Game Reviews

One Player Pong

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iOS
| One Player Pong
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One Player Pong
|
iOS
| One Player Pong

There's a fairly common misconception that video games are always more fun in multiplayer.

As anyone with a misanthropic streak will tell you - or even just anyone who has endured an evening of smack talk from an irritatingly accomplished rival - this is patently not the case.

One Player Pong, as the name suggests, takes the father of all multiplayer video games and cuts out all that tiresome social junk.

What's that pong?

I jest, of course. Pong continues to be ace to this day, an almost perfect distillation of 1 vs 1 competitive gaming.

And that's why One Player Pong is kind of a flawed idea from the off. Why would you want to play Pong by yourself, given that the whole concept is based on competition?

The other glaring issue is that someone found a way of circumventing that question within a year of Pong's 1972 release. It was called Breakout. You might have heard of it.

One Player Pong isn't a Breakout clone. There are no bricks to break, no walls to bounce off.

Rather, you rotate your angled bat around a circular playing arena, batting a single ball back and forth to yourself. As the speed steadily increases, things get more frantic, and failure becomes inevitable.

Wheels come off

The controls for this take the form of a virtual wheel, which must be 'spun' either way to rotate the paddle. It's a little fiddly, with the need to lift your finger off at times clashing with the Twitter and high-score buttons located right below.

Pressing either of these doesn't pause the game, but overlays a prompt in front of your live game. Accidental nudges are unhelpful, then, and not as rare as they should be.

But for One Player Pong's biggest problem, we simply have to go back to that core concept. Imagine playing tennis by yourself, but rather than hitting the ball against a wall, you keep running around the other side of the net to hit your own return.

Not only would it be exhausting, but the mentality of hitting the next shot would change into a negative thing - you wouldn't rip a satisfying topspin forehand across court, would you?

One Player Pong is a similar experience - wearisome and futile to the core.

One Player Pong

A flawed concept that lacks the tactile joy of its illustrious inspiration
Score