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Revisiting Ring Fit Adventure: How Nintendo helped me get in shape
by João Carrasqueira
Many Nintendo games are known for their status as evergreen titles throughout a console’s lifetime, and often beyond that. Sure, Nintendo isn’t alone in that, but it’s evident that Nintendo’s games continue to play a key role in its success even late into a console’s life. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a 2017 port of a game originally released in 2014, still sold nearly two million units in the first quarter of Nintendo’s fiscal year.
Even then, you can usually tell how successful a game will be based on its first few weeks and months on the market. So, when Nintendo launched Ring Fit Adventure, even though I praised it a lot in my review, I didn’t really think it would have that kind of lasting appeal. Turns out, I was wrong. When Nintendo reported its financial results in August, it said that Ring Fit Adventure had sold over four million units as of July, with 1.17 million units sold between April and June. More recently, Ring Fit Adventure even surpassed physical unit sales of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in Japan, and though the Zelda game is also available digitally while the former isn’t, that’s still impressive.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to spend way more time at home, and made it harder to go to the gym or even just go outside altogether. I’m sure that played a big role in driving sales during this year. Personally, I’ve used the game as my main fitness tool, and looking at how it’s become an integral part of my routine and how much it has helped me, it’s easy to see that the success is deserved.
Let’s rewind a little bit. I had loads of praise to give Ring Fit Adventure when I reviewed it, but I frankly fell off if it in the weeks and months after that as I got busy with other things. I tried doing it every now and again, but that alone wasn’t doing much for me. In April, I decided to start working with Neowin full time, and I coincidentally decided it was time to commit to a fitness routine.
I started playing Ring Fit Adventure roughly four days a week, starting with the goal of reaching 10 minutes of active time (as measured by the game) each day, scaling up from there. Currently, and for most of the time I’ve been playing, I always aim for a minimum of 25 minutes of active time measured by the game, which takes me about one hour of real time to do. I also started doing bike rides almost daily - you can see what they look like in my smartwatch reviews – and I started being a bit more careful with what I eat (but not that much). Ring Fit Adventure isn’t the only thing I’ve been doing, but it’s definitely felt the most intense.
The result? When I started this routine, my scale said I weighed 95kg – roughly 209lbs. As of the time of writing this, the scale points to 80kg – 176lbs – and in many (or most) situations where I’ve met acquaintances or family members, they’ve pointed out that I look a lot slimmer. I don’t mean for that to sound like bragging, but it’s something I haven’t felt or heard in many, many years. I’m very happy that I’ve been able to use this game to not only stay in shape, but get in shape, and I’d like to talk about why it’s so great.
Nailing the basics
As I talked about in my review, the adventure mode is what makes Ring Fit Adventure so much more useful for me. What it does so well, in my opinion, is how it takes the core of what makes a videogame compelling – which is the sense of progression and purpose – and builds an experience completely based on fitness around it. Sure, fitness itself should give you a sense of purpose, but when you’re starting out, it can be really hard to understand how much progress you’re making or if it’s helping you at all. The story in the game isn’t some stellar plot with twists and turns, but it gives you a clear mission - stopping the very muscular Dragaux from spreading his dark influence over the world. And making your way through the game to get closer to him is what drives you to keep coming back and exercising more.
The regular stages in the game are courses which you have to run through, and as you progress, more means of traversal appear that force you to exercise in different ways. You may need to press in on the Ring-Con to jump, or push it against your stomach while twisting your hips to paddle along a river on a boat, and things just get more intense as you go. You may need to squat repeatedly, hold a pose, or press the Ring-Con behind your back to move along specific tracks. Simply moving through a course can feel pretty exhausting.
But that’s just scratching the surface of what Ring Fit Adventure does. In these stages, you’ll run into monsters, and that’s when the real workouts begin. Battles against these monsters work similarly to role-playing games like Pokémon, albeit a bit more simple than what you’d find in traditional games. To attack, you need to perform a specific number of reps of an exercise (or “skill”, as the game calls them), and the exercises fall under one of four categories – arms, legs, abs, and yoga. Of course, monsters can also come in different colors, representing each category. This means that, if you want to win, you’ll want to use the skills that are stronger against that type of monster, thus encouraging you to exercise different muscles.
I’d say Ring Fit Adventure does a great job of balancing the traditional game mechanics with the fitness experience so that it’s engaging enough for those familiar with gaming without warding off people who haven’t played a videogame before. The simplistic nature of the combat makes it so that anyone can understand when it’s better to use a certain skill over another, but there’s still some depth to it – some skills can only be obtained by buying them in the skill tree, and because you can only have a limited number of skills available at any given time, it encourages you to plan for which skills you want to add to your roster so that you can win battles more easily.
In battle, Ring Fit Adventure is very well thought out in how it guides players when doing specific exercises. In addition to motion sensing, each exercise is visible with on-screen poses you can follow along, and the game also reminds users to watch their posture during certain exercises, which has really helped me with things like keeping my back straight, and I’ve become much more aware of my posture even when I’m not playing.
The game is also great because it doesn’t just tell you what exercise to do, it tells you how to do it. When it tells you to squat, it’s detecting how much you’re bending your leg to know how low you’re going. You also have to hold the position for a few seconds to attack, and the game can also track that. This all makes sense and you’d probably expect it from a game like this, but I appreciate it tremendously because it truly feels like the game knows the best way to make exercises effective. If I was doing these exercises by myself, I’d probably make each rep last half a second or stopping pushing as hard halfway through, which wouldn’t be as beneficial to me.
A long adventure
This is mostly praise I had given the game back when I reviewed it, but one concern I always had in the back of my mind, even when I started my routine earlier this year, was that the adventure mode would be too short, and that I would lose motivation after that. The game offers custom workout modes and you can create your own routines, but if the adventure mode ended quickly, it would still be hard to force myself to create and stick to those routines because I wouldn’t be feeling that much progress. It takes time for someone to be able to get into that spirit.
Thankfully, I’ve been consistently surprised at how long the game lasts. Many times I’ve thought “it’s going to be over soon”, but it just keeps going, and even after months of playing the game, I’m not done with adventure mode. To me, this is fantastic, because I’m now at a point where I’m much more comfortable with exercise, and I know that when I finish the adventure, I won’t have a problem creating a routine and sticking to it.
A couple of things contribute to this. First, a key element of adventure mode is the difficulty level, which lets you fine-tune how intense you want your workout to be. Increasing the difficulty level doesn’t make enemies stronger, but it does make it so that you have to do more reps of an exercise when you use a skill, though it will still deal the same damage. This means you spend more time exercising without moving too far ahead in the story.
Each time you play, the game asks you if you want to change the difficulty level, though you can ask it to stop doing so. For the majority of the time I’ve been playing, I had the difficulty set to level 24 but I left the prompts on, so I recently increased it to 25, and it can go even higher if you want it to. I’m currently sitting at over 36 hours of exercise time in the game, and I’m still in world 19 in the game, and I don’t know how many more there will be.
Another thing that helps is the fact there’s more to adventure mode than just the main story. In each world, there are a few extra things you can do to get more exercise time. There are some standard levels that are optional, some mini-games that have you perform certain exercises with a different gameplay loop, or gyms, where you just fight a horde of enemies or do a number of exercises focused on a specific kind of training.
There are also side quests from characters in each world, and they usually involve beating a level or mini-game while meeting certain conditions, fighting a specific type of monster, and so on. I love completing as much of the game as possible, and it’s a great excuse to get more exercise time in.
I’d love to go in-depth about the rest of what the game has to offer, but I’m focusing on my personal experience with it, and like I said, I’m still making my way through adventure mode. However, I do plan on finishing it eventually, and when I do, I’ll have to create my own routines. This lets you combine sets of different exercises – like squats, knee lifts, and planks – along with mini-games or jogging courses, resulting in a custom workout that suits your preference. When the game launched, you could only create three different plans at time, but Nintendo has updated the game since then to allow users to create up to 20.
My goal is to create at least six plans – two focused on arms, two for legs, and two for abs. Depending on how long it ends up taking me to do a full plan, my goal is to combine them in a way that allows me to work out different parts of my body in rotation while still achieving the 25 minutes of daily active time I aim for. Now that winter is approaching, I may also need to start exercising for longer with the game, since I don’t really want to be riding my bike in the rain.
All in all, Ring Fit Adventure has been nothing short of a wonderful experience for me. Now, it’s not perfect in the way it controls, and sometimes the motion controls can be a little finicky, but that barely devalues what has become an absolutely essential part of my life. If you’re struggling with staying active during the pandemic, and as it seems that we may be restricted for a few more months, I recommend this game now even more than I did a year ago. It’s a great gift for yourself or for anyone you know that may be looking for a way to get in shape. It's currently available at Best Buy for $79.99 in the U.S., or at Amazon in the UK for £64.99.
The original Fire Emblem game is getting localized after 30 years
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Nintendo announced that the original release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is making its way outside of Japan for the first time since its original release 30 years ago on the Famicom. The game is coming to the Nintendo Switch eShop on December 4.
The game was announced through a tweet that plays with the fact that Marth, a main character in the original Fire Emblem game, was featured in the 2001 release of Super Smash Bros. Melee, despite the franchise being exclusive to Japan at the time.
Fire Emblem debuted in the West with the release of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (originally known simply as Fire Emblem worldwide) on the GameBoy Advance in 2003, but the previous titles were never officially brought over to other markets. However, the original Fire Emblem was remade as a DS title, and that saw a worldwide release, so this isn't exactly the first time you can experience the same overall story.
The Nintendo Switch release will be mostly like the original game, but some changes have been made to make the title more accessible for modern audiences. There's a new ability to rewind turns in battle, fast-forward for movements on the battlefield, and save states so you can pick the game up where you left off.
To celebrate the history of the franchise, Nintendo is also releasing a Fire Emblem 30th Anniversary Edition, which includes a game box replica, an art piece based on the original cartridge for the game, an art book, and a "mini Nintendo Power retro collectible". The game itself will be included as a download code - presumably it was hard to justify producing a physical game card considering the game is 30MB in size.
By News Staff
Some Nintendo Switch games are up to 33% off for Prime Day
by João Carrasqueira
As part of the many sales going on as part of Amazon's Prime Day, some Nintendo Switch games are being discounted by up to 33%. Usually, video games tend to get discounted significantly over time, but Nintendo likes to keep its games at their launch price for long, so some of these sales are interesting.
Among the discounted games, there's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is one of the crown jewels of the Nintendo Switch's library of games. Fire Emblem: Three Houses has also received a lot of praise and it's equally discounted today. While some of the deals going on today do require a Prime membership, some discounts are available for everyone. Here's the list of deals:
Game Regular price Discounted price Requires Prime? The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($44.99 without Prime) Super Mario Party $59.99 $39.99 No New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe $59.99 $39.99 No Splatoon 2 $59.99 $39.99 No Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($44.49 without Prime) Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee! $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($49.94 without Prime) Yoshi's Crafted World $59.99 $39.99 No Mario Tennis Aces $59.99 $39.99 No Fire Emblem: Three Houses $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($49.94 without Prime) If you're not just looking for games, there's also a pretty significant discount on a bundle of a Nintendo Switch Online family membership and a Switch-branded SanDisk 128GB microSD card for $39.99, down from $69.98. The Switch-branded microSD cards are usually much more expensive than regular ones, but with this bundle, you're basically getting the card for $5, since the Switch Online membership costs $34.99 on its own. You can find the bundle here.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
Steve from Minecraft is joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Nintendo held a new YouTube presentation to show off the next fighter to join the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of the Fighters Pack Vol. 2 expansion. As it turns out, Nintendo and Microsoft are once again cozying up to each other, as the new character to be added to the brawler is Steve, from the blockbuster game Minecraft.
In fact, Steve isn't the only Minecraft character joining the fight. Alex, Zombie, and Enderman are all going to be added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though the technicalities of how these characters will be implemented weren't detailed. It's likely that each character will be treated as an alternate costume for the same character slot, as we've never seen multiple characters being counted as a single addition to the roster.
Playing as the new characters, you'll see familar elements from Minecraft, such as the placement of blocks, which allow players to gain height or trap enemies in structures. It's also possible to craft explosives, swords, and other offensive items. Additionally, there also appear to be multiple stages, or variations of a stage, being added, building on the idea of different biomes and the ability to craft pathways.
The brief video didn't go into details of the character or stages, though the game's director explained that implementing Minecraft characters was a challenge due to the nature of the game, as existing stages had to be reworked to allow the placement of blocks. A new presentation will be held on October 3, just ahead of Minecraft Live, to show off the news in greater detail. We should also hear about a release date by then. This is the second Microsoft-owned character after Banjo and Kazooie were added last year.
The Crown Tundra expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield arrives on October 22
by João Carrasqueira
The Pokémon Company today revealed additional details about the second part of the expansion pass for Pokémon Sword and Shield, called The Crown Tundra. The Expansion Pass was revealed at the start of the year, with the first part, the Isle of Armor expansion, being released in the summer. The Crown Tundra expansion will arrive on October 22, roughly three and a half weeks from today.
In a YouTube presentation, CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara showed off a new trailer for The Crown Tundra, giving fans a better look at some of the content in this snow-covered area. The presentation confirmed that all legendary Pokémon from previous games will be returning in the expansion, specifically through a new feature called Dynamax Adventures. In this mode, players can team up locally or online to explore dens, where they need to make their way through a series of Dynamax battles and potentially find one of these legendary Pokémon at the end.
The trailer also revealed a new feature in the expansion, the Galarian Star Tournament. After adventuring in The Crown Tundra, players will be able to participate in a tournament, teaming up with various characters found in the original Sword and Shield games, as well as in the Isle of Armor expansion. Other characters will team up as well, with different combinations depending on who the player teams up with. It's unclear what rewards will potentially come from this, however.
To celebrate the release of the second part of the Expansion Pass, players can obtain special Pikachu wearing different hats worn by Ash in the Pokémon anime series. These Pikachu will be distributed through Mystery Gift passwords over time, and the first one is available today, featuring the hat from the original series. More codes will be posted on this page, and you can claim them using the Mystery Gift option in Pokémon Sword and Shield, even if you didn't buy the Expansion Pass.
The presentation also revealed news about Pokémon HOME, the cloud storage service that allows players to store up to 6,000 Pokémon, trade, and see additional information about Pokémon, moves, and abilities. Later this year, the service will add support for the mobile title Pokémon GO, allowing players to transfer creatures from that game into Pokémon Sword and Shield.
As a reward for transferring Pokémon from GO into HOME, players will be able to activate the Mystery Box in Pokémon GO, which allows them to capture the creature Meltan. At the same time, a Mystery Gift will show up in Pokémon HOME, containing a special Melmetal (Meltan's evolved form) that is capable of Gigantamaxing, which is the first time this creature can be legitimately obtained in the games.
As mentioned above, the second part of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, The Crown Tundra, will be available on October 22. If you have yet to buy the base games, however, a new edition including the Expansion Pass will be available in retail stores on November 6. You can read our review of the game if you're on the fence about buying it.