Thanks to Rainy Frog for the review code
Title: Ping Pong Trick Shot EVOLUTION
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/05/2019
Going for the same flat, dull 3D models that the original game used, Ping Pong Evolution now adds actual character models to the mix as well, and since they’re textureless like the rest of the game, they don’t really add much visually. Oddly enough, while the main game modes run just like they did in the original, the multiplayer mode runs at a higher framerate, which is really jarring when going back to the main levels. Almost all the music in this game is recycled from the original Ping Pong Trick Shot, so it’s just as repetitive as in that title.
Ping Pong Trick Shot Evolution brings back the puzzle solving from the original title but with a new set of levels and a new gameplay mechanic thrown in the mix. Thus, I won’t need to repeat myself too much, since the stages all have similar goals to them. From teleporting balls, sticky walls, angled slopes to bounce off, all the familiar stage tropes from the first return.
The biggest difference between Evolution and the original comes from the addition of several playable characters. Instead of controlling a floating arrow like before, you control one of these four humans, who each have different throwing abilities and can jump a varying amount. Timing a jump and positioning yourself accordingly can add some more angles to play around with, but the end goal of throwing balls into cups is the same, along with the challenges to gain three green stars for each stage. It’s still enjoyable fun, but I honestly found myself preferring the arrow system over this new character-based system.
Besides the main batch of levels, there’s also a few over modes to go over. Score Attack tasks you with getting as many points as possible, although it’s more of a distraction than anything fun. 50 Cup is similar, tasking you with using 150 balls to score in the fifty cups. By far the most interesting of these bonus modes is the local multiplayer mode, returning from the original with some framerate upgrades. Yes, framerate upgrades. For some bizarre reason, this game mode runs much, much smoothly than any mode in the original game or the other modes in Evolution, which makes the single player modes feel particularly strange. It’s a fun timewaster with a friend and not much more, but I really am baffled as to why the game runs so much better here than in the actual game, and I wish that these framerate improvements went to the rest of the game, as it would have helped make this sequel feel like more than just a level pack.
In conclusion, Ping Pong Trick Shot Evolution felt more like a level pack than a sequel. While there’s still puzzle fun to be found in this game, I found everything to be too samey for my tastes, and while both Ping Pong titles are fun puzzlers to enjoy, I felt this one could have been made a lot better if the framerate improvements found in the multiplayer mode applied to the rest of the game, along with some more new level gimmicks to play with instead of sticking with the older ones. It’s not a bad game, but it really does feel like a lazy sequel that could have easily been a DLC level pack for the original, so I can’t help but feel more effort could have gone into this “sequel”
I give Ping Pong Trick Shot EVOLUTION a 6 out of 10.