Reviews

Family Trainer

Do you still remember the big fitness hype in 2020? We were all at home a lot, and some people had a tingling sensation back then: sport was needed! Since this was hardly possible due to the pandemic situation in fitness studios, a sports game on the Nintendo Switch filled this gap: “Ring Fit Adventure”! Together with the included leg strap and fitness ring, a wave of enthusiasm swept across Europe. That was fun! Another Switch title would like to follow in these footsteps.

“Family Trainer” by Bandai Namco was released on September 3rd, 2021, which you can either download from the Nintendo eShop or buy as a retail version in the store. The digital version is (at least currently) a lot cheaper, because you only get the game. The leg strap, which is absolutely necessary in duplicate, is only available when purchasing the physical version. Or you just use the leg strap from your “Ring Fit Adventure” – that works just as well.

With “Family Trainer” you have the opportunity to play alone or do a little sport in co-op. However, online multiplayer is not included. If you want to play together, you should also keep in mind that each of you will need a pair of Joy-Cons and a leg strap. So if you don’t have any additional Joy-Cons at home, you can’t gamble together. Whether alone or as a couple, it is very easy to use: Everyone straps the leg strap onto their left thigh and puts the Joy-Con displayed into it. The other Joy-Con remains in your hands to navigate in the game and to carry out certain exercises.

“Family Trainer” offers you a clear user interface, as you are used to from most other family games on the Switch. A small figure informs you that you have landed on Outdoor Island – a place where there are numerous sporting tasks to be tackled. After a short tutorial, which already includes 3 of the 16 available mini-games, you can design your character. The possibilities are not particularly extensive, but you can use your own Mii – it is shown in the selection at the bottom.

There is actually no story or other in-depth information. The summer island is now waiting for you to select a game mode, and then you can actually start. In the outdoor adventure you always complete different courses, each consisting of three different mini-games. A total of 16 of this type are available, which change a little depending on the level of difficulty. Sometimes everything just goes a little faster, other times you get stumbling blocks in your way. In co-op you can compete against each other or play together for a great result. There is also the possibility to play freely and put together your own little sports plan.

No matter which mode you choose: You will work up a sweat more than you think. The little games are only short for a few seconds, but they are tough! You will run fast, jump, raise your leg, and row your arms violently. Often you only have 40 seconds, sometimes even 25 seconds, to reach a goal. Since movements from 0 to 100 are required here, your pulse will surely shoot up quickly.

Unfortunately, it is often over faster than you can see. Sometimes you only have 16 seconds to complete a level. Anyone who does not master the controls here or needs a moment to get used to it has almost no chance. The game always suggests that you try again. You always collect points and can compete with friends. There are also badges for different actions in “Family Trainer”, which you collect automatically.

Presumably the short time for each mini-game was chosen so that children don’t lose interest so quickly and that everyone can manage the challenges easily. Since the small sports units are usually a lot of fun, the games could take a little longer for us.

The activities are actually quite varied: you can canoe, climb, jump rope and hit animals with a rubber mallet. We say “actually” because most things can be controlled mainly with the left leg and the arms are mostly only used for navigation. In general, the interaction works quite well, but the controls are often a little too sensitive.

Often you have to be careful not to jump too high, otherwise your figure will perform a double jump, which is almost never necessary. Quite the opposite: when you jump rope, you kind of fall on your nose. When playing, you should make sure that you only do small hops. Sensitivity is also required when running hurdles, because if you lift your knees too much while sprinting, your figure will accidentally jump.

If you’re expecting a challenging sports game, Family Trainer is probably not for you. You should also turn a blind eye to the graphics. It is perfect for this, to just get off the couch and move briefly but intensely. The mini-games, some of which are far too short, are great fun if they weren’t over so quickly!

“Family Trainer” is fun together – especially when you play against each other. It doesn’t matter if the controls are a little too sensitive or something doesn’t work right away: If you don’t yell at each other in a co-op game, you only have half as much fun anyway!

7/10

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