I’m tempted to award Virtual Table Tennis Pro full marks simply because it provides one of my favourite things in abundance, namely comical broken English.
Admittedly I’m a big fat hypocrite in that I can’t speak any language other than English (well, maybe a wee bit of French), but there’s no denying the comedy gold on display here.
The iTunes blurb sets the scene fantastically: “Based on the independently developed physical system, motion of Ping-Pong can be brought to life by simulation.”
It continues: “Techniques like 3D and realistic physics have been claimed in every Ping-Pong game. But only video or game itself is evidence of its claimed effect.” You tell them, Virtual Table Tennis Pro!
Actually, that last sentence was oddly articulate. But it gets better, thanks to the tutorial. There’s not much to learn (serve, return, smash), but the guidance is appreciated nonetheless.
Here’s how the game explains serving: “When the ball turning into clear, it means the paddle can hit it. At this time, hold the paddle and move the paddle forward to stroke the ball; the ball will be severed out along the direction of your swing.” A severed ball doesn’t sound too healthy.
Returning or “catching”: “Now we come to understand the catching ball. When catching ball, after the ball bouncing on the table of the side, you should hit the ball when it bouncing to a right height, just as when it was serving.”
My personal favourite, however, is the explanation of the smash: “…the paddle need to maintain an accelerated process in the 0.1 second before it being touch with the ball, otherwise, the ball may not have enough topspin to out of bounds.” Great stuff.
On completing the tutorial, you have the choice of two “operating modes”. The first is Absolute Follow Type: “Move your finger on the screen to any position; the paddle will definitely follow the current position of your finger.” That’s fairly self-explanatory, no?
Alternatively, there’s Relative Move Type: “The paddle just will be consistent with the direction and distance of movement of your fingers on the screen.” So the paddle doesn’t follow your position, only the speed and direction. This means you don’t have to obscure the screen with your big fat hand. Bonus.
So, broken English aside, is Virtual Table Tennis Pro any good? Well, yes, actually. The realistic physics are indeed evidenced in the game itself.
There are three modes to choose from. Practice is an endless mode, essentially the same as a proper game but without points; Arcade offers a series of fictional opponents of varying difficulty (represented by star ratings), and Tournament is, well, a tournament.
If the ads bother you, you can pay a fairly hefty £1.19 to get shot of them.
- Solid physics
- Two control types
- Three game modes
- It’s pretty tough
- The ads (meh)
Summary: Virtual Table Tennis Pro is oddly enjoyable and unintentionally hilarious. And it’s free, so no harm done if you don’t like it.
Developer: SenseDevil Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: free @ App Store