World Ping Pong Championship Review—World Class Disappointment

PingPongTitle

When I was kid, I wanted a pool table. Instead, my parents got me a ping pong table. While I was disappointed, I grew to like ping pong. So when I saw World Ping Pong Championship get released, I was cautiously optimistic. Unfortunately, rather than reminding me of the fun I had playing ping pong, it reminds me of the initial disappointment.

While Gameshastra created a handful of original titles for the Minis program at the very start (games like D-Cube and Deflector), most have simply been ports, either from their PC casual games or their more recent efforts on iOS. At first I thought this was an original PSP title, but apparently it is simply a port of World Cup Table Tennis, originally by Skyworks (who also originally did Crime Spree).

You control a ping pong paddle, apparently held by The Invisible Man. You can move the paddle around with the D-pad or analog nub, and pressing X jabs the paddle forward. To serve, you have to move the paddle to the ball and hit it; you can’t use the X button. To return the ball after it’s batted back to you, you move the paddle where you want and hit the X button to whack it back.

You don’t always need to use the X button though, as you can just move it forward yourself. It’s kind of a strange playing method, as if it were meant for a touchscreen where your finger controlled the paddle, or perhaps even for the Wii, with the waggle controls. Using the analog nub or D-pad instead is more than a little clunky. Still, because it’s physics-based (as opposed to simply timing your button presses), you can perform some impressive trick shots by putting spin on the ball.

The Invisible Man meets The Invisible Man.

The Invisible Man meets The Invisible Man.

On the other hand, you can’t really seem to slam the paddle down hard to spike the ball. Then again, maybe that’s not done in competitive ping pong, as it can be somewhat dangerous (I fell on and broke the legs of a table that way). But I think it’s just because touch controls don’t always translate well to a D-pad or analog nub. They should have added a slam button.

And basically that’s all there is to World Ping Pong Championship, other than being able to choose to play an opponent in practice mode or compete in a World Championship tournament. In either case, you are playing against invisible people, though they do come from countries, which are rated by skill. China and Russia are the tops at ping pong, while the US and UK are the worst, lagging behind Finland, Canada, Sweden and Germany.

The graphics are clean, if very sparse. There’s a table, two paddles, and a ball. The music is generic, though catchy and the sound effects are ones you’ve probably heard before.

The mightiest nations of the Earth do battle....at Ping Pong.

The mightiest nations of the Earth do battle....at Ping Pong.

While World Ping Pong Championship can be fun to play for a match or two, there’s just so little to it. Icon Games has made a number of fairly simple sports games—Arcade Darts, Arcade Air Hockey & Bowling, etc.—but they went the extra mile and added things like opponents with names and faces, not to mention different things to unlock and spiffier presentation. This is among the most spartan of Minis, about on par with Sony’s “Feel for Two” line.

As I look at YouTube and look at the iOS version on which this is based, there are all these extra features on iOS that would have addressed my complaints. Unlockable paddles, more countries in the tournaments, stat tracking, and so forth. That version? 99 cents. This costs £2.49/€2.99. There is no excuse to charge more money for less features.

Far, far less features in this case. This is not the first time Gameshastra has ported an iPhone game to PSP without including all the content (Top Gun lost the volleyball mini-game, Route 66 lost the mini-games to replenish hints), but this is by far the most egregious. My guess is they ported the game a couple of years ago (the copyright date on it is 2010), when World Cup Table Tennis was more bare-bones, and they simply just published it now, rather than updating the game to its more current form.

3/10

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Comments

6 Responses to “World Ping Pong Championship Review—World Class Disappointment”
  1. JeremyR says:

    And sorry for the photos instead of proper screenshots – they’re not the best company about putting them up…and all I could find on Youtube was the iOS version.

  2. Ofaliss says:

    Uh oh, I think Jeremy just entered the…

    DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANGER ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!

  3. JeremyR says:

    More like the Caddyshack II theme song, also by Kenny Loggins, and which led to his career downfall…

  4. onmode-ky says:

    “Icon Games . . . went the extra mile and added things like opponents with names and faces, not to mention different things to unlock and spiffier presentation.”

    Hear, hear. Icon may not specialize in unique gameplay mechanics, but their presentation is always very slick. In Arcade Air Hockey & Bowling, the intro camera sweep across each venue was something I rarely bypassed.

    “There is no excuse to charge more money for less features.”

    B-b-but in this version, you can use buttons in a game which probably worked better without them!

    By the way, Jeremy, I changed the last link in the review to the one which I think you meant to use.

  5. min says:

    dear readers, this is a very bad game. There is a psone classic on the EU store called HARDCORE 4X4 and is only 1.99. It is great!!!Much better than most minis under 2 pound. If you are putting £10 on your psn wallet for a 7.99 game, you will have 2.01 left. Now with that lef over, hard earned cash you could get a mini but you could also get a 3 psone classics(one of 3 psone classics under 2 pound,not all 3!!!) and have much more fun. On google, type “TNN MOTOR SPORT HARDCORE 4X4″ and look for a gameplay vid. It is much better than this mini.

  6. min says:

    I didnt mean it like that so sorry if i got u angry, all i ment was that some minis are overpriced especially when you can buy psone games cheaper. Don’t get me wrong, minis is one of my all time favourites from PlayStation and is something i visit every time i go on the store but some minis are just overly priced by a long shot. N.O.V.A for example is a great mini but was a bit expensive (3.99), I waited until the sale was on during the summer and got it for 1.74. I loved it but 3.99 is just to high. All mini games so have mini prices.
    I am so sorry for offending you onmode-ky, i hope u can forgive me now that you know what i mean.

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