Pix Pong

Pong-like game with a new age twist added to it.  Interesting variations of balls are added to this classic, and the game puts your accelerometer to good use.

Gameplay: Imagine Pong, but with only one slider, and instead of one ball going back and forth, there’s loads of balls being thrown at you.  Don’t worry about having to deal with too many balls, as the ones you deflect won’t come back at you.  Your goal is to deflect as many of the balls as you can, and your score accumulates as you do this.  The longer you deflect without letting balls pass, then the higher the multiplier which is applied to your score.

Pix Pong doesn’t throw a random mass of balls at you though – they are colour coded, and the colour represents different characteristics.  So the balls have different combinations of straight or diagonal movement, constant or variable speed, and constant or variable direction.

In case you’re thinking the game is totally random – it’s not.  In fact, each level has its own predefined pattern.  So if you replay the level enough times, you’ll be able to learn the arrival pattern of the balls – thus allowing you to perfect the stage.  (The erratic movement of the balls is enough to confuse you though!)

My thoughts: I like this game, I played for about a good hour without realising how much time had passed.  But… and this is a big but… it’s not for everyone.  If you’re an elitist who likes honing your skills and beating challenges then this is for you.  If you feel hard done by because a game feels impossible… then don’t touch this game as it’ll anger you!

I must have played the first level about 30 times before I got 100%.  Yes, it’s very hard, and the reason it took me so many attempts is because there’s a couple of points where the balls are actually coming at you at the same time.  I gave levels 2 and 3 about the same number of attempts before getting perfects.

The good parts:  The core pong feeling is maintained, and the incorporation of the accelerometer makes Pix Pong fun.  The tutorials are straightforward and get you stuck in with the action very quickly.  Colour coding for the different balls is a great idea, and it’s actually quite intriguing how such small and clear characteristics in the physics can bring variation into the gameplay.

There’s a fair amount of content: 5 tutorials, 20 levels, 20 Endless levels.  I think the endless levels are similar to the normal levels in that they have predefined courses which keep looping forever.

Graphics-wise I guess you can say it’s themed, though I’m not sure if it’s intentional or if the developers are still working on the parts.

Verdict: 2/5 The core of the Pix Pong is strong and it’s great for training people to become one with their accelerometer.  However, I don’t think there’s enough game polish here.  There’s no music, and the sound effects are pretty shoddy.  What about the real graphics theming, particle effects etc?  Is it really such a great idea to pitch this to elitists and perfectionists?  Or should they tone it down to be a bit easier?  (Is it just that they test the game in an emulated environment which doesn’t reflect how fast the game is on actual phones?)  Anyway, it’s definitely one to watch out for as it has so much potential to improve.  Don’t forget, it’s free, nuff said, go and try it!

Game play tips: When you see two balls which are arriving at the same time, generally, deflect the faster ball first, then zoom to the second one.  Remember that your paddle has some depth to it and any part of it will deflect (i.e. the ball doesn’t need to hit the front of your paddle).

The logic is if the ball has high speed, then it will spend less time in your paddle deflection zone and therefore it’s harder to deflect the ball.  If it’s moving slower, then you have a fraction of a second longer to deflect.  Interestingly, if you have a shoddy phone, you will find this game easier, as the balls will move around slower.

Pix Pong’s QR Code

Developers: Wii Records