- Related Games:
- Ring Fit Adventure
No other major publisher but Nintendo would unveil a fitness role-playing game just a month before it released in stores alongside a pilates ring peripheral. If it has often felt that the Japanese console manufacturer has been in its own lane rather than following the footsteps and trends of others, it’s because Nintendo has done just that. By straying from the beaten path, Nintendo has been able to popularize touchscreens and motion controls in gaming while also lacking established norms like solid online implementation and adding friends via a manner that doesn’t include lengthy codes. No matter how frustrating it can sometimes be, these type of decisions is exactly what makes Nintendo such a valuable company in today’s gaming space. Just like with the release of Ring Fit Adventure, every once in a while we are reminded that nobody else operates quite like the house of Mario.
Nintendo’s software releases can be easily split into two categories. On one hand, you have got all of their tentpole releases that come around every single console generation like clockwork like 3D The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario releases, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. and Animal Crossing. Without fail, we’ve seen these releases remain in a pretty set pattern since they have debuted several console generations ago. Some will be more experimental in nature (such as Breath of the Wild), but players generally know exactly what to expect and it is the name on the box that is selling the game rather than any new features.
The other side of that coin is all of the unique experiences that Nintendo puts out. These are often weirder titles that have little chance of becoming a mainstay of the publishes’s software rotation, but help define each generation for their more hardcore fanbase that will play every title they wind up publishing. Every once in a while you will see these games catch on and become series onto themselves, such as Rhythm Heaven and WarioWare. But more often than not, they are a one-off game that helps sum up a lot of the company’s experimental nature like Captain Rainbow for the Wii, which is an action adventure title that revolves around making friends with a bunch of forgotten Nintendo characters throughout gaming history.
Ring Fit Adventure is the latest of these weird releases
One doesn’t even need to play Ring Fit Adventure to know that it is only a game that Nintendo would make. After all, the core idea is as asinine as it comes: it’s a fitness game that has the player physically working out in order to battle enemies in its turn-based RPG gameplay. Blending games and exercise isn’t anything new, and Nintendo managed to do that with Wii Fit and Wii Fit U to much success, but this is far more involved than a mini-game collection that gets you to do some squats. Even if you’re not looking to get fit, Nintendo’s latest release is goofy and polished enough that you’ll want to give it a chance just to experience one of the oddest games of this year.
Thankfully for fans of Nintendo’s quirkier titles, the Nintendo Switch library has been filled with these types of games. From 1-2-Switch being a game based around not looking at the television to Arms and Splatoon 2 being Nintendo’s takes on the fighting and team-based shooter genres, the launch of the system showed that the Nintendo Switch will feature plenty of unique experiences that you can’t get elsewhere. While that idea might not sell as many systems as Super Mario Odyssey and Pokemon, it does do a great job of supplementing those major types of releases that you can depend on seeing no matter what Nintendo system you pick up (bar a disaster like the Virtual Boy).
Since the launch window, we’ve seen Nintendo release its Labo line of accessories that allow players to build new ways to play games out of cardboard. The most advanced of these is the virtual reality kit, which really showed just how impressive Nintendo’s ingenuity is. Despite having more hardware limitations than any of its competitors, Nintendo still managed to create a worthwhile VR experience by designing around those issues. While nothing from the Labo line is a Game of the Year contender, they are wholly unique experiences that can only come from a company that is willing to try new things and experiment beyond gaming’s accepted boundaries.
The Switch’s popularity allows for Nintendo’s weirdness to shine
The reason why we are seeing so many of these more quirky Nintendo releases in a short span of time is because Nintendo has seen a resurgence in popularity due to the convenience of the Nintendo Switch. It’s hard to put out games like Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido when you’re on a sinking ship like the Wii U and people are speculating if your company has much of a relevant future. However, when your core titles are carrying the company to profitability and players are willing to try whatever you put out, then you can release games about dancing male cheerleaders (Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan) without worrying about your company’s bottom line.
Nintendo is truly at its best when it can serve all of its fans. After all, most people fall in love with the company due to its biggest releases. So many people have vivid memories of playing Mario Kart as a kid, getting stuck on a tricky puzzle in Zelda, and embarrassingly dying to the very first Goomba in Super Mario Bros. on the original NES. So, new entries in those series will help bring them back onto their system as a way to let them rekindle their nostalgia and remember just how fun gaming can be. However, they will also want something new to play, and this is where Nintendo’s more experimental side really shines. Not many people are buying a Switch just to play Ring Fit Adventure, but it’s the type of release that makes being a Nintendo fan so much fun.