become a character you want to slice down in a fit of fury as you hear that you've done something wrong for the 50th time, however.
With Ring Fit Adventure being an adventure game, there are also some sidequests you'll be able to take on as well as gear and consumable items you'll be able to buy. Nintendo has even managed to add a levelling system that makes playing the game more interesting in the long run. Even though it never gets as deep or as good as it would have been if it had been a true adventure game in its own right, it's definitely better than all the other workout games we've tried.
We're getting ready to read the comments that will undoubtedly be made by training enthusiasts, stating that a workout regime built around Joy-Cons will never be able to beat flailing actual weights around at the gym. Sure, you won't become a bodybuilder or jump straight into an ironman competition after having fun with Ring Fit Adventure, but that was never Nintendo's intent. You'll be working out and you'll be making an effort to get in better shape than you were - what's wrong with that?
Gamers often get yelled at for having a hobby that requires nought but a couch and a pair of hands to get into and this is where the game finds its purpose; to either complement an existing workout schedule or to make sure you work out at all from the comfort of your own home. Some of us aren't gym-goers and end up sitting on our behinds a little too often as far as physical health is concerned. For us, Ring Fit Adventure is the perfect fit.
Apart from this, it's easy to create multiple users so that your partner, your friend or your family can join the fun by working out on the same Switch. Like in Wii Fit you can also play the twelve different workout games separately to compete against a friend, which is truly entertaining. Take the intense Thigh Rider for example, where you'll be steering a vehicle through a terrain course by using your thighs. Watching someone play will offer laughs enough to satisfy your fun fix for a week, we promise. We had the most fun with the Squattery Wheel though, where you need to make a vase out of clay by using your Ring-Con.
Apart from these workouts, there are also some that you won't even need a screen for, meaning you can technically work out while watching TV or playing something else on a separate console. These workouts, however, aren't as fun. We'd also recommend that you play the game in docked mode on a TV simply because of the fact that it gets really hard to see what's going on on-screen while you're jogging on the spot, pressing the Ring-Con together with your aching thighs as your pulse goes wild.
To summarise, Ring Fit Adventure is by far the best workout game we've tried. Those who loved Wii Fit may well think that the game is too much of just that, a game, while others (like us) will appreciate the sense of atmosphere that really does make you forget that you're working out. The game is also lovely in terms of audio and visual design, which certainly helps. Ring Fit Adventure is a great game with lots to offer that will result in a near-brutal amount of burnt calories across the gamer world.