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Review: Virtual Table Tennis 3D
Do you like to play Ping-Pong, whack away at Wiff-Waff, tinker with Table-Tennis? Whatever you call it, the sport that went from the garage to the Olympics is now available to play on Symbian in the form of Virtual Table Tennis 3D. As the name implies, this is a 3D rendered version of the perennial sports simulation, available on Symbian^3 through the Ovi Store.
When you just don’t have room for a tennis court, a table has to do, right? Well now, the miniature version of Tennis has just got smaller with the release of Virtual Table Tennis 3D on Symbian^3!
The rules are simple, players take turns serving a ping-pong ball, and the first to get to 11 points wins the game. If both players get to 10 points, that’s deuce, to the uninitiated. The winner is then the first to win two points in a row, just like Tennis.
Virtual Table Tennis 3D is about as simple as you can get, there isn’t even a quick game option. There is only a stripped down world tournament mode. This tournament requires you to choose to play for one of ten countries. Then the objective is to play against ten players, one from each country, yes, including your own. There are also three skill levels, which incrementally improves your opponent's speed and tactics.
Controls in Virtual Table Tennis 3D are deceptively simple. In front of you is just your racket, which moves across the screen with your finger. On screen instructions advise you that by dragging upwards and to the left or right, as you hit the ball, your return will be aimed in the respective direction. This is a useful tactic for lulling your opponent into the a rally, and then smashing the ball off to the far corner of the table.
Another control facet is the ability to spin the ball. As you last for longer in a rally, the spin meter will accumulate points. Double tapping the racket activates the spin mode, which depletes a third of the spin bar meter. The ball traces out a motion blur effect when spun, so as to notify you that that ball isn’t going to behave as normal. Very sporting!
In terms of gameplay, Virtual Table Tennis 3D is enjoyable, and not too complicated or in-depth. However, given the nature of the game, it does demand all of your attention. The main problem with the game comes down to limitations of touch screen interfaces.
As I complained about when I reviewed Air Hockey Touch; you need to maintain contact with the screen at all times to play effectively. As your finger repeatedly slides across the screen, it gradually runs out of oil, and tends to stick to the screen.
Furthermore, I found that the most responsive way to play was by controlling with my thumb. However, this causes the biggest obstruction to the screen. Playing with the middle or index finger just isn’t fast enough to keep up with the AI. Tapping the screen, rather than dragging is possible, but doesn’t give adequate performance either. Of course, this is somewhat subjective, so feel free to voice your opinion in the comments!
Overall, Virtual Table Tennis 3D is an enjoyable way to distract yourself. It’s priced at £1.50, which is just about on the border of a ‘throwaway’ purchase, in my books. I would have liked to have seen a Bluetooth multi-player option.