I've gotten a lot of mileage out of a good number of fitness video games, such as the DDR series, but it's been a while since Nintendo has put out one of their own. Wii Fit U was a predictable port of the massive hit Wii Fit, but I was playing that way back in 2015. Fitness Boxing (published by Nintendo outside of Japan) was released about nine months after the Switch's launch, and I actually played that quite a bit (more on that soon) before I switched gears and picked up Ring Fit Adventure. I got the game not long after its initial release and a good six months before the lockdown drove it up to astronomical prices.

Anyway, Ring Fit Adventure has a lot to set it apart from other exercise video games I've played. The ring itself is a very solid piece of equipment, and makes the game emphasize strength training, which is very different from Wii Fit's focus. Even after weeks of pretty steady effort, even short gameplay sessions are still pretty tough, although you can have a lot of freedom adjusting the difficulty and picking which exercises you want to focus on. The game divides up exercises into four categories (arms, legs, abs, and yoga), and although it doesn't quite force you to do exercises from all categories, you're strongly encouraged to since pretty soon after you start the gameplay changes so that exercises that match the color of the enemy you're facing deal more damage.

The gameplay loop is pretty basic. You have a world map with a modicum of a story, and you travel around to different points of interest, such as regular levels, boss levels, mini-games, and shops. Your character levels up, gaining higher attack and defense stats and unlocking special skills that you select from a skill grid. Regular levels have you lightly jogging through an obstacle course and battling enemies via exercises, and boss fights are intense battles that get to be quite a marathon of exercises, although items such as drinks that boost certain types of attacks or recover hearts definitely help. Towns take the form of basic menus where talking heads make requests that encourage you to replay a level to get a bit of extra and mostly unnecessary loot, but they're worth doing as they help level up your character anyway.

The art style is colorful and fun and there's a lot of that classic Nintendo charm. The game is really designed for longevity, much more so than the Wii Fit games. After steady playing I still haven't come anywhere near unlocking all the mini-games and exercises in story mode, and apparently there are some 22 worlds and additional new game plus modes. I was getting a little bored with it, but the rhythm game mode they added in a few months ago for free drew me back in with its simple but fun gameplay and nice assortment of modern Ninty tunes.

All in all although Ring Fit Adventure doesn't make as much of an impact as Wii Fit did back in the day, it's still a fun get-off-the-couch game and one that has much more longevity. I still pick it up every once in a while, and I'm sure when the weather gets cold again I'll be spending more time with it again.

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