Back in early 2017 not long after the PlayStation VR first launched, publisher Merge Games released Ping Pong VR for the virtual reality headset. It was a solid title but had issues which isn’t too surprising given it was early days for the headset. One of the main issues was that it didn’t have multiplayer support which is something you’d expect to have in a game like this. Now two years later Merge Games and ONE-O-ONE Games have released VR Ping Pong Pro on PlayStation VR. It adds the missing multiplayer functionality that the first game lacked but is still in need of further improvement before it’s a real ping pong champion.
VR Ping Pong Pro is played using either one or two PlayStation Move controllers. The game once again offers a single player mode alongside the new multiplayer mode. Playing solo you can choose from one of five different difficulty settings for the CPU. There are eight different locations to have your ping pong duel in this time around and they are a huge improvement over what the first game offered. No longer are you dealing with environments with barely any detail but rather colorful and lively locations such as Japanese gardens, a garage, and a video game arcade. While the locations are visually more appealing the game still suffers from being a bit too blurry which is disappointing.
The game takes a moment to walk you through the ropes with a short tutorial. Settings such as table height and paddle angle can be adjusted to where they feel right to you. When playing regular matches against the CPU you can choose from a few different difficulty settings but due to how the physics felt I found the game tough regardless. Many times when I hit the ball it didn’t go the way that it should’ve. There were also times where the game failed to register that I hit the ball. This is the developers second try at this type of game and it was disappointing to find that the physics and hit detection still aren’t where they should be. This is even more glaring when there is a similar game on PlayStation VR that doesn’t have these issues.
In addition to the standard match types this game also has some arcade modes that give you different objectives. One has you trying to knock over jars that are stacked up while another has you facing off against an opponent where every time your ball hits a part of the table that part disappears making for a smaller game space as the match goes on. I appreciated these other modes as they help to add more value and variety to this package.
When choosing to play online you have the option to either play a single match or a tournament where four players battle to be the last one holding their paddle. Matchmaking was slow in my time playing the game but I was able to find some others to play with after some waiting. As a regular VR player this wasn’t too surprising to me given that the PlayStation VR install base is still small and even less people are going to own this game. It’s just one of those cases where I’m glad the multiplayer option is here so that you can invite people you know to play or find others online to group up with.
I spoke earlier about how the game is a huge step up visually when it comes to the environments but when it comes to the character models it still comes up short. When you play against the CPU the only thing you see is their paddle and when you play against another player online all you see is the paddle and a floating headset. It would’ve been nice to have some sort of avatar representing the player and the CPU. Music isn’t really present in the game but the sound effect of the ball bouncing back and forth is done well. Oddly enough the game doesn’t support in-game chat either which just doesn’t make any sense to me. It makes it feel like you are still playing against the CPU when you are playing against a real player. For the trophy hunters out there the game has a total of 12 trophies including a Platinum. Most of them are for winning a match in various conditions and in a game that doesn’t have wonky physics or hit detection problems it would probably be an easy list. Because of the issues here though you could run into trouble earning some of these.
VR Ping Pong Pro is a big step up over the original game visually but the physics still not feeling right make it hard to give this one a sure fire recommendation to. You’re also going to be stuck mostly playing against the CPU as no one is really playing it online right now. Hopefully some patches can come along to make the game feel better to play but for now approach this one with caution.
*VR Ping Pong Pro is available now on PlayStation VR and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review. ThisGenGaming is an official partner of vrgamecritic.com where you can find all of our PlayStation VR reviews.
VR Ping Pong Pro$24.99
- Huge improvement over the first game visually with lots of nice locales to play in
- Arcade modes help to bring some additional variety to the game
- Includes multiplayer support this time
- Physics and hit detection frequently feel off making gameplay frustrating
- Hard to find others online to play with
- No in-game chat and no player avatars