Game Reviews

Pktball - Deuces are wild

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Pktball - Deuces are wild

While the lure of a Crossy Road or Flappy Bird arcade machine is impossible for some to resist, the first thing I run towards in the amusements is the air hockey table.

It inspires competition in a mutually gratifying, thoroughly entertaining way, yet still demands your full concentration, and a degree of skill to get the best out of it.

And amazingly, Laser Dog has managed to bottle and cork those qualities in the break-neck pace and simplistic satisfaction of Pktball.

How am I supposed to take a game that's missing letters in its title seriously?

For the purposes of this review, please try. Because it's actually really good, and I think you're going to like it.

My earlier air hockey comparison will probably seem strange at first, because the game appears to be set on a tennis court, pitting two headband-wearing athletes with rackets against one another.

But when you first swipe your finger to serve the bouncing ball, slamming it towards the other side of the court, the frenetic, power-up fuelled action begins.

Then it's a test of reflexes. As you frantically rally back and forth, aiming the ball so it passes over coins and power-ups in order to make the most of each turn, ricocheting off the sides to sneak in an unreturnable point.

Pktball allows you complete freedom over your half of the court, meaning you can sit deeper or go wider waiting for returns. The action is controlled by either quick swipes and taps for simple strokes, or held-down presses for power shots.

The sensitivity in Pktball is superb, and any mistakes you make genuinely feel like they're on you, rather than being a fault with the game.

To keep things fresh, power-ups also change the complexion of a contest in various different ways.

Among other things, you can grow to a Hulk-like stature covering the majority of the court, or change the ball into dust making it harder to see where or what you're hitting.

You can also purchase new characters from a grabber machine if you collect enough coins. Doing so changes the look of the court, as well as your character and the ball.

If you play as a zombie, you're actually lobbing grey matter around as opposed to one of Slazenger's finest.

Amazingly, the game also supports local multiplayer for up to four people. On one tablet, you can have a game of doubles with each person using one of their squidgy digits to set off ultimate rally satisfaction.

I sense a but coming on…

That's very perceptive of you. There is a but.

The problem with Pktball is that there is absolutely no mode variety. The single player component is essentially you trying to score as many points as possible against the computer.

Yes, it's extremely addictive, very easy, and enjoyable to keep picking up to play, but you'll soon find that it's lacking in some substance as there's no challenges to beat, or campaign mode to fire through.

You'll also find your finger often gets in the way as you try to move around and keep up those awkward volleys. This does become frustrating.

And sadly - despite the potential for local party-mode hilarity - there's no online multiplayer to be found. Which is a crying shame as it would have been a real treat

Still, Pktball is a pleasurable, energising game that could only work on mobile, and does a fab job of keeping you entertained, whether it's for minutes or hours at a time.

Pktball - Deuces are wild

The satisfaction of rallying and silky slick mechanics make this mode-limited mash-up a real party game of choice
Ray Willmott
Ray Willmott
When not objecting to witnesses in Phoenix Wright or gushing over Monkey Island, Ray does social things for Steel Media. He also pretends to look like Han Solo in his profile picture.