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Game Info:

Ping Pong Trick Shot
Published By: Starsign
Developed By: Starsign, SIMS Co.
Released: September 1, 2016
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Puzzle, Strategy
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Number of Players: 1
Price: $1.99

Thank you Rainy Frogs Games for sending us review codes for Starsigns' games!

The 3DS is a haven for cheaper titles looking to break into the market. Sometimes you get a gem, like with Gunman Clive and other times you may get a stinker that you regret spending a few dollars on. Ping Pong Trick Shot nearly falls into the latter.

Ping Pong Trick Shot, as its name implies, is all about performing trick shots with ping pong balls. By pulling back on the circle pad, or using the stylus, you can aim where you want the ball to go. When you use the circle pad a bar will begin to fill. This is your power bar and it determines how much strength is behind your throw. Pressing 'A' when it's full throws the ball harder, and conversely throws the ball softer the less the bar is filled. Mixing these two mechanics makes for far too much trial and error in stages. Using just the stylus doesn't use the power bar. Instead, the game will determine how hard and from which angle you flicked the stylus on the bottom screen. I had just as much difficulty with the stylus mode as I did with the circle pad.

Ping Pong Trick Shot
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun gameplay with four modes to play; Catchy soundtrack; Best enjoyed in short bursts.
Weak Points: Graphics are extremely basic; Camera angles aren't always the best; Gets repetitive with long play sessions.
Moral Warnings: None!

There are four different modes to choose from and each add in a small amount of variation. First up is Score Attack. In it, we're given 20 balls and the goal is to make as many in the cup as possible. There are 30 levels to choose from, but the inconsistent nature of the power bar and stylus mode means you'll be missing nearly every shot the first time you play a level. Even after multiple attempts on the same level I still couldn't find the sweet spot.

The second mode is Mission Mode. In it you'll have to pass five random stages with specific bounce criteria. This may have you attempting to make a shot in three bounces, or not being able to bounce even once. This was my favorite mode as it felt like a fair challenge. Next up is Challenge Mode. You're given 35 balls and you must pass every stage before running out of balls. This one definitely lives up to its name. It's not impossible, but with a lot of practice you'll get it. The last mode is the most underwhelming of the modes. Time Attack gives you one minute to try and make as many balls as possible into the cup.

Ping Pong Trick Shot
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 64%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Graphically the game looks incredibly limited. Each stage is composed of two or three checkerboard tiles and a cup. Sometimes objects like buttons are used, and when hit they usually activate a tile making it spin or just lower. You can sort of move the camera, but it's fixed in such a way that not using the starting angle can actually make it harder to determine where the ball will go. The music on the other hand is the only saving grace here. It's catchy and actually relaxing to listen to. Sound effects are accurate and sound very much like ping pong noises.

At the end of the day Ping Pong Trick Shot is a decent casual game. Is it going to blow you away with its impressive frame rate or deep narrative driven gameplay? Well no, obviously, but what it will do is provide you with plenty of 10-minute play sessions. For those looking for a cheap, casual gaming experience, you may find something enjoyable here for your $2 investment.

-Kyuremu

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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