PN Review: Ping 1.5 +
Ping 1.5 + takes the simplest of premises – guiding a small white cube to an orange sphere – and turns it into one of the most challenging Wii U games yet! It may not be for the easily frustrated, but Ping 1.5 + offers plenty more besides its stiff challenge.
This physics based puzzler has you aiming your cube strategically, trying to get ideal angles for the perfect bounces. It entails using the surroundings to your advantage and avoiding the many obstacles that hinder your aim, all while trying to reach the goal in the least number of moves possible. Exceed the stingy bounce limit and you lose! The game demands both a lot of thought, and sharp reflexes to quickly adjust on the fly.
Though certainly frustrating at times, the sheer level variety keeps things highly interesting. While the task remains the same, unique elements injected throughout make the game more diverse than you might imagine. Part of it comes as a result of new mechanics introduced in each world. More of it stems from the retro nods – so many that they need their own paragraph.
Are you a classic Atari fan? If so Ping 1.5 + offers copious amounts of the best kind of nostalgia! Nods to Asteroids, Missile Command, Pitfall, Pong, Space Invaders, Warlords, Yars’ Revenge, etc. I could go on, but suffice to say it’s great stuff! Newer gamers needn’t worry too much either, as classic Nintendo gets some love, and even more current fare has influence. Everything impacts the level design, being more than just mere eye candy. Speaking of which …
Visually I feel the game has aced its design – a strong retro style with modern touches. Bright neon colors, pixels everywhere, and constant background animations, all in 3D. Better still, none of these effects distract from the gameplay. Even mundane things like the manual and credits manage to impress, elevating the game’s presentation. The graphics also have a great compliment in the audio department. There’s a very good mix of rousing tunes and retro sound effects! I did encounter one massive audio glitch that forced me to reset the software though – the only blemish in an otherwise impressive package.
Control is done with either the touch screen or GamePad buttons. Options are always nice, although I imagine the stylus will be preferred by the vast majority. I really wish there was a quicker retry option however! You can turn on an ‘auto retry’ (strangely off by default) but it can still be a long wait on certain levels as you watch your cube slowly exhaust its bounces.
My main concern for Ping 1.5 + (other than certainly alienating many due to frustration) is instances of intense slowdown. Lag can and will throw off timing, mess with hit detection, and generally make the game feel even buggier at certain points! Is it annoying? You bet. Is it game breaking? No it’s not. The game’s so much fun that I’ve grown forgiving, even when lag nearly destroyed a boss fight for me! Speaking of the boss fights, most are especially imaginative and satisfying, even in spite of slowdown.
Ping 1.5 + is for seasoned gamers. There is a bit of freedom with level selection (it’s not entirely linear) and a classic cheat code has wisely been programmed in, but this is still very much an advanced gamers’ game. If you are one though, it’s absolutely not to be missed! Even with some glitches, this game is just plain fun! Ping 1.5 + is incredibly addictive, has good replay value for completionists, and is hugely satisfying!