The Quell Hero is a new fitness-focused gaming platform designed by the award-winning industrial design and innovation studio Morrama, and it immediately draws comparisons to the excellent Ring Fit Adventure on Nintendo Switch.
However, it’s already clear to me that the Quell Hero won’t topple Nintendo’s title to become the next big thing in fitness gaming.
Available to pre-order for a fairly reasonable sum of $219 (that’s around £160 / AU$305), the Quell Hero promises to provide a gym-quality fitness experience at home, and uses the same principle as Ring Fit Adventure to help users stay in shape – gamification and interactive software that makes working out more fun.
Dubbed “the world’s first dedicated fitness gaming system,” the Quell Hero uses two motion-sensing controllers that look like a cross between the Quest 2 Touch controllers and the Wii Nunchuk, and a smaller sensor to track your movement as you punch the air, jump about, and jog on the spot.
Where the Quell Hero stands out from other fitness gaming products, though, is its resistance bands that make punching the air around you more strenuous. Attached to a waistband, you can adjust the level of resistance to make each one-two uppercut all that more tiring. The waistband also has haptic feedback, which should mean you feel each blow from the onscreen enemies. You can check out a trailer for the Quell 2 below.
So who’s going to buy the Quell Hero? Honestly, I’d be surprised if anyone would choose this device over Ring Fit Adventure for a number of reasons.
For starters, the price is already looking like a sticking point. Yes, $219 is cheaper than buying a Nintendo Switch and Ring Fit Adventure, which will likely set you back around $379. But a $150 saving isn’t exactly earth-shattering, especially when you can often get a Switch and Ring Fit Adventure for less during Black Friday.
You’re also getting so much more for your money if you pick up Nintendo’s system instead of the Quell Hero. Not only will you be able to play Ring Fit Adventure, which I’m 100% confident is a better all-around game than whatever Quell Hero’s heavily contrasted looking-title is called, but you’ll have access to every other game that has helped make the Switch so successful.
The Quell Hero also seems extremely limited when it comes to working out, too. Unlike Ring Fit Adventure, which contains countless different types of exercises, pick up and play minigames, and some clever tech such as using the IR sensor in the right Joy-Con to track your heartbeat, boxercise isn’t exactly the most exhilarating form of exercise you can do. There’s no guarantee that Quell Hero’s motion tracking will be up to snuff, either, which would ruin the entire experience.
It’s also worth noting that we’ve been furiously punching the air since 2006’s Wii Sports, so adding resistance bands isn’t exactly a groundbreaking innovation. I spent a few weeks playing Wii Tennis with weighted wrist bands back in the day, which I found far more compelling to play than mindlessly boxing.
And that’s probably my biggest concern with the Quell Hero. I’m not sure how engaging punching the same on-screen enemies will be after the first few play sessions, and running on the spot and leaping the air is hardly enough to mix things up.
If the software isn’t designed well, and punching has no weight or feel to it, why would you shell out over $200 to do something you could do for free? Or better still, play on the Nintendo Switch? There are plenty of boxercise games available, each of which uses the reliable motion-tracking of the Joy-Con controllers.
Quell your surprise
The Quell Hero might seem like an ambitious product if you read the marketing spiel behind it, but it’s actually incredibly risk-averse. There’s no reason to choose this over Ring Fit Adventure, an Quest 2, or even Wii Fit for that matter. Both of Nintendo’s fitness games and choice VR games do a fantastic job of keeping you engaged and playing, which is critical if you want to make exercise feel fun. Nintendo and Meta's hardware isn't just designed solely around fitness games, either, which means the value proposition is far greater than the Quell Hero could ever hope to achieve.
Even though I may have failed to get my own Ring Fit Adventure regime going, the Quell Hero has already fallen at the first hurdle: there’s no way I’d buy this product. In fact, I'm much more interested in working up a sweat playing Beat Saber in VR.
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