Ping pong, or otherwise known as table tennis in other parts of the world, is a game played quite similarly to, well, tennis. World Cup Ping Pong is entirely touch-controlled. Tap and drag the paddle to move it across the screen. If you fancy some acrobatics, try swiping when you hit the ball to give it a little spin and trick the computer player. Regardless of how you play the game, standard ping pong rules apply.
Unlike other Skyworks games we’ve reviewed so far, World Cup Ping Pong comes with up to four different modes of play. You get the standard Tournament Mode, Arcade Mode, Head to Head as well as Practice Mode.
As the name suggests, you enter the Tournament Mode and play against (computer) players from different countries. Your competition starts at the quarter finals, moving on towards the semi-finals and, if you successfully beat the computer player, the finals. Although the game calls itself ‘world cup’, you are only given a choice of eight different nations to represent, namely USA, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany and Russia. You’ll notice that there are stars on a certain country’s flag – I assume this means how strong the player representing the country is. I have yet to win the World Cup, so here’s a call to Skyworks to update the game and make it a little, erm, easier?
Forrest Gump fans might want to check out Arcade Mode. You get to practise your returns skills, just like how Forrest Gump did it in the movie. Targets of varying sizes and color will appear occasionally on the other end of the table – hitting them gives you extra points. Obviously, the smaller the target, the more points it brings.
Next, check out the Head to Head mode. You’ll need to bring a friend to play together in this mode. It feels more like one of the many air hockey games, where you see a top down view of the table. Judging be the size of an iPhone or iPod touch, playing against another friend in this mode seems a little cramped. I’d love to see the game implement wi-fi or Bluetooth peer-to-peer gameplay.
Last of all is the Practice Mode. This is a more relaxed version of the Tournament Mode. Choose the nation that you want to represent, then choose your opponent’s nation. Again, stars near each country’s flag tells you how skilled the player is, which both China and Russia sharing the same maximum four-star rating.
Other than the Head to Head mode, every other mode in the game lets you choose your paddle style before the game starts. Your choice of selection is quite limited with only three different paddles to choose from – each having a variance on power versus spin.
As with all Skyworks games, there’s also a global leaderboard where players get to post their best scores and compete against other players from the world. A simple registration is required, but if you own other Skyworks games, you can actually reuse the same login details here.
Graphics-wise, the game is in 3D. You’ll notice some transparency in on your paddle – this is to ensure that your paddle don’t obstruct your view of the whole play area. There’s no crowd visible in the game, but you’ll know that they exist when they cheer or jeer. On-board sound effects are great, but there’s only the option of two different music tracks to choose from. Again, from previous reviews, I’d urge that Skyworks add more music tracks and also have the music play randomly instead of the same music over and over again.
Besides the superb gameplay across all different modes, I do have some complaints though. For instance, when service break occurs, the paddles does not respond to players touch. It feels a little awkward that you seem to lose control of the game. I hope this is fixed soon. Other than that, I am sure many players want more gameplay options. Currently, each game lasts for only one match – can we have best of three matches or better yet, best of five?
At the usual price of $1.99, Skywork’s World Cup Ping Pong delivers what a ping pong game should be. Since the iPhone (and iPod touch) was launched, there’s been a lack of real ping pong games so this one helps fill in the void left by the rest. Check it out from the iTunes Store – as of this writing, the game is currently on sale for only $0.99 and that’s for a very limited time only! You’ll most probably see the game appear in the Top Paid Apps list, thanks to strategic pricing and yes, addictive gameplay. If you need further convincing, then give World Cup Ping Pong Lite a try!
Be sure to also check out other Skyworks game while you are there in the iTunes Store!
Rating: 4.5/5.0 Taps