Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure, the spiritual successor to the Wii Fit that launches today for the Switch, is a genuinely fun way to work up a sweat. After playing it regularly for two weeks, my colleague Andrew Webster noted in his review that Ring Fit Adventure is an easy way to fit physical activity into your life. But it’s got another perk, one that Nintendo developers probably didn’t intend for (and don’t condone): the mini-games are perfect party games, best played when everyone’s a little tipsy. In my experience, it might even be more fun to play with a crowd than Super Mario Party.
The issue with Super Mario Party is that it’s not really made for spontaneous play — if you want to play with more than two people, you have to plan ahead, and someone has to bring extra controllers. But if you’re hosting a party and you own Ring Fit Adventure, all it takes for a good time is to whip out the ring controller and leg strap, which can be passed around to each player when it’s their turn. The mini-games, 12 in all, are each about a minute long, so it doesn’t take long for everyone to have a chance to play. You can quickly adjust the ring’s strength settings while you’re playing the games, to even the playing field for users of different sizes and strengths. There’s no strategy involved, so there’s less of a chance for friendships to be destroyed, as is the risk with Super Mario Party. Instead, Ring Fit Adventure’s mini-games encourage competition at its most basic, physical form, asking, “who can score the most points by squeezing a ring the best?”
Each game focuses on working out different parts of the body. For example, Bootstrap Tower has you climbing a tower by squeezing the ring and flinging it down to propel yourself up, targeting the chest. Thigh Rider has you sitting down and squeezing the ring between your legs to control a vehicle through an obstacle course, and you start to feel the burn after a while. The games’ objectives are to collect as many coins or points as you can, and at the end, there’s a leaderboard that tracks everyone’s scores. Unfortunately, it doesn’t let you input new names, but saves the rankings to users on the Switch, so make sure to add everyone to the device if you want to let the records show who’s really the best at blasting their pecs. There’s also an option to connect online, so you can compare your scores with players worldwide.
Of course, Ring Fit Adventure isn’t marketing itself as a party game, and it would need more than 12 mini-games to do so. But the ones that are included are so chaotically fun to play and watch others play, you can’t help but want more. My personal favorite, Squattery Wheel, where you’re given a pottery vase to replicate by squatting while squeezing the ring, could easily be a Super Mario Party mini-game. Robo-Wrecker, a “whack-a-mole” game that has you smashing little robots all around you by pushing and pulling the ring, is loud and rambunctious in the best way. And then there’s games like Crate Crasher, where you shoot off blasts to destroy as many crates as you can. They’re simple enough that they’d be dull if you were sitting and playing with a controller — but are great for parties when your body is the controller. You have to be willing to look very silly doing the exercises, running in place or flinging your arms around, but then again, it’s not a real party until everyone’s getting a little silly.
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