Ring Fit Adventure’s Rhythm Mode Let the Game Kick My Ass Again

I was not prepared for how much harder exercising to music would be.

I’ve been playing Ring Fit Adventure something like five days a week since I got the game back in October. While yes, we’ve had our differences, it’s been a really great facilitator of my physical wellness, and I’ve noticed positive results in my energy, seen a little bit more muscle definition, and I’ve slimmed down a fair bit.

But what Ring Fit Adventure has not done since October has put me in a ton of physical pain. Not like the general pain you get from exercising, but like life-altering, debilitating soreness. My exercise ignorant self thought this was a sign that my body had adjusted to the regular workout, but maybe it was just a sign that it had adjusted to what Ring Fit Adventure typically threw at me, because after playing through the fitness game’s new rhythm mode I was feeling it something fierce the next day.

The new mode was announced and released for free during Nintendo’s last Direct, and when I saw that it would feature some songs from Nintendo’s catalog, including selections from Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Splatoon, I was immediately sold on making it my workout for that day. But little did I know this would be making me move more forcefully than I’ve had to with the game yet.

In premise, it all sounded so simple. Using the game’s ring peripheral, you squeeze and pull the thing along to the rhythm as beats flow toward you, twisting to the side and squatting when prompted. The whole thing really hits every part of your body. Your arms get some resistance training by pushing and pulling the ring, your legs are getting that squat action, and your core is constantly moving when you lean to the side to hit the notes that don’t come down the middle path.

But in typical Ring Fit Adventure, this is all pretty well separated so you’re only exhausting one part of your body with any given exercise. Here in the rhythm mode, everything is happening at once, and at higher difficulties, it’s happening at a breakneck pace.

Within a song and a half, I had already broken a sweat. Will I ever be able to hear Super Mario Odyssey’s “Jump Up, Super Star!” again without seeing the notes coming for me and instinctively squatting, leaning, and squeezing? The memory of the intense workout is already burned into my brain, so we’ll see.

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The next day I pulled up the rhythm mode again because it seemed the sensible thing to do, but once I was trying my first song of the day I realized how much the soreness had set in, specifically in my lower back, where the majority of leaning and twisting had occurred. After two and a half songs the pain got to be a little too much, and I opted to just jog for the remainder of my workout, then take a break the following day.

While I’m not particularly thrilled about the soreness, which is still present as I write this, three days after I first attempted it, Ring Fit Adventure’s new rhythm mode did make me aware of how Nintendo’s exercise RPG still has a lot it can teach me about how to stay fit. Especially now that we’re all stuck in our houses and searching for games that can keep us busy.

Now hopefully Nintendo will add more songs in the future. You got Joker in Super Smash Bros., Nintendo. You can get me Persona 5’s “Last Surprise” in Ring Fit Adventure.