Pong. Reading that word instantly sprouts gaming memories. Just as Pacman or Tetris everyone knows what Pong is about, right? Developer Chequered Ink and Atari are reinventing the wheel with Pong Quest but unfortunately, this newly invented wheel doesn’t roll smoothly… Especially painful because Pong is a nostalgic classic in gaming history that deserves a lot better.
What we liked!
- Creating your own paddle: Much of the fun comes from unlocking parts for your paddle, you can freely design and change your playable paddle whenever you want. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously so you can end up making some really silly things. While adorable and funny this isn’t the saving grace for Pong Quest, sadly nothing is.
- Special balls: Adding flavor to the gameplay are a bunch of special balls that you collect throughout defeating other paddles. While battling it is rather confusing to select the special balls that you want, so I ended up just spamming the A-button and hoping for the best. Inventory control is just plain impossible to do. This isn’t the only negative about this mechanic, what I really hated was that balls you discarded ended up everywhere, giving the empty rooms a messy feel.
What we disliked
- Repetitive and dull gameplay: The developer went through great lengths to battle the repetitive nature of Pong Quest with the aforementioned special balls, different themed dungeons, mini-games, and dressing up your character but that doesn’t remedy the fact that the gameplay is immediately repetitive. The battle system is designed is such a way that every battle against another paddle takes way too long to remain fun. Lowering your opponent’s health, done by sending the ball back and forward is a painfully slow process that is on an endless repeat. There is something wrong in the design if players want to avoid battles at all costs because it feels like a chore.
- Lifeless and empty visuals: While the paddles give Pong Quest a lot of charm and personality it doesn’t make up for the large empty feel that every room has. The basic environment graphics, mostly with only a few colors are not what I expected. To be completely honest, considering the gameplay and the visuals I am surprised that Atari even greenlighted this game, Pong deserves better.
This is far from what I expected, this reinvented Pong is a disappointment. Visually it fails to impress, the gameplay is repetitive and dull, and using the special balls while battling is confusing and not user friendly.