As an advocate for positive mental and physical health, I am delighted to see well meaning, non-marketed, promotion of healthy lifestyles. Nintendo is one of few large companies I don’t scoff or become enraged at when they promote health and physical activity through their games. I too laughed when I first saw the bulky controller for Ring Fit Adventure. But if this is what it takes to get people up and moving, their gateway to understand the importance of exercise for one’s health, then I’m more than happy to stand aside and let people have their fun.
Shortly after gyms began shutting their doors, Nintendo promoted in its news feed, games to get you active like Just Dance and Fitness Boxing. I didn’t (and honestly still don’t) have the money to pay for them at the time, but was quite happy with the selection provided. It puts a smile on my face at the thought of someone continuing to stay or become active with the help of their Switch.
Last night, Nintendo was promoting their new, free-to-play game at the top of my news feed. Jump Rope Challenge is a game where you detach your Joy Cons and jump rope along with a cute bunny avatar. I immediately downloaded it and the next day, uninstalled it.
I will spare you dear reader from breaking down my hours of research on the benefits of exercise for your mental and psychical health. Along with what jumping rope does to our cardiovascular system and why you should consider incorporating it into your cardio routine. Instead I will admit that I am willing to trade in my cruddy Planet Fitness membership for a pole to dance on while building strength, and a copy of Ring Fit or some other Switch game that has some good cardio exercises.
The “limitedly-available” for free Jump Rope Challenge is not that game. To cut the bullshit here’s why you probably shouldn’t download this even though it is completely free: The tracking is god awful!
For a free-to-play game from Nintendo I don’t expect much. I enjoy and encourage the simple graphics, odd cat theme, and readily available outfits. But for a game where you jump an invisible rope in time with your bunny avatar, the numbers of times skipped skyrocketed.
I’ve had to mandatorily jump rope before. I’m use to counting my jumps aloud or in my head. I will admit I’m speedy at the activity, but it isn’t a fun one I enjoy doing often, especially in the summer heat.
Upon playing Jump Rope Challenge I was blown away at how bad the tracking was. I had counted up to 50 before becoming out of breath and stopping out of bewilderment. My little bunny avatar was at 300 jumps! When I stood in place and swung my controllers, the character continued to jump at ridiculous speeds. Sometimes it wasn’t one skip per swish, but three or, dare I say, more!
I had played all but a literal minute and 17 seconds and was greatly soured and disappointed at this experience.
I confess that I expected more. What I hoped for was a game mode where you can jump rope endlessly. And a mode where the game ends once you trip on a rope. But what I most anticipated was, well, a challenge. And that’s not good when the word is in the title.
Instead you receive a poorly made game that was probably finished in a week. Where the tracking that Nintendo heavily emphasized in presentations and their 1-2-Switch Party Game, make the very same motion controls seem to be in their infant beta stages.
It’s the motion controls that are supposed to make this game worth playing and downloading. If they were spot on and accurate I would’ve come back the next day and done more to see if I could get a higher score. However due to the inferiority of the controls, I hate to say it, but this is just pathetic.
And I don’t want to say that about Nintendo! I don’t want this out-of-the-blue, random ass game, to be dismissed as “weird” and lost to time. Ring Fit Adventure was a weird game with a weird concept. But it proved itself to be a true challenge that anyone can pick up and get some exercise with while learning the importance of exercise as a key for good health.
However what makes Ring Fit work so well for many is the tracking! Ring Fit appears to work smoothly because the game is able to keep in pace with you. Pacing and form is key to good exercise! Form reduces the chance of injury during activity and maximum output for the benefits of our exercise. Believe me when I say I have awful form sometimes and my soreness the next day was unbearable. Pacing helps us keep track of and maintain our goals. You can’t do three hours of strength training daily in one go and believe your body will improve overnight. That is only hurting oneself mental and physically in the short term, but will probably increase chances of injury and knocking you out for three weeks.
And this is what Jump Rope Challenge gets wrong. It isn’t just the tracking or lack of proclaimed challenge. It’s the non existence of a tutorial for the new, and a helpful, fun, tool for the experienced. Seriously, 300 counts for 50 actual jumps is ridiculous.
I do believe that it is very noble and honorable for Nintendo to drop and promote a fitness game the myst of a global pandemic. While many continue to feel the straining effects of confinement, we need more kind strangers to teach us how to make the most out of such a time. I’m grateful to Nintendo for promoting games like Fitness Boxing much as I am the people online teaching and inspiring others to bake bread and take up Yoga.
However, Jump Rope challenge is not a game you should give a second thought about.
May the concept be tweaked and adjusted for the future. But as of right now, this game isn’t only poor, it’s pitiful…
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Animal Crossing Lover, Visual Novel aficionado. Wants to cosplay your next favorite waifu. Indie snob. History Buff. All around geek. Will whore for doggo games