Like many others, I’ve promised myself that I’ll finally get in shape in the next 12 months. Hormone therapy means I’m gaining more weight than usual anyway, and with my body changing I’d love to turn it into something I’m proud of instead of hiding away every chance I get. Gotta get those hips that don’t lie, ya feel me?
As someone without the mental fortitude to run around in public or trek to a gym, I’ve taken to developing exercise techniques I can utilise alongside my remote working environment. I’ve got a yoga mat, a kettle bell, a rolling tube thing I saw on TikTok, and even a load of resistance bands I’m afraid will snap and give me bottom surgery long before the NHS does. I have all the things I need, but despite all this, I keep being pulled back to Ring Fit Adventure like an overstretched resistance band.
Nintendo’s fitness game is the real deal. Unlike the swathe of gimmicky fitness games like Get Fit With Mel B, this experience feels like one that can make a legitimate difference in your life with the right amount of dedication. You aren’t stepping on a board or tricking motion controls into performing actions that are meant to be strenuous, you have to get down and dirty with its mechanics in order to succeed otherwise the game will happily leave you behind.
I adore this about Ring Fit Adventure, even if it feels determined to kick my ass – which it has a handful of times already. I keep coming back before falling away due to my own laziness, but that all changes in 2022. I’m going to storm through the campaign and push onward even if I want to give up, progressing through worlds that I’d once only glimpsed through unbelievable speed runs. I’m going to keep going until my sweat is so shiny and beautiful. I'm equally excited and terrified, but with Ring Fit having now passed its second anniversary, it feels weird that it hasn’t been expanded upon beyond a handful of minor post-launch updates and minigames.
The base campaign is a long and enthralling affair, taking place over a period of two months as you’re encouraged to engage in regular workouts without pushing yourself too hard. Things grow more challenging as your fitness improves, the game offering longer and more varied levels with an increasing number of exercise routines to conquer. It’s a solid method of progression, but one that relies on original worlds and enemy designs instead of taking inspiration from a Nintendo roster that could make Ring Fit so much more memorable.
We caught a glimpse of such possibilities in an update that introduced a few rhythm-based minigames that used popular songs and themes from a number of beloved titles, yet these felt like fleeting distractions as opposed to a meaningful addition. You popped in, played around with them, and resumed with the campaign, and part of me wishes that Ring Fit Adventure would take the genesis of this idea and evolve it into something more.
Imagine an entire expansion or even a sequel to Ring Fit themed around Mario, Fire Emblem, or Zelda. The Super Smash Bros. of getting swole with worlds and characters coming together as your avatar works to conquer yet another epic threat with the power of squats and lunges. It would also be a fun excuse for Link, Peach, and friends to get their exercise gear on and join you in a curated adventure that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. I mean, we’ve seen these characters engage in myriad sports across a bunch of spin-offs, so this sort of thing is far from outlandish. In fact, it sounds like an utter delight.
Alternatively, have the vibrant world of Ring Fit Adventure combine with Nintendo locales in unexpected ways, splicing them together with a mixture of sights, sounds, and mechanics that lean into the iconic status of each guest character. Routines could be mixed up with poses and exercises that remain effective from a fitness perspective yet place a spin on things that are notably gamified. Thanks to the pandemic, Ring Fit was a massive success thanks to millions of players seeking to exercise at home, so the audience is already present for Nintendo to build upon without selling new peripherals or even a physical cartridge.
I’d happily pay £25 or so for a full-length expansion to Ring Fit Adventure, even more so if it matched the original campaign’s length and sought to reinvent the core experience. We saw this with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and it was a smash hit. While this is a very different ballgame, the ongoing pandemic and increased focus on remote work for the foreseeable future means that people like me will be returning to their Switch to burn some calories, and we’d love a new dose of content to make that journey all the more enjoyable.
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