I was still back and forth on whether to pick this up but the reviews were saying that it's a lengthy adventure and then Dcubed asked for some impressions, so I nipped up to Argos and picked it up. Don't say I don't do anything for you.
I quite like the message that is in the box.
An inspiring message that a lot of our nation should take heed of. I wonder if the box has the same message in the US? Over there it probably doesn't come with a ring and instead is just a pizza in the box.
Setting up everything is stupidly simple and fast. You just plug your right joy-con into the ring and then strap the leg strap onto your left thigh, before sliding the left joy-con into the pouch. I was worried about taking screenshots and thought I would have to keep reaching for my left thigh in order to take a snap. Thankfully, Nintendo thought about this and you can take a snap by hitting the R trigger on the right joy-con. With the way that it is positioned in the ring it makes it very easy and accessible to capture a moment.
I started off by jumping straight into the adventure mode. The game will get you to do some small stretching exercises first just so you don't do yourself an injury. Also, when you first fire up the game you get asked a bunch of questions and depending on how you answer them the game will set your difficulty level. It set mine at 18 and I thought I got a half decent workout out of that level. You can alter this if you feel it to be too strenuous or too easy.
The character creation is VERY basic. I was hoping for a few more customization options but sadly that wasn't to be. You can select a skin tone, eye colour and that's pretty much it. I do think more costumes/armour becomes available during the course of the adventure, so we'll see what that brings to the table.
The story starts off with your character picking up Ring and agreeing to help him take down the big steroid filled baddie that has stolen all of his powers. Yeah, pretty basic but we aren't here for the story are we.
The game is split up into chapters/worlds and with each of these are numerous stages. Getting through the stages involves running on the spot and then taking on enemies when you encounter them. Running is done quite well in the game and I appreciate the options that have been put into it. You have the standard running move where you jog on the spot or you can select the silent running mode. This allows players to do squats rather than running on the spot. This is great for those who don't want to make a noise or are playing in a room that isn't on the ground floor.
As you run through the stages you will see small coins and 3 large coins scattered about the area. You can grab these coins by simply running into them or by stretching the exercise ring which will fire up a suction move, sucking in all of the coins that you aim at. The large coins are worth keeping an eye out for because they will offer a bit of an exp boost at the end of the stage. Some of them you will have to have quick reactions to nab because they are on paths that will require you to jump to.
The stages I have encountered so far have already had a bit of variety to them. Some are tailored for more enemy encounters, which means more static exercises, whereas others are fitted out with things to jump over and conveyor belts that you have to run against. These seem to have fewer encounters but that's because you are doing more cardio. During one of the cardio stages there was a huge conveyor belt at the end of the level. You have to pump those legs to get up to the top. After all of these years I now know how the contestants of Gladiators felt when reaching the Travelator.
The levels with lots of enemy encounters also offer a good work out, so don't think you're getting off easy by select these stages. The moves you have at your disposal are a mixed set of exercises and Nintendo has been clever about what they start you off with. The battles can take a bit of time at the start of the game, especially the final boss battles of a world. That being the case, it could be very easy to get tired during these lengthy fights. Thankfully, the moves that you start with are a nice mixture of yoga style movements and more active type exercises. What I was doing was attacking 2 turns in a row with ring pushing exercises and then following up with something like a knee raising exercise. This gave my arms a rest for a turn while my legs done the heavy lifting. It's a great way to keep you going during a battle and it also stops the battles from being boring because you are constantly mixing things up.
As you level up you will unlock more moves to use. Some of these are less powerful but they will hit multiple targets and some of them may be easier on the body than others. Eventually you will need to decide on which moves to take into battle with you because you only have a certain amount of move slots at your disposal. Picking you moves wisely will help you keep your strength up for the longer stages. For example, I got rid of the squat move because my legs were already getting a workout by running through the actual level. This gave them a rest during battles, which then allowed me to breeze through the running parts of the stage.
The battles look to be getting more complex in the next world. I've just unlocked a colour system. Each exercise is given a colour and by using these against an enemy of the same colour, it looks like it will inflict more damage. This adds another dimension of what moves you will take into battle with you. I haven't played around with that yet though.
In the second world I unlocked a mini game that, upon completion, offered a certain amount of coins, depending on what rank you score. It was kind of a whack-a-mole game and it was incredibly fun. You have 2 kind of hammers that are attached to a wheel and the ring you are holding mimics said wheel. Pulling the ring will send the hammers outwards and pushing the ring will send them inwards. It was nice distraction from the main adventure and another way to give your body a quick bit of relaxation.
During the course of the adventure you will unlock achievements/trophies for the actions you perform. These just look to be hitting certain milestones in the game but they are certainly a welcome addition. As many people on here know, I do love me some achievements/trophies/goals, so this has a great appeal to someone like me.
I ended my session after defeating the world 2 boss and when choosing to quite the game will offer a cooldown period. This is just a bunch of exercises without the ring and involves doing a few final stretches to make sure that everything is nice and loose as you finish.
My stats at the end of the session were as follows.
After finishing off the first 2 worlds I reached level 11. I wanted to hit level 10 before I called it a day so I was happy with actually pushing past that.
As I mentioned the other day, I do have a gym membership and try to go 3-4 times a week. I mainly do cardio, with some lifting mixed in-between. That being the case, the game still managed to give me a decent work out in my 35 minute session. Would it replace me going to the gym? Not at all but it will certainly complement it. I'm using different muscles and doing different exercise than I usually do during my regular workouts, so it works really well with what i'm already doing.
I do think it's a great bit of exercise and product for those who do want to get in shape but would like to do so in the comfort of their own home. For me, this is a much better product as a game than Wii Fit ever was, especially if you are a fan of the JRPG genre. Seeing the experience bar go up, grinding to achieve another level, unlocking moves, all of these are great motivators and pinning these things to exercise is a very clever idea. Yes, i've only put a very short amount of time into the game so far but I can certainly see the potential in it.
Methinks I will do another world this evening and then leave it for the day, but I am already looking forward to putting more time into it tomorrow!