Ring Fit Adventure - Critique
Nintendo's latest fitness game, Ring Fit Adventure turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected. Not that his attempt to mix fitness and RPG is too obscure or complicated to grasp, but rather because his thoughtful and demanding workouts made me drool. For the past two weeks, I've played it on a daily basis, with sessions the equivalent of my regular fitness sessions, which have (almost) always made me sweat. But it's a daily challenge that I'm excited to take on, despite the fact that its adventure dimension turns out to be less concrete than my body aches.
The Ring itself is basically akin to a more sophisticated version of a Pilates ring. It features a slot for attaching a Joy-Con and can be used as a more traditional fitness accessory with personalized workout routines and quick challenges accessible from Ring Fit Adventure. It even has a feature that lets you perform exercises that count as part of your daily experience, even when your Nintendo Switch is asleep. But it's really the long and surprising adventure mode campaign that is its main attraction. While Ring Fit Adventure does a decent job of adapting fitness-related concepts into an RPG adventure (ideally playable in sessions of 30 minutes to 1 hour), its RPG dimension and mechanics related to it remain extremely basic, as it is also aimed at users who have never heard of Final Fantasy.
In search of physical form
The plot seems straight out of the RPG Clichés guide for Dummies: your hero mistakenly releases a bodybuilder dragon named Drago, who intends to carry out his dark plan. The latter was chained by Ring, his friend who is now your companion / training partner to thwart Draco's plans, which seem to be to make everyone go bad ... or maybe become more massive. Its real motivations remain unclear. Knowing the end of the story apparently takes an extra month of practice (knowing I've only spent two weeks on it so far), but that's not really the aspect that keeps me going.
Ring Fit takes over all the classic tropes of the RPG genre as if they were about to be forever banned from the gaming world, which is doubly disappointing, given that it ultimately takes more than lazy parody than interesting pastiche. His universe turns out to be quite offbeat, with a land called Sporta, and characters like Abdonis (puns which I must admit are rather well found), as well as protagonists whose design is similar to an anthropomorphic version. a fitness accessory. If these touches of humor are refreshing, they are often swept away by the monotony of the dialogues and the world you travel.
Ring Fit levels - including woodlands and interiors that appear to have been carved out of rock - turn out bright and often colorful, but tend to repeat themselves: you'll see the same tree over and over, the same deer, the same tile or the same wall panel. While it makes sense for this world to turn out to be quite empty, given that it is only meant to be seen briefly, such as when you find yourself aboard a fast-moving train and watching the landscape go by. , this visual poverty remains particularly visible. Ring Fit's dynamic yet generic soundtrack, on the other hand, gets the job done, but its handful of melodies only mark you because of how often they come back (although I recognize that the menu theme does for making smoothies manages to recreate the iconic groove of the Wii Shop Channel).
This repetitive nature is somewhat alleviated by the physical obstacles in your path, whether it's rocks that need to be broken - thanks to your abs - or a river that needs to be descended quickly - always putting your abs. to contribution. As the goal of each level is to literally walk a predefined path (either running in place or doing flexes, which is good news for your potential neighbors downstairs), you have relatively few opportunities to ease off. - unless a dialogue window appears on the screen. Ring is the only character to be voiced, and this fitness fade does a great job of pushing you into a bend or extra pressure, but the presence of a sidekick to cue him would have been. appreciable. Due to his enthusiasm for (literally) every action you take, he can be called upon to say some pretty awkward things. I never thought an anthropomorphic ring would eagerly ask me to squeeze it.
Feats of strength
Of course, the main attraction of Ring Fit Adventure remains its combat system based on the realization of different movements, which turns out to be quite successful. This fitness-focused role-playing game, or FRPG as I like to call it, is going to make you sweat. Each attack you have can only be used by performing all of the moves associated with it, such as tightening the ring above your head or performing the warrior pose. The customization possibilities that you benefit from after completing the first two worlds allow you to very easily adapt the difficulty according to your physical form. The Ring Fit combat system is undoubtedly its most inventive aspect, the potential of which is revealed over time.
Initially, the campaign gives you a very limited number of moves to perform, and I found myself doing a lot more flexes during my sessions than I would have liked. It was a real relief for my thighs when new movements started to be introduced regularly which allowed me to choose which ones I wanted to focus on before each level. Some of them can only be used after a certain number of turns, others can heal you, and a quickly obtained ability also allows you to match the color associated with movement to that of the enemy in order to 'get a bonus. Strategizing and utilizing Ring Fit's full arsenal is key to survival, as the battles when you select your recommended fitness level can be tough if you don't perform the right moves. . In addition to diversifying the experience, having a large number of movements available allows me to perform more targeted exercises - I had the opportunity to perform a handful of levels by performing movements specifically related to the abdominals or the arms (among others), when I had cotton legs.
All these exercises are performed using the ring supplied with Ring Fit and the leg strap, which is not very prominent and does not speak well, unlike the first accessory cited. When it comes to measuring feedback from each Joy-Con, Ring Fit exhibits amazing finesse and is able to detect when you aren't holding your yoga posture long enough or flexing your legs enough. .
You can easily fool its detection system by playing seated, but choosing this route would definitely spoil your gaming experience. When you do things right, Ring Fit rewards your efforts with amazing accuracy.
The right tools
Although I have mainly progressed by focusing on the handful of more powerful attacks, while combining them with new moves that increase my power level, some of the concepts of Ring Fit, such as the different types of attacks classified by color. , can make all the difference. In my experience, Ring Fit does a good job of adding new, familiar RPG elements to your repertoire, like a skill tree, or new outfits that improve your offensive and defensive stats. The fights never seemed boring to me, and I never felt limited when it came to drills, knowing only a handful of fun mini-games and side quests (like making the right smoothie or replaying a level to face in new) allow you to get additional rewards.
If this approach surprised me at first, I ended up appreciating the importance attached by Ring Fit Adventure to smoothies and soups, equivalent to potions in a classic RPG. The goal here is not to fill your inventory - I had to use smoothies regularly in almost all of the game worlds to survive some of the more demanding challenges, and I also had to restart some levels. in order to collect more ingredients or coins to buy some rarer smoothies. Ring Fit also succeeds in making leveling, another essential element of the RPG genre, essential and rewarding. Going through the levels and battling enemies turns out to be both a rewarding and physically stimulating experience.
Although I haven't finished the adventure yet, I can't imagine playing it any other way. This is definitely a long-term experience to build into your daily routine, and trying to finish it quickly would be of no value. I also liked the fact that it adapts to my own pace (although it sometimes happens that the proposed difficulty stagnates).