We suppose it is a bit silly getting excited over a virtual reality ping pong simulation when most recreational centres have real tables of their own. Nevertheless, this author has always enjoyed a spot of video game table tennis, with Sports Champions (sorry, Rockstar) being the best adaptation thus far. But does PlayStation VR title VR Ping Pong smash?
Unfortunately, no. The game's set in a simplistic arena with a voxel crowd, and sees you wielding one PlayStation Move controller as a makeshift paddle. The problems are immediately obvious: the bat just doesn't feel right in the hand, and we ended up holding the wand awkwardly in order to ensure that we were hitting the ball from the right angle.
Given that everything in virtual reality is rendered in 3D, we were hopeful that it would be easy to judge the depth of the table, but we found ourselves constantly overcooking our shots. It feels like you have to underhit in order to land a successful return, and we're not entirely sure why that is; there's a chance it may be user error, but the physics could also be at fault.
Because we were having such trouble getting the ball back on the table, we found it hard to experiment with slices and other types of attack. That said, we did find a rhythm with serves, which feel good once you find your range. Ball tosses are operated using a trigger on the controller with the duration of the press determining height, and while it's not an ideal solution, it works well enough.
The game's clearly been made on a shoestring budget, though: the opponent is voxel-based just like the crowd, so there are no animations, just a moving a paddle that blocks back the ball. You can play a range of modes that span everything from one-off rounds to tournaments, and there are some arcade minigames that see you hitting a ball against a wall or into a goal.
But it's all undone by the fact that we never felt we could consistently judge the depth of the table itself. This makes every aspect of the game more difficult than it should be, and perhaps is an argument for a tiny amount of aim assist being applied. That said, even if the title played flawlessly, it's still far too expensive for the content that you actually get.
VR Ping Pong's a steeply priced simulation that mostly misses the mark. The presentation is rudimentary and the gameplay is awkward and unrefined. The developer may argue that we're just bad at table tennis, but we have no problem in real-life, so clearly there's something awry here. Factor in technical glitches and this is difficult to recommend.