First I would like to offer my sympathies to everyone who can’t find a copy of this game. Ring Fit Adventure is sold out across the world, and it’s gonna be a while before it’s readily available again. Even when it launched it was selling well, but now with the virus situation it’s sold out everywhere as a practical way to exercise indoors. It’s being resold on places like eBay for triple the retail price, and Nintendo’s also had to slow down production a bit. Who would have thought it would be this hot an item? Well, at Pietriots we already knew Ring Fit Adventure was Better Than Real Life, and it was also my personal Game of the Year in the Pietriots end of year podcast. Okay, enough gloating.
If you are one of the lucky million people who got their hands on Ring Fit early on, good news! A free update has just launched with a brand new rhythm mode. It features 17 new songs, with two ways to play and multiple difficulties. The songs are mostly from Ring Fit itself, with a couple of guest songs from other Nintendo games like Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2 and Wii Fit.
I jumped right into the Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 medleys much to my regret. The songs are awesome, but they are two of the longest songs and 3 minutes feels like an eternity when you’re applying so much force. I recommend starting with the 1+ minute songs at the start of the list, just so you know what you’re getting into. There’s two different modes you can choose to play the songs, one that focuses on arms, and one that focuses on your core. The arms one is much more intuitive and I’ll go through that first.
You push and pull the Ring-Con to match the icon that flies towards you, and tilt left or right depending on the position. Sometimes you’ll have to hold a squat while doing all this, following the arrows to move up or down. Each note by itself isn’t too difficult, but stringing it together turns into a solid workout. The notes fly a lot slower than they would in a traditional rhythm game, but for good reason. Moving your entire body is a bit harder, and takes longer than pressing buttons with your fingers in rapid-fire succession.
It was difficult to take a decent screenshot while playing this, so have a look at this video I tweeted instead to get a better idea. The notes fly from the top of the screen and come towards you.
I got perfect scores in a few of the easier songs, a good testament to how accurate the controls are. It feels very snappy and fun, making it easy to enjoy the music. Then I tried the “core” version of the rhythm game and it wasn’t quite as good. There’s nothing physically hard about it, but it doesn’t seem to register my inputs nearly as well. Instead of pressing in the Ring-Con with your arms to do these, you squeeze it into your abs and lean your body left and right. There can be a delay of 2 seconds after you’ve done this, and that’s enough to miss a lot of notes. Then it becomes hard to recenter when you’re catching up to the lag. The whole thing feels unnatural, with the Ring-Con threatening to slip out from your abs just from normal presses. Maybe others have figured it out better than me, but it’s just my experience. It’s a shame this part sucks, because it means the rhythm game only really provides an arm workout with the occasional squat. It’s very biased in one muscle area so it’s hard to play a lot at once.
Good thing they added more stuff with this update. The perfect compliment to this rhythm mode is free jogging! You can finally enjoy the wonderful environments from Adventure Mode in both Custom and Quick Play.
Ah, feel that fresh open air that you can’t experience in the real world anymore. There’s no actual content added to the jogging, but they didn’t need to add anything. This new mode just makes it more accessible, so you can immediately jump into it without the story mode fluff. The story mode is so huge that I haven’t even finished it yet months later, so I can’t give you a total number of jogging stages. More than seven. Enemy encounters and dialogue are taken out, but obstacles like the squat swing and jumps are still there, and you can still grab coins.
After a relaxing jog it’s tempting to go right back to the rhythm game and destroy your arms again. There’s a lot you can do there, with online rankings and two higher difficulties to unlock on top of the standard two. Ultra-Advanced is the 4th and hardest one I’ve unlocked, and I can barely comprehend how it’s possible at this point. Here’s a crap attempt of me trying to keep up. It seems like the Ringcon has a certain limit when the game expects you to press it like a button input. Maybe I just need practice. I’m perfectly content playing the easier difficulties and enjoying the music though, the physical workout on either difficulty is still pretty similar.
They’ve also added a few more language options to Ring’s voice, as well as a female option. It’s refreshing to have a new voice yelling at you.
To be honest, they probably could have sold this update as DLC and it would have still been worth it, it’s shockingly good value added to an already large game. It’s rare that a free update for a game is so substantial that it gets its own writeup, but that’s how impressed I am. It’s an unexpectedly generous update and I’ll always welcome new types of gameplay. The rhythm game also highlights how good the original Ring Fit music is, because some of my favourite tracks so far in the rhythm game are Ring Fit songs like the Snow Mountain theme. There are some real bangers. This is a very original, creative game that just got even more content.
A final note on the game itself, I’ve still been playing and enjoying it even before this update. This game keeps my interest better than other “quality of life” games. Brain Training for example has gotten a bit boring for me, probably because of the lack of “game” in there. Ring Fit Adventure continues to be a good workout, and a top tier videogame bursting with joy and creativity. Both of those are just as essential to good health.