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Friday, January 17, 2020

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 10: Game Gyms and Grandminions

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm pretty sure grandminions are the equivalent of grandchildren. A minion's minion. They haven't yet learned how to be a good minion.

Fun fact. Before I began this week's Ring Fit Adventure fun time (KoopaTV Fitness Fridays), King Dad wanted me to go vacuum the castle floors (and pick up any banana peels that intruders left behind) because now just seemed like a good time of year. Why me and not a servant? He said it's good exercise, and cited a Ring Fit Adventure tip as justification.

Ring Fit Adventure fitness tip Tipp everyday housework exercise chores
After this tip, he gave Lord Bowser gave me every chore! I'm not the only Koopa who is training for the Olympics!
He is, too!
 
...Anyway, let's talk about Sunday! What's the difficulty level? Now it's 28 (from 27). What's the world? World 10: Grandminion Gauntlet. Apparently, this country is where children come to play, but Guru Andma, one of the Four Masters and Dragaux's personal balance trainer, has apparently trained a bunch of Grandminions to stand between me and Dragaux.

The Grandminions, who are apparently children, have taken over all of the world's Game Gyms and are challenging me to do better than them. As I foreshadowed last week, this world is full of minigames. First up? Gluting Gallery, which I must complete with a B rank or higher. Hey, that's like all of the Game Gyms from the other 9 preceding worlds. Hmph.

...Actually, no, there's one difference. This is Gluting Gallery (Advanced). All of the minigames up to this point have been at the Novice difficulty level. In Advanced, the game elements move faster. There's far more tokens and bombs. The patterns are much different. And the actual minigame duration lasts for longer as well. It's a huge difficulty jump. Still, I got an A-rank, disappointing the Grandminion named Gutso.

The Grandminion Armie is guarding the Game Gym Robo-Wrecker (Advanced). Something to note here is that all of these Grandminion children are saying that Guru Andma has warned them about my presence, and that I'm a baddie. Unlike Guru Andma, their talking portraits don't have Dragaux's dark influence aura, so these kids are just under the influence of regular propaganda, as opposed to mind control.

Anyway, Robo-Wrecker (Advanced)—which I got an A-rank in—differs from Robo-Wrecker (Novice) in that some of the robots have a protective barrier over them, so you need to mash them twice (one to bash the shield, and one to bash the bot) in order to succeed. They also come in much greater frequency.

Ring Fit Adventure Grandminion Gauntlet World 10 Calvin stuttering boy
C-C-Calvin is the biggest loser in the entire world.

C-C-Calvin is the third Grandminion, guarding the Squat Goals (Advanced) Game Gym. Squat Goals (Advanced) has the tokens move in arcs and more tightly guarded by bombs, so you need to have much better timing with your squats so you can intercept the arcs, while avoiding hitting a bomb on the way down. On my first try, I only got a B-rank. That's fine enough to satisfy C-C-Calvin, though.

Those three Game Gyms all connect to a warp zone, which has more content than just minigames. There's a Gold Hoplin (win and get lots of money) AND a Silver Hoplin (win and get lots of experience points) in the overworld, but they're optional. Instead of fighting them, I'll head to the green-water-filled Floating Waterway. I quickly got to level 80, which unlocked Back Press Lv.2, an unimpressive upgrade from Back Press (35 base power increase to 255). 

Oh, I should explain Lv.2 Fit Skills. See, because the Fit Skills you get earlier in the game are much weaker than the ones you get later, in order to keep those activities current so you exercise them instead of forever keep them in the bench, Ring Fit Adventure figured it would be beneficial to have different levels of the Fit Skills—which possess greater power—so the physical activity isn't obsolete. The old level and the new level co-exist, though there's no reason to use the old one. As for the Floating Waterway, I double-jumped over the enemies and found a treasure chest with recipes for “Matcha Latte” and “Melon Soda”. But I couldn't double-jump over the second set of enemies because it was an upward incline, and I pwned myself by using the Wide Squat I swore I wouldn't use again. I admit to giving up on it and just sitting down on the couch and the game counted that as holding a squat.

As a reward for my cheating, Floating Waterway unlocked an overworld chest, containing the recipe for the Beefsteak Plant Smoothie. Is that what those plant-based burgers are made of? Anyway, all three of those recipes involve switching Fit Skills to be of the Yoga type, or increasing the power of Yoga type Fit Skills. But I'm missing Matcha Powder, Melons, and Beefsteak Plants, so... I can't make them for now. I'm also done for the day because those Wide Squats disproportionately exhausted me. 

Monday! Remember Dashley from Week 7/World 7? She is the first request to open up in town, stating she's running a marathon that will grant her the secrets of everlasting youth—according to the Info Broker, another NPC from World 7. This game has callbacks! Awesome! She wants me to join her for some reason at the Floating Waterway by clearing it in 360 steps. (Ring finds this whole thing “super sketchy.”) After managing it in only 207 steps due to hovering AND double-jumping, Dashley said she'd meet me at the next stop and ran off, giving me a valuable Skill Drink.

Perhaps the next stop is Fusion Waterway, which is apparently full of the ingredients that I need for all of those new smoothie recipes I collected. It also has asparagus recipes for a disgusting-sounding Asparagus Smoothie (made from asparagus and green tea leaves to increase Yoga attack power and change all Fit Skills to the Yoga type) and the Asparagus Onion Soup (obviously made from asparagus and onions, which increases Yoga attack power and your defence). Most surprisingly, however, was the return of TWO mechanics: the dreaded squat-powered car, and the Robbin crow chase scenes we haven't seen since World 4. ...In other words, you're squatting away from these dastards.

Ring Fit Adventure Fusion Waterway Robbin squat powered vehicle World 10 Grandminion Gauntlet
You can see the Robbins flying over the track in the back. You're squatting towards the screen.

For escaping them, I get access to an overworld treasure chest with the Boat Pose, a strange but powerful (155 base power) all-range Yoga Pose. And I can test it out in the also-accessible four-round Battle Gym! The Boat Pose is wild. You have to be on the floor and not look at the Ring-Con. You need to hold your bent legs parallel to the floor (in the air) and then bend your head all the way backward while moving the Ring-Con in back of your head too, while also moving your legs forward. Then reset. I can't describe it in words since I hardly knew what I was doing while using it for the first time. I can also test out Bow Pull Lv.2, which I unlocked in the upgraded skill tree. It's a 210 base power upgrade from regular Bow Pull, which is strong enough to defeat wrongly-coloured Belldogs within the 42 repetitions at my level/Shadow Jogger set. That's crazy good for an all-range move. By the way, Lv.2 moves have visibly flashier effects during battle than the basic level 1 moves.

Exiting the warp zone and getting to the other side of the map are three more Grandminions and their Game Gyms, and Guru Andma. Guru Andma flat-out won't let me fight her until I beat the kids, so I'll do that.

Ring Fit Adventure Grandminion Gauntlet World 10 Armanda meritocracy
Armanda believes in meritocracy? Good kid.

There's this blonde girl named Armanda, which totally isn't Armando's younger sister or anything. (They don't look alike, just share nearly the same name.) She guards the Aerochute (Advanced) Game Gym, which is significantly more difficult than Aerochute (Novice). The tokens actually move, and fast! I missed several, but still managed to get an A-rank with 3,500 points. The key is getting the 1,000-point landing pad at the very end, which I can see being very frustrating for an S-rank run.

Buttercup the little brunette girl is eager for a fight (now SHE could be Armando's sister, at least in personality) and guards the hot-rod Thigh Rider (Advanced). I A-ranked this too, with 11,600 points. This is significantly more complicated than the Novice version, with traps like having gold tokens in-between two bombs that you need to carefully land between, and tokens suspended in the air only obtainable by successfully completing successive platform jumps.

The last Grandminion is a girl named Abigail, who was ordered by Guru Andma to look for a “weirdo”, being me. She's guarding the horrible Core Crushing (Advanced), which I barely got to B-rank so I could advance with the story. The gimmick here is that there are much more robots with shields on one side, and the robots actively change which side they're holding the shield while they're waiting for you to crush them. That means you either need to whack them before they change sides, or you wait for them to change sides and then slam them. My problem is that I don't know how to hold the Ring-Con properly so I don't hit my Joy-Con's stick with my arm. 

A request opened up in town, and it's from a sneezing man who needs a Beefsteak Plant Smoothie to feel better. Fortunately, I made one for him, and in return for giving it to him (it magically made him feel better), he gave me two Rubies. Alright. Apparently, beefsteak plants are a real thing, though traditionally called shiso in Japan and are used extensively in Japanese cuisine. Monday over! We're 50% through the world, with just Guru Andma, Dragaux Stadium, and many requests left to go. 

Tuesday night. I decided to get some Ring Fit Adventure in before the Democrat Party debate, so I can say I at least accomplished something that day before listening to propaganda for two hours. Guru Andma is asking me to enter the Finishing School, which looks like a boss fight, but there's no recommended Fit Skill type. ...So am I not going to fight Guru Andma herself? (Otherwise it'd suggest Yoga skills since Yoga is her thing, and the other three Four Masters are weak to their own proficiency.) 

Turns out I'm wrong. I AM fighting Guru Andma. But she has no weakness. And she's very upset that I allegedly made her Grandminions cry. I started with the Back Pull Lv.2 (an Arm Fit Skill), and she countered with a giant energy Arm special move. Was that a coincidence, or is she going to be a Wobbuffet and counter-attack me with whatever Fit Skill type I use? I did a Seated Ring Raise (an Abs Fit Skill) and she countered with a giant energy Abs special move. Yup, this is how it'll be.

Well, I don't know what the counter to the Yoga attack is, so let's use... the Tree Pose! She countered with the Ring Fit Adventure version of the Tri Attack move from Pokémon, doing three energy blasts of Arm, Leg, and Ab that was blocked by a normal Ab Guard. Well, for the sake of completion, I use the only Leg Fit Skill I brought, the Knee-Lift Combo, but I cancelled Guru Andma's counter-attack completely by randomly getting an extra turn. Well, that won't do. I'll drink a Blueberry Smoothie and fake it so all of my attacks are considered Leg Fit Skills, then! Sure enough, I got countered with a giant energy Leg... and I totally forgot the counter to THAT is me holding a squat for quite a while. I admit, I cheated and just sat on the couch and the game counted that as holding the squat, but all so I could get me successfully countering on video, see. Totally justified:


After beating Guru Andma, there's just Dragaux Stadium and now a bunch of open requests. One of those is the Battle Gym Counter bot proclaiming it's now or never, and if I go to the Warp Zone's Battle Gym and have a 90%+ Great! ratio, I can get... 500 COINS. That's a lot! Let's go! And I passed it with 96%. Bam. Meanwhile, a Lady is claiming she owns the Robo Crusher gym and wants to see if I'm able to land 10 simultaneous hits. Something about hardcore fans and guinea pigs. Sounds like when gaming companies release early access games on Steam. Appropriately, she's giving away a “Game Machine” pair of shoes. A simultaneous hit, and I didn't realise this until I was done and got 15 of them, is when you hit two or more robots in the same press/pull. Interestingly, the Game Machine set, once I wear all three clothing items, increases experience points by 5%. Hell yes, I want that.

However, the next request is not another Game Machine item, but a two-Ruby-offering Young Man who is part of a group of friends into “Monster Dodging”. He wants me to teach him by example by getting to the end of Floating Waterway without fighting any monsters. His friends apparently tease him by saying he's playing “Monster Bumping” instead. Seriously, this game is outright encouraging combat avoidance. After having to redo the level due to failing at the very first encounter, I managed to complete it (including precise jumping at that difficult upward-incline I wrote of many paragraphs ago) AND level up to level 85, which got me an extra heart.

By the way, there's a mode in this game called Multitask Mode. I haven't explored it, but a fellow named Banana Boy apparently donated me money and items by playing it. The game suggests I should return the favour by discovering Multitask Mode too. Let's look into that another time. There's an awful debate in a few minutes, after all. 

I didn't play on Wednesday, and I wasn't going to play on Thursday, either, but I was sitting around reading a bunch of Byleth hate comments for a long time after the announcement on Thursday. Then I realised that this is a totally unproductive activity and I have much better uses of my time. Might as well do SOMETHING in Ring Fit Adventure

C-C-Calvin, who calls us the Not-So-Baddie, is apparently being bullied by the Game Gym Counter robot. How is he going to survive automation without a universal basic income? Who knows. He claims the robot says C-C-Calvin can't get at least 8000 points in Squat Goals without getting any gold tokens, and C-C-Calvin can't control his calves and avoid the gold. It's fairly easy. You can just avoid squatting when there is a flying token collection with an included gold token and still pass, since the ending sequence has several thousand points made up of just silver tokens. We got Game Machine shorts.

Ring Fit Adventure Dragaux boss fight shake with anxiety blue Puffersquish World 10 Grandminion Gauntlet
Dragaux gets anxiety? Poor guy. He was doing an excellent job for a while balancing on the blue Puffersquish, though.

With that, we take the fight to Dragaux. He's sitting on a giant blue Puffersquish ball, in perfect balance. In the fight, it's not a targetable enemy. Just Dragaux. Instead, Dragaux bounces on top of the Puffersquish to make it shoot out its puffs, which does non-negligible damage. Eventually I knocked him off the ball with a beautifully-executed Back Press Lv.2, enabling me to do a Push-and-Pull Rush for extra damage. Dragaux couldn't do much but punches after that, and he was soon defeated once again. Dragaux vowed that he'd train his brain muscles until he could come up with a plan to beat us, and he flew off. Well, he's already getting smarter since he didn't throw crates containing hearts at us.

Still in World 10, there's a town robot asking if we're looking for a challenge. A horrifically diabolical one: Clear Core Crushing (Advanced) with 8000 points or more... without hitting any of the robots’ shields. If we win, we get the top clothing of the Game Machine clothing set, which is definitely one I want. I succeeded on my first try with exactly 8000 points. Once I got to 8000, I stopped swinging the giant bat around. Why risk it? The trick is that the robots change their shield position in the time span it takes to smash two waves of robots. Knowing that lets you swing safely and speedily.

...You want to know what's even more diabolical? The next challenge, asking me to collect all of the tokens in Gluting Gallery (Advanced) and clear the course, in return for 500 coins. Should I just cheat through it? Well, I got a NEARLY-perfect score when trying legitimately, but got messed up due to the dumb Ring-Con detection. So I sat down on the couch and just rotated it. Still failed somehow on my first try of that, but on my second try cheating, success. You may recall I also cheated on this minigame's Novice version in Week 7 when they also wanted me to collect every token in that. It's a bad minigame.

The next stupid mission is to collect every damn token in Thigh Rider (Advanced), and I don't know how to cheat in this one since it requires legitimate gaming skills. This world is awful. ...Fortunately, it turns out that I actually am fairly good at videogames, and I S-ranked the course on my first try trying the challenge, collecting every token and hitting only one bomb (one of the bombs that are immediately before and after a gold token near the end). Since the challenge lets you hit obstacles as long as you get the token, it's fine! And so I got two Rubies.

There's one more request I have to do to 100% the world, but it isn't unlocked yet. Before I'm done for the night, I'm gonna admit to doing my first instance of grinding in this game: I went back to World 7's Starting-Block Bridge (the very LONG cardio-focused course), drank a Sesame Smoothie (which doubles the ingredients you pull in during the course) and collected a whole lot of Pumpkin and Soy Milk so I could make several Pumpkin Soup (which doubles money gained from battle). And then I'm going back to world 10's warp zone and going to the Gold Hoplin there. ...I'll fight the Silver Hoplin too, even without the corresponding experience-doubling soup. The latter is inefficient, but grinding for Carrots is much more difficult and I don't need more experience. I do need more money, though. (...What a Jewish thing to write.)

Surprise! It's Friday, and I'm still playing! World 11 apparently has the most content of any world so far, so it's best to start now. The world name is Valley of Wishes, and our first stage is Rumbling Road. This features actual platforming, since you're Squat Holding on launch-pads as giant rolling spike-logs pass through where you're supposed to land. You need to time yourself so you don't get hit! Plus, the Overhead Ring Pull ziplines take you through spiky-logs as well, and you actually need to stop pulling so you stay still and don't hit them on your way through the line. (I like this thought put into the mechanics.) There's also a new enemy type: the Mallusk, which is an upgrade from the Naughtylus. ...Not sure how much it's mechanically different besides more health and more offence.

Ring Fit Adventure Rumbling Road zip line overhead pull spike logs incline
Not shown: Right after this screenshot was taken, I kept pulling the Ring-Con, and hit my legs against the spiky logs you see on the screen.

I also got a “Chard Recipe” for “Chard Smoothie” and “Mixed Chard.” My first impression is that this is a Charizard typo, but it's an edible leafy vegetable. Apparently you make these with Chard and Mango, or Chard and Mango and Spinach, respectively. They're the next level up from the Cress recovery drinks, except they also “Cancel negative status effects” which we've never encountered before. I didn't know this game HAD negative status effects. But I figure that I'll find out what those are quite soon. First, a detour to the first Game Gym of World 11: Dreadmill (Advanced), with the prize for a B rank or higher being the Basil Recipe. I wonder what other mechanics about the game are hidden behind THAT? I passed with an A-rank on my first try with 6700 points—the difference between Dreadmill (Advanced) and Dreadmill (Novice) (which has a whole section in the Week 9 write-up) is that there are far more bombs and in far more columns at once, and for the first time, tokens appear at the vertical level in-between ground level and maximum jump height. I think I could S-rank/get all of the tokens it with enough practice, and I'm sure that'll be a request from the town coming in the near future.

Speaking of the town, let's talk to the folks there. (The Basil Recipe is for Basil Vinegar and Basil Mint Smoothie, with the battle effect of “Recharges skill”, presumably letting me use the same Fit Skill twice in a row?) General Store 9 is selling the new Sunset Runner (makes jogging and knee lifts easier) and Sky Jogger (increases the range of Ring's vacuum ability) outfits, but I want to keep my Game Machine outfit on for longer even if these newer outfits have better stats. The whole deal with this world, according to the townsfolk, is that if you find the Valley of Wishes, it'll grant one of your wishes. There is a scammy-looking Fortune Teller in town offering me my fortune for 100 coins (reminds me of the Info Broker), and I have to pay them to proceed with the game. He sees the words “friends,” “three,” and “make.”

If I gotta make three friends, that'll be a major challenge. I'm not good at making and keeping friends. Ring isn't either. But after hearing the fortune, we get access to the next level, Sunset Road, featuring a blue-haired lady whom looks a lot like the cute chick from World 6. Except instead of her name being Lady, her name is Scarecruel. She needs help to get through the area due to the monster infestation. But she says I can't drink smoothies because she HATES smoothies, and has a “deal with it” facial expression. Personally, I enjoy her attitude, but Ring is hesitant to make friends with people like that.

The level has the Slinkbugs from World 5 return, and another long-held Tree Pose. Unlike the Fit Skill Tree Pose, you just stay still here. The attack has you bend your body sideways while holding your leg up while on the other leg. Anyway, Sunset Road isn't hard, even if you fight all the monsters and don't drink anything. At the end, Scarecruel wants us to escort her through the Valley of Wishes, and we get our first friend!

Ring Fit Adventure Scarecruel introduction Valley of Wishes world 11
Forget first friend. Can we skip all the way to making her my fiancée?

The next level is Athlete's Road, where there was an NPC named Cowardly Strongman. Scarecruel's glare scared him away, and he left 40 or more crates along the road that we must destroy. Ring thinks this guy can be our second friend, so we want to chase after him. While this is a road in some parts, much of it are squat-operated swings to fly over giant waterfalls and stuff. I counted 51 crates and I broke 50—well above the 40 minimum. Still, Cowardly Strongman got away from us, and the hunt for the second friend continues... next week!

Ring Fit Adventure week 11 exercise log world 10
Five-day workout week!
Wow, I did a lot more on Friday (today) than I thought. Much of that distance traveled is probably from Dreadmill (Advanced).


Stay tuned to KoopaTV next Friday for Week 11 and the conclusion of World 11. Ludwig is happy to have survived the minigame onslaught. He even thrived a few times. As usual, feel free to judge Ludwig on his fitness technique, his ethics on cheating, and anything else. Also feel free to give suggestions for this article series, and questions about Ring Fit Adventure. According to other people's online accounts, Ludwig's rate of one world a week is actually much slower than normal, and he's not sure how much time other people are putting into the game. ...Are they spending time trying to 100% it like he is, or are they just rushing through it?


Ludwig dedicates a normal Gaming Commentary category article to explaining Multitask Mode.
Read the conclusion of World 11 here!

2 comments :

  1. ...Oh good grief it's a Wizard of Oz reference. And those friend names really sound like villain names to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scarecruel is much more compelling than Scarecrow!

      Delete

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