Ping Pong. Have you ever thought how the entire video game industry might not exist if it wasn’t for Ping Pong? I’m old enough to remember when my grandparents got me a Pong system. It was amazing (for the time) and it started my addiction and helped launch an industry.
Ironically now the circle of life comes full circle as I now get to review a video game about, what else, Ping Pong.
Developed by Octane Technologies and published by Chillingo, a company that has already put together an impressive (and eclectic) list of games and apps, we now have iPingpong 3D, or as the Chinese say…iPingpong 3D. Sorry couldn’t resist doing a little Christopher Walken there. It’s a good handheld version of the classic game that will give you plenty of reason to step away from your basement or break room for some mobile fun.
At the start up you’re asked if you want sound or not and, at the risk of starting off on a negative note with this review, I’d say turn it off. It’s not that the music is bad, I rather like the funky 70’s vibe to it. And it has nothing to do with the sound effects of the game, which are very nice. It has everything to do with that “crowd” effects that are among the worst I’ve heard in a game. After every miss you have the same “Aww” sound and after every point there’s the same cheer noise. I found myself ready to stick actual ping pong paddles (big part first) into my ears after a few go arounds.
While the game allows you to listen to your won music, which is a good thing, it would have been nice to have a few other sound options. I would have liked to have everything except for the crowd. But with the game it’s all or nothing.
Now I can get to the meat of the game.
Graphically, iPingpong 3D doesn’t push any limits of the device, but there is a 3D feel so I guess they have every right to put it in the title. You’ve got your view of the game with a floating paddle to represent you, and another to represent your opponent. The game is played only in portrait mode with no option for landscape. This will pretty much stay with you the whole game so don’t expect anything else, but it works and that’s the most important part.
And speaking of “working”, the controls are easy enough and allow you to play the game without much work. You can touch the screen anywhere to hold the paddle. You then move your finger around to move the paddle. The fact that you can touch the screen where you like is good. There is plenty of room at the bottom of the screen so that you can control the paddle without blocking anything, but there might be some that will want to use the top of the screen, or other place, to handle the game.
You can move the paddle form side to side to hit the ball and you can push it forward to give the ball a little more speed. Best of all, you can give it a little “english” to slice the ball, making it react differently on a bounce.
The game allows you to have a basic practice session before jumping into an actual match. This is a good place to get the hang of how to handle the paddle. Once you’re ready you can go into either Quick Match, Tournament, or Multiplayer modes.
Quick Match gives you a chance to go up against one of five different skills leveled players in a match of 1, 3 or 5 games. The tournament mode is really a ladder type game where you move up with each victory knocking off the 15 people ahead of you, each a little harder than the rest.
As of now the Multiplayer is handled only over Wi-Fi so you won’t be able to take on any Chinese Nationalists… unless you are in China, of course. This is a fun way to play, but I did find the game to lag a little while in the mode.
And with lag comes my next drawback to the game. Try as I might I never really got a good speed going with the hits. Much like my old Pong game, everything stayed at pretty much the same pace throughout.
I’ve played a few of the Ping Pong games in the store and have to say that this is so far my favorite. There are a few tweaks that could make this better, but for now it’s still a nice way to get take care of a Ping Pong jones. Now I want to go see Ball’s Of Fury again!