Sunday 1 April 2018

Pocket Ping Pong 2005 (Gizmondo review)

Developer: Netdol Ltd
Publisher: Fathammer
Released: 2005

Pocket Ping Pong 2005 is a sports game that was only released in the UK and Europe.

Arcade mode tasks you with beating six players to win the league. Each character has offensive, defensive and special shots, and the action takes place in a first-person perspective. The immediate problem is that your racket isn't displayed which leaves you guessing as to where you are in relation to the ball. Even if you do make contact, there's not much consistency as to where it will land, and hitting the same button in the same table position will produce different results; this makes winning a match seem more about luck rather than skill. It does become slightly easier the more you play (and there's some enjoyment to be had when you get an opponent off balance with defensive shots and then smash it to their opposite side), but you'll never feel totally in control. The frame-rate doesn't help, as it varies from playable to choppy. Perhaps it wouldn't be as bad if you could judge your opponent's shot type from the SFX, but even those don't play until the ball has crossed over the net! By this point, they've probably already smashed it and you'll be out of position with no time to react. In Target Practice, you launch static balls to hit blocks on the other side of the table within a time limit. It's decent, mainly because you don't have to rally and contend with the wonky controls! Return Fire tasks you with hitting a certain number of balls as they're fired from a cannon at increasing speeds; again, the lack of an on-screen racket and the choppy frame-rate make this frustrating. Nonstop Rally tasks you with keeping the ball in play for as long as possible; unfortunately, many rallies end whenever the game decides to send a ball out of play instead of over the net.

Pocket Ping Pong 2005 has the stench of a game that's either complete shovelware, or that was rushed to market before all the kinks had been ironed out. While it becomes marginally entertaining with repeated attempts, it can teeter dangerous close to being unplayable due to its lousy controls and unstable frame-rate.

Random trivia: This was the only game developed by the South Korean company Netdol Ltd.

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