Nintendo is best known for its Mario and Zelda games, but the latest version of the console also offers a variety of fun exergames too—active games that incorporate body movements into gameplay.
The system’s controllers, the Joy-Cons, are motion-controlled, and game designers are coming up with all kinds of creative ways for players to get moving and have fun.
I purchased the latest entry of “Just Dance” for my stepdaughter’s eleventh birthday (for ages 10+), and we’ve both enjoyed grooving to the catchy, energetic songs that make up the “Just Dance 2020” library.
My stepdaughter loves the ability to try to reach Superstar level while dancing to Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings.” And in Kids Mode, she’s carved out her favourites in “Baby Shark” from Pinkfong and “Into the Unknown” from the Frozen 2 soundtrack.
Earning coins in-game allows her to unlock new stickers and cute avatars, which offer more incentive for her to keep on dancing. Best of all, I recently learned Just Dance 2020 can accommodate a maximum of six players using both Nintendo Switch controllers and mobile devices. We haven’t yet tried to do a three-person dance party with my stepdaughter’s father, but I’m looking forward to the chaotic cooperative fun.
“Ring Fit Adventure” (for ages 4+) is another active game I’d like to try (if I could find it; apparently the title is a hot commodity). This immersive Nintendo Switch exclusive makes use of a leg-strap and a ring-shaped device that tracks the real-world body movements of the player to execute attacks in a turn-based RPG environment.
“Ring Fit Adventure” is a fun way to get your heart rate up and improve strength and coordination through running or jumping in place, as well as doing yoga and bodyweight exercises.
Feedback on the game has been positive, based on reviews from both critics and Amazon customers. One dad said he loves the game, and says his six-year-old wants to play it with him every day. Although the game is single-player, parents have remarked on their children’s innovation in making their own form of “cooperative play” by taking turns with the durable Ring-Con device.
Related read: 10 practical tips to manage screen time
Here are a few other Nintendo Switch games that promote healthy movement and physical activity for families:
Zumba Burn it Up! (for ages 10+)
“Zumba Burn it Up!” is an ideal option for those who love to dance. Older kids and adults will appreciate the more precise scoring mechanic compared to “Just Dance,” and will feel a sense of accomplishment when they successfully execute complex dance moves. “Zumba Burn it Up!” focuses less on game mechanics and more on the dance routines to deliver an experience similar to what you’d enjoy at a Zumba class.
ARMS (for ages 7+)
“ARMS” bears more similarities to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate than with the other titles on this list. A cartoonish fighting game where spring-armed challengers duke it out in an arena, players punch and jab at the screen with the Joy-Con motion controls. The game will attract young kids ages 7-10 with its colourful cast of characters, while providing a challenge of strategy and skill to older kids and adults.
Kids will also be able to flex their creative muscles by experimenting with all the different combinations of arm-based weapons. A demo of “ARMS” is available on the Nintendo eShop so families can try before they buy.
Photo courtesy of Ubisoft.