All the way back in 2017, I reviewed the first VR Ping Pong game. It was awful. I hated it. The physics were completely off, and the presentation didn’t sit well with me. In the follow-up, VR Ping Pong Pro, the developers have looked to rectify those problems. And you know what? They have, kind of.
VR Ping Pong Pro, as the name suggests, is a PSVR-only game. You’ll need a PSVR headset and at least one PS Move wand controller, though you can use two if you’ve got them. Using just one controller is fine, but if you want to serve in a more true-to-life fashion, you’ll need two; one to tee the ball up ready for a shot, the other to smack it with your digital paddle. For this review, I tried both methods because one of my PS Move wand controllers died halfway through playing and I couldn’t be faffed with recharging it. Just so you know.
So, the big one: are the physics better this time around? Yes, but it’s still not quite right. It’s much better than the first game, for sure, but you still need to adjust to the game’s take on gravity, velocity, and aerodynamics. Einstein would not pleased.
VR Ping Pong Pro is split into a few different modes. You’ve got the single-player regular matches to play through against varying A.I difficulties. This is where I spent most of my time swinging my paddle, and although I was losing like a chump against the easiest A.I opponents, I found my groover after a while and managed to get a good back and forth going, eventually winning a few rounds. The more difficult A.I, however, is still kicking my arse and I’ve yet to win a match against it. Someday, maybe.
There’s multiplayer, though it seems to be dead on arrival. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to find a game at different times of day to no avail. I’m in mainland Europe, so I thought it’d be easy to find a game in the early evening. Nope. I stayed up until 4 AM one night in the hope of playing against somebody in North America. Nope. I don’t even have any friends who own the game, so co-ordinating a session wasn’t possible. I can’t say I mind that much as the A.I provides a good challenge, but it would be nice to at least have a go against a real person instead of a few lines of code.
Then there are the mini-games. These are fun, bite-sized experiences that are really helpful in learning the game’s rules, controls, and for getting acclimatised with the game’s physics. Like I said, the physics are good, but there’s still something a little “off” about it. The mini-games won’t keep you going for long, but they’re fun enough and work well for pass-the-headset local multiplayer.
The graphical presentation in VR Ping Pong Pro is perhaps the greatest improvement over the original game. The first game was very simple in that regard, but this time it’s a pleasure to just have a look around the different environments you can play in. The developer was aiming for realism, and I’m happy to say that it has been achieved, or at least as much as it can be on the PSVR. But pretty arenas don’t make a game, and the shortfalls are still present.
I found myself losing easy points due to the game not recognising my swings. At times, when I was sure I’d given the ball a sweet slice with my paddle, it would just bounce on past me. Other times, I’d lightly tap the ball at an angle to catch the A.I off guard, only for the ball to take on a completely different trajectory. I want to say that it didn’t happen enough to ruin the experience, but it was often enough that some matches were lost and others came close when they never should have.
VR has given us a wealth of experiences that wouldn’t be possible in the real world. I’ve flown planes, fired machine guns, and danced the night away in a virtual nightclub (Dance Central VR is the bomb on Oculus Quest!) but I’ve yet to have a satisfactory game of virtual Ping Pong. Perhaps some things are best left to the real world?
VR Ping Pong Pro PSVR Review
Overall - Good - 6.5/10
VR Ping Pong Pro is a marked improvement over the first game, but it still falls short of selling an authentic VR experience. It’s OK and you can have a great time with the game, but I always felt like greatness was just a few tweaks out of reach.
- Gameplay is good, but you need to adjust to the game’s physics
- Graphics are great and the environments really do look fantastic
- The game’s physics are still just a touch “off” and it takes time to adjust mentally
- Multiplayer is dead on arrival
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.