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Game Info:

Pingers
Developed By: Allen Games
Published By: Allen Games
Released: July 29, 2021
Available On: macOS, Windows
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Up to four players
Price: TBA

Thank you Allen Games for providing us with a review code!

Even with Pong being one of the first-ever video games, there aren’t many developers that take inspiration from the one that turned video games into a commercially successful product. Almost 50 years later, we now have Pingers. Don’t ask me what a “pinger” or “ping” means, but according to the developer Allen Games, it’s how a player hits the ball around.

Speaking of which, Pingers is of course, a Pong-inspired arcade game with a rather simple control scheme. The keyboard uses WASD or the arrow keys for the methods of moving. A controller is another option with the left control stick being used. In single-player, the player controls four paddles with up and down controlling the side paddles and left and right controlling the top and bottom paddles. The objective is rather simple. During the game, a ball will spawn in the middle of the screen and move towards a paddle. One ball must exist on the screen or the game is over. Points are scored whenever a ball is hit. Two types of balls exist; one is green and that takes three hits to dissipate while the grey one only takes two hits. As the game continues, more balls will appear on the screen, background effects will take place, and even enemies will appear on screen, shooting light blue bullets that will lower your score (eventually, the enemies will disappear).

Highlights:

Strong Points: Expands on a rather simple concept; surprising amount of depth
Weak Points: Only one game mode
Moral Warnings: None

The background effects are meant to be distracting, and they do a good job at that. Maybe even too good of a job. There are some mild effects like a synthwave background and major ones such as blurred visuals. It’s tricky enough to focus on controlling four paddles at once! The effects spice up the rather simplistic pixel graphics. However, one visual I could do without is in the main menu. Whenever you move through the menu, the screen shakes. It’s pretty unnecessary. As more balls appear, try not to go after all of them at once. Even though your score may tank as whenever a ball hits out of bounds, you lose points—but it’s better than an outright game over. Power-ups add variety to Pingers. Some abilities include a magnet that attracts the balls and power-ups alike to the paddle within a certain radius and instantly destroys them, a tack ability that takes a -1 off any ball on the screen, and the traditional wide paddle. Abilities can come in a pinch and liven up the overall game experience.

What surprised me most about Pingers is that there is a surprising amount of depth. I almost wrote off Pingers as a simplistic game, but I noticed that there are physics and momentum to the balls and paddles. Balls can interact with each other, enemies, and power-ups alike—changing their trajectory. Sometimes they slow down or can bounce off in unexpected directions. Hitting the ball with the ends of the paddles fast can cause them to rocket off in a direction. I like using this technique on the grey balls the most as they only take two hits to break and I can then focus on the green ones.

Pingers
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay: 15/20
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7.5/10
Stability: 5/5
Controls/Interface: 4.5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence: 10/10
Language: 10/10
Sexual Content: 10/10
Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

Whenever a game over happens, Pingers takes a tally of the points that you earned, and the total amount of points across your playtime can unlock various cosmetics for your paddle. From face expressions to funny hats, you can customize your paddle to how you envision it, while also giving an incentive to keep playing. Besides the single-player, up to three more players can play alongside you. With four players, each player controls a paddle, three players have two control one paddle with the third controlling two, and two players have one person control two paddles each. Unfortunately, I do not have anyone to play this game alongside me, but I attempted, as awkward to be each player. Using four methods of control at once is a lot tougher than it sounds! (I’d like to see Steam Remote Play function for this.)

I’m not too sure what genre Pingers' music belongs to, but the music has a nice vibe to it. It’s chill and surprisingly earworm-like. The sound effects are solid too, with a nick “thunk” sound whenever the ball is hit, the various sounds from the powerups, and even a funny error sound if you happen to score low in a game.

Pingers is a game I admiringly didn’t expect much from, and it turned into a pleasant experience despite my rather rough first impression of it. There’s some good variety in it, despite there only being one game mode (as of version 0.0.6). I’d like to see more game modes, especially a competitive-based one. You can tailor your experience by enabling/disabling enemies, power-ups, and background effects making the experience harder or easier. If you’re a score junkie, looking for a quick game to play during multiplayer queue times, or want a cool couch co-op/party experience, Pingers shows a lot of promise.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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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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