Yes, we all remember Pong, but do you remember Ping? It’s possible. Nevertheless, you’ll be remembering it pretty soon as it makes a comeback and transition from the Android market to PC and Wii U with a remastered and enhanced version aptly titled Ping 1.5+. The Nami Tentou Mushi development team was kind enough to send me the latest beta build of their upcoming game to check out what can be expected in the final version. Having never played Ping before, I was going into this blind, and was pleased to really enjoy what I got to play.
First off, what is Ping? While the famous Pong has you controlling a paddle to knock a moving ball away from you, Ping has you controlling the ball (technically a cube in this case). The objective is equally simple as you must sling the cube in any given direction with any amount of speed and try to get it to bounce to the goal. However, Ping 1.5+ is as challenging to master as it is simple to play.
The game initially began as developer Christopher Arnold’s solo project, and it’s evident that Ping didn’t start out very big. This updated version, however, includes a host of new content, although there are still a couple of issues that ought to be sorted out on the way to the release date. What makes the game particularly difficult is that a good number of levels only give you one single shot to beat the level. This then requires absolute precision and timing, which, in these levels, proves to be especially difficult. It’d definitely be nicer to have the option to increase the amount of shots you can take, making the game a bit easier, but at the cost of your score, similar to Runner 2. It would help with never getting stuck on a level, preventing you from seeing everything else the game as to offer.
Naturally, a hearty challenge is always welcome in gaming, but a feature like this would be more than convenient, and would add overall value to the game with its separate options. In spite it all though, Ping 1.5+ is a ton of fun to play through when you get the hang of it, and finally beating those levels after countless tries feels all the more satisfying.
The best part of it is how there is a distinct variety among every level of Ping 1.5+ that helps it stand way above your standard indie game with just a clever concept; there is a refined feeling to it all when you see how many different levels require completely different strategies. Specifically, the boss battles in this game are 8-bit truckloads of fun once you’re giving a ton of shots to unleash the fury on whatever enemy or enemies are in your way.
On its way to PC, the controls work perfectly fine and responsively with just the mouse. Arnold has revealed that separate control schemes are in order for the Wii U version, allowing for use of the control stick or the touch screen on the GamePad, which sounds like a match made in heaven for a game like Ping.
As it is, the beta for Ping 1.5+ is looking great with its updated presentation and added content to make a big, humble, and elegant debut outside of the mobile market. And now with a full team of people working in Nami Tentou Mushi and the sequel Ping 2 well under way, I’m hopelessly eager to see what they come up with next in unleashing this budding series’ full potential. For now though, Ping 1.5+ is definitely well worth your time as a small, fierce, and stylish indie game.
We’ll be sure to let you know when information on an official release date arrives. In the meantime, you can check out the original teaser trailer below for Ping 1.5+ before it comes out sometime soon on the Wii U, PC, and Android.