I knew I would be trying out a new accessory for video game console Nintendo Switch. I didn't expect to be doing squats and jogging.
Yet, that's exactly what I found myself doing this week as I played Ring Fit Adventure, a new fitness game for the Switch.
Last week, many were left scratching their heads when Nintendo tweeted a short video of people using a new circular Switch accessory. As Nintendo just announced, the Ring-Con is an accessory for Ring Fit Adventure that senses how you position, push, and pull the ring.
The game, which costs, $79.99 will be released Oct. 18. That price includes the game itself, the Ring-Con, and the Leg Strap, which is a Joy-Con (one of the Switch's controllers) that you wrap around your leg.
You'll need to buy two Joy-Cons, and of course a Switch, which are sold separately.
This comes off the heels of Nintendo announcing the Switch Lite, a portable version of the Switch that doesn't hook up to televisions. While you can play the Ring Fit Adventure with the Switch Lite, the set up is not ideal.
The Ring-Con, along with the Leg Strap tracks your movements as you make your way through the game. The game features lots of jogging in place, especially in the story mode where you work through worlds to eventually defeat your opponent, Dragaux, a muscular dragon that represents the negative aspects of gym culture.
In order to defeat Dragaux, you play through different worlds, leveling up and increasing your attack and defense stats until you can defeat him.
My test of the game was pretty mild, so I didn't break a sweat—but my heart rate did go up to around 90 beats per minute after one exercise and a little over a 100 after another. After each exercise the game allows you to track your heart rate and says how hard you worked and how many calories you burned.
You can also increase the difficulty if you want a more intense work out.
At first, Ring Fit Adventure feels like an update to the Wii Fit, of two console generations ago, or over 10 years ago. Wii Fit, which came with a balance board accessory, emphasized checking into the game and measuring your body mass index, or BMI.
However, Ring Fit Adventure is a game first, an incentive to do fitness second.
That said, there are still quite a lot of fitness elements. There are strengthening, cardio, and yoga moves. It may have been in the middle of doing an overhead press though that I started to think: Who is this for?
Nintendo, as a brand, tends to be very child and family-focused. I couldn't see preschoolers trying to work out, even if it meant defeating a purple dragon.
Of course, it's really not for preschoolers. Nintendo representatives noted that Ring Fit Adventure is geared toward those eight-years old and up. And for players on the younger end of that spectrum, the Ring-Con can be calibrated to offer a more appropriate difficulty level.
Ring Fit Adventure is a nice option for those who want a game that allows for physical activity. It's easy to get a range of exercises in with the 40 moves in total, and the game allows for quick sessions through mini-games and other game modes like Quick Play.
There's also a Silent Mode for users with neighbors below or who want to make less noise when they would normally have to jog. Jogging will likely make noise on non-carpeted floors, and some parts require you to bring your knees up while jogging in place—creating a louder impact.
While the game is fun and provides an easy way to get exercise in, it's not a guaranteed success.
Other Switch accessories like the Labo kits, which are for games that involve building cardboard accessories, haven't met expectations with mediocre sales. Ring Fit Adventure might fare better as it has broader appeal, but it faced bigger obstacles than the Wii Fit did.