With its release, the 3DS has invited a huge range of new indie games and developers to this platform and with a constant barrage of new games being released physically and online in the Nintendo E Store, there’s bound to be some classic and unforgettable indie games, unfortunately ‘Ping Pong Trick Shot’ doesn’t make the cut.
To begin with ‘Ping Pong Trick Shot’ seems like a reasonably enjoyable and light-hearted game, although sketchy around the edges, the main purpose of the game was clear – get the ball into the cup on the other side of the room. Simple and albeit relatively challenging, the idea is to use the stylus or circle pad to line up your trajectory and provide power to your ping pong ball in hopes that it lands in its desired location. The power bar fills up at the speed of light, and you’re more likely to let the ball drop to the ground without any power or send it flying into next week then it actually reaching its target. With its awkward physics and inconsistent controls, it doesn’t help the player become good at this game. Dodging obstacles and using items such as warp holes, trampolines, and most notably moving platforms, you can even defy the impossible and pull off insane skill shots, if you can be bothered to stick around for that long.
The main game challenges your skill (or lack thereof) across four different game modes. Although seemingly the same, the modes are slightly different and implement a range of skills needed for each one. First up, Score Attack Mode, how many times can you get the ball in the cup with 20 shots. Mission mode; Challenge yourself with five stages all with their own specific bounce criteria. Challenge Mode; Try to complete all the stages, but with only 35 balls in total. Time Attack, find out how many times can you throw the ball in the cup with a time limit attached. Each of these game types put certain pressures on the player depending on which one they are playing, but most frustratingly they are all the same. There are no mode-specific levels, creating a monotonous and tedious play through as you inevitably repeat levels just to have some glimmer of completion, as the game doesn’t track any progress through the different stages; you’re left in a state of confusion with nothing to compare your score to.
The game itself is ugly, although the purpose is simple and the functions work to their fullest extent, even if it takes a lot of getting used to. The developers haven’t taken the time to clear up some of the more minor aspects and that takes a big toll in the end result.
The menus are underdeveloped and rough, all of them are pixelated and not in a cool retro sort of way, more like in a i-couldn’t-be-bothered sort of way. Anything but exhilarating, the entire colour scheme for this game is very bland and actually makes it hard to be excited to play it. The background is a simple solid blue against the checkerboard pattern of the obstacles and it doesn’t change throughout the game making it dull to play.
Also, the textures are boring. The ball is in essence a ball, the cup is cup-shaped, but in the end they are just shapes, apparently the designer didn’t feel the need to make anything unique. It’s almost like nothing special went into creating these aspects and instead actually seems like quite a rushed project. It doesn’t feel as though there is any finessing, it’s as if they didn’t expect many people to play it.
Unfortunately after a while, even with the different modes, this repetitive skill based game gave way to boredom and it lost the little charm it possessed. You can only hone your skills to a certain extent when the game is laborious from the get go. Although the game worked for its intended purpose and the different aspects worked as they should, Ping Pong Trick Shot failed to envelope any level of satisfaction. The overall feel and response of the game in the end was profoundly negative, as there are no feelings of enjoyment or even achievement from playing and in essence is just disappointing.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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