23rd Oct2017

‘Super Ping Pong Trick Shot’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

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The third game in the Ping Pong Trick Shot series (the two previous entries appeared on the 3DS), Super Ping Pong Trick Shot is essentially, for want of a better word, one of the first true examples of shovelware on the Nintendo Switch. Fun and addictive shovelware, but shovelware nonetheless.

The aim of the game is ridiculously simple. Throw a ball and get it in a cup. That’s the rule of beer pong, and those are the rules here – though there’s no beer in sight in this game, rather multiple glasses and multiple ways to get the ball in place… Taking the physics of the likes of popular mobile game Angry Birds and adding more of a puzzle element Super Ping Pong Trick Shot may not look like anything special but dig into it and you’ll find a game that becomes increasingly addictive the more you play and the more difficult the the obstacles you have to overcome.

Speaking of mobile games, Super Ping Pong Trick Shot looks very much like a game you’d normally find on phones and tablets; with the simplistic graphics reminded me very much of titles like Twist and Two Dots. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals are serviceable, and the work in terms of gameplay but for a game that has JUST come out on Nintendo’s flagship console, you can’t help but feel a little… confused… OK, so the developers might have been going for a retro aesthetic but there’s retro and there’s looking like you’ve stepped out of that classic Amiga “Boing Ball” demo. Which, to be fair, was from 1984, so that would fit the current 80s vibe that indie developers seem to be striving for today (just look at the sheer amount of 8-bit style games available these days).

And whilst the soundtrack also isn’t much to speak of either, sounding as generic as any chiptune-esque “retro” game could, where Super Ping Pong Trick Shot does excel is in the controls. Not satisfied with being able to play the game one way, you can play this game using FOUR different control methods! You can control the game with a full, two-stick joypad/cons, or with just one joycon, or via the touchscreen control or using motion (gyro) controls; and the games difficulty increases with each one – stick with the joypad or joycon controls and the game is easy, but use the touch screen and it’s a little trickier… but the motion controls? Well, let’s just say the results for me were shambolic. I got absolutely nowhere, literally unable to make it past the first level!

The game itself consists of 80 challenges with mission and sub-mission objectives – you know the type: get one-star for completing the basic task of getting the ball into the cup, get two stars if you do that following a set stipulation (such as bouncing the ball a set amount of times), and three stars if you stick within a time or ball limit, etc. Getting one star is obviously easy – but it’s the challenge of getting two or more stars that will keep you coming back to Super Ping Pong Trick Shot. In addition to the single player Mission and Time Attack modes, the game also features a 2 player competitive mode.

The epitomy of casual gaming, Super Ping Pong Trick Shot isn’t going to set the world alight. But at less than a fiver, the game provides hours of addictive fun. This is one of those games that the phrase “just one more level” was coined for…

*** 3/5

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