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Game Info:

PONG Quest
Developed by: Chequered Ink Ltd.
Published by: Atari
Release date: April 21, 2020
Available on: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Windows
Genre: Arcade, RPG
Number of players: Up to four players
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $14.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Atari for sending us this game to review!

Though Pong is often mistaken as the first video game, it was undoubtedly successful when it launched in 1972. This game was available in arcades as well as the first home gaming console, the Magnavox Odyssey. The concept is very similar to table tennis where you try to deflect the square-shaped ball from going past the edge of your side while attempting to get it past your opponent’s. The first to eleven points, wins.

Pong Quest has a classic mode available if you wish to experience the base game. Where Pong Quest really shines is in the RPG themed dungeons and multiplayer experience. Though the online portion isn’t very active, playing with friends and family locally is a blast. Especially with all of the quirky power-ups available.

Highlights:

Strong Points: A fun twist on a classic video game; silly humor
Weak Points: Online multiplayer is dead
Moral Warnings: You can make an offering to an idol in exchange for a blessing/loot; LGBTQ/transgender apparel options are available for your paddle to wear

Bouncing a plain white ball back and forth gets a bit repetitive after a while. The ability to change its appearance, physics, and damage it does makes this game quite interesting. Your paddle has a health bar that loses at least one point for every deflection. When the health is fully depleted and the ball goes past them, that player loses.

The health potion power-up is a must-have when exploring the various dungeons available. Each of the king’s dungeons are loosely based off of a classic Atari game. My favorite is the Centipede-themed one. The dungeons are randomly generated and you’ll have to locate the staircase to access the lower levels. If you leave the dungeon before conquering its boss, you can choose which level to start at the next time you attempt it.

After defeating a boss, you unlock the ability to equip their balls/powers. For example, the ability to erect Break-Out style walls is quite handy! Other nice power-ups are the ones that are hard to dodge like the curve and bullet balls. The balls that freeze or slow down your opponent are especially nasty. Buff and leech balls are good ways to whittle down your opponent’s health meter. The one that shrinks them down is pretty evil as well.

PONG Quest (PC)
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Game play: 15/20
Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 7/10
Stability: 5/5
Controls: 5/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence: 10/10
Language: 10/10
Sexual Content: 6/10
Occult/Supernatural: 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

As you explore the dungeons, you’ll come across various puzzle challenges that will reward you if you complete them in time. I was able to flip all of the light switches to illuminate the room in time as well as the Simon and Memory themed mini-games. I never was able to successfully illuminate the titles that shifted when stepped on though. Sometimes you’ll come across treasure chests that are ready to be plundered, while others require you to defeat that paddle carrying its key first. Some floors have an idol that will drop some nice loot if you’re willing to make an offering with the virtual currency you have accrued.

Other than the idolatry, you can expect to find some discreet LGBTQ references. You can accessorize your paddle with various hats and outfits. There’s a rainbow shirt available and right next to that one is a “pastel shirt” that has the same colors and pattern of the transgender flag.

Overall, this is a well-polished game with its witty dialogue and catchy background music. The visuals are both colorful and simple. Up until I saw the LGBTQ pandering, I was enjoying my time in this revitalized classic. It’s a shame that even the simplest of games need to be sexualized these days.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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