Party games are a difficult fit on smartphones. Most of them need freedom of movement, huge peripherals, and large, obnoxious crowds of onlookers if they're really going to work.
Which makes Ring Fling a pleasant surprise. It takes the competitive, simple nature of the very best party games and squishes it down into a package small enough to fit in your pocket. Or in your bag, if you're playing the iPad version.
The game is a cross between an air hockey table and Hungry Hungry Hippos. Each player takes control of a neon-bordered section of the screen and eight rings. A number of jagged shapes appear in the centre of the screen, and it's up to you to flick your rings at them to force them into your opponent's areas.
Every time one of these 'jaggies' enters another player's zone, everybody else gets a point. A round lasts as long as it takes for all of the jaggies to be disposed of, and the winner is the first person to get to ten points.
You unlock modifications as you play, with each of them offering up different changes to the way the game plays, from giving your rings extra weight to making them travel across the screen much faster.
These mods turn themselves on at different points in the match, changing the pace and tactics of proceedings as they do.
Ringing the changes
If you don't have any friends around you can practise against proficient AI opponents, but the real meat of the game lies in the multiplayer. You can play with two or four partitions, and any spaces that aren't taken up by real people will be controlled by the AI.
Ring Fling is a perfect example of how simple design choices can often make the most entertaining games. It's as deep an experience as you want it to be, whether you favour building new strategies against the AI or just whipping out your iPhone every now and then to duke it out against a friend.
This is fresh, exciting iOS gaming, and it showcases just how versatile the phones and tablets we carry around with us can be.