Ping Pong is a sport that takes hand-eye coordination and gives you the ability to test your opponent and have them test you. The shots can come in hard and they can come in fast and you have to decide if you are going to return the serve with the same force or rethink your strategy in hopes you can score that winning shot. But does Developers One-O-One Games and IV PRODUCTIONS along with Publisher Merge Games give us something to swing at? Let’s find out with VR Ping Pong Pro for the PlayStation VR.
Being as this is Ping Pong, you will, of course, want to make sure both Move controllers are fully charged as you don’t want one Move controller to die out on you as you are going for that winning shot only to miss and be the laughing stock of the Ping Pong community now do you? No…great…let’s continue.
VR Ping Pong Pro is as you guessed it, Ping Pong in Virtual Reality where you get to play around in different countries as well as some multiplayer action (more on this in a few). When you start, you will, of course, need to adjust your height, table distance, racket location, rotation, and tilt and also decide if you want the audio on or off. For me, I went with the audio on and you will want to really mess with the height and table distance. I didn’t do this at first and it felt like my timing was off. Using one Move controller you will throw the ping pong in the air, while the other Move controller will control the paddle.
Once you are ready to move on to the actual game of Ping Pong, you are inside a welcome menu area that will give you options such as selecting languages, settings, audio, rules, change the skins of your rackets as well as selecting different areas for single player and multiplayer. I would suggest starting with the first single-player area you come to, so you can at least get a feel before going against any of the tough competitors out there.
One thing that I noticed that I liked is how each area of the single-player areas has a different look to them and feel to them. One area has you playing outside in the park while another has you in Japan at night time while another one has you in a garage that looks like something Bill Gates had while working on a computer. But what I did notice is how the photo-realistic backdrops are not as clear as I would like. Yes, you can make out what the surroundings are and I know the focus is on the Ping Pong action, but it would be nice if the backgrounds were just a tad bit clearer. But I do applaud the developers for trying something fresh to the mix. If you are able to win the match, you also get the chance to also gain some new skins for your paddles which is a nice touch.
Just don’t go in thinking you are Forrest Gump, take the time to learn the physics of how the ball moves while playing in Virtual Reality. Even though I was losing quite a bit at first, I kept practicing until I was able to get some of the angles down and do some spins and hit the ball hard enough where the opponent would miss the shot or just hit it short enough where the opponent would strike back only to hit the net. You know the saying, practice makes perfect.
You will notice before joining a single-player ai match, there is a difficulty setting. Even when on the lowest, it seems that the lowest is what a two or three difficulty would be. Not saying that this is a bad thing as it gives you the opportunity to keep practicing and practicing until you can nail those killer shots. If you want a break from the single-player action, you can select Arcade and choose between Wall, Goal, Hit this Point, Bowling, and Broken. There is a coming soon section and honestly, I can’t wait to see what gets added.
Earlier I mentioned Multiplayer and this is one of the things I was excited about. However, no matter how many times I tried and no matter what time of day or night I tried, there was no one on. This was somewhat of a letdown and even though the people in the background were cheering me on and hoping to see some action, there was no action for me to experience. I know if more people were on and ready to play, there would be some good social Ping Pong fun going on.
There are some things that I would love to see get addressed and updated. For one, the AI. Across from you all you see is a paddle. It would be nice to see some type of person being represented where you can customize them more than just a paddle skin. Secondly, the physics. Throughout my time playing VR Ping Pong Pro, something felt off from time to time. When I went in for the hit at times, the shot didn’t go the way I thought it would or when I tried to return the ball as the opponent hit it passed me, I would miss the shot every now and then. It was me finally adjusting the way that I played that it seemed to have a better flow more times than not. But even at the times when I adjusted my style, my shots would not register as much as I would like. And lastly, multiplayer. Even though I didn’t get a chance to try this and I know if given the opportunity, there could be some real fun here. I am not sure if cross-play is turned on or if it can be turned on, but that may help with the online aspect and playing against PCVR players. I just hope there are some updates sooner than later.
VR Ping Pong Pro is out now for PlayStation VR. A review code was provided. To learn more about One-O-One, please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about IV PRODUCTIONS, please visit their site. To learn more about Merge, please visit their site, and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need more practice for when I do get an online match.