Beer Pong For The Rest Of Us
That’s the sort of environment that Beer Pong! hope to replicate. Only they might take it a bit more seriously, as most of the action in the game seems to take place at officially sanctioned events with spotless tables rather than a filthy off-campus house. I suppose there really are such things although I’ve never seen it, even in the deepest hours of the night on ESPN2. If you’re asking yourself how a sport that mainly revolves around getting really fucking drunk works without the real-life cups filled with alcohol, relax. No one said you can’t fill your gaming room with red plastic cups full of Natural Ice. Go right ahead!
As you might expect from a video game based on simply throwing ping-pong balls into drinking cups, this is a pretty simple affair. You can challenge a series of AI college kids in something of a campaign mode or just take on your pal from the comfort of your couch. The only real variety is the color of your balls and the design on the table. Otherwise you can set a few rules about bouncing and the like but mostly this is just the pure beer pong experience.
To get the full experience of the manual dexterity of beer pong the developers have chosen to require players to use motion controls. Don’t fret if you don’t own a Move kit, the game is perfectly playable using just the sixaxis controls of the DS3. By perfectly playable… I mean that in theory you can use it to bounce balls by flicking it downwards with a lot of force. It works… but I found it almost impossible to get into a rhythm where I was consistently bouncing balls in a direction I wanted. In fact… I usually took about 3 tries to get the ball to leave my hand at all. On every shot. I tried to alter my delivery to rectify the situation but nothing I tried seemed to alleviate the problem so I’m forced to conclude it really does not work well with the DS3.
With a Move wand however I found the results to be far more satisfactory. While I still never felt like my shots were very consistent, I was able to routinely get the ball to bounce in the general area of the cup (or go right in if I chose a tougher direct shot) and my brother and I had a few lively and competitive games using wands. At times it even felt like I was imparting a bit of spin to my shots (although there didn’t seem to be an actual mechanism for this within the game) and the Move ball lent an air of credence to the whole affair.
Most of the little foibles that define beer pong are replicated in one fashion or another in the game. You’ll see shots spin around (and you’ll get more points if they go in) and knock out enough cups and you’ll get a rerack to make the shape a little easier to work with. I suppose if your local 7-Eleven is out of ping-pong balls and all your plywood is warped you might be ok using this virtual substitute. Clearly this game suffers from a lack of interesting mechanics for sober people.
So is Beer Pong! a valuable purchase? Considering you could get a sixer of a halfway decent beer that’s a tough call. In many ways this feels like a game that could be made on iOS or other mobile platforms (although the controls might be weird) and the only things that really makes it stand apart is the Move control that lets you really feel like you are bouncing a ball. If you are stuck using a DS3 than I can’t really see this being worth your time. As a fun distraction for post-grads who own a move and who aren’t up for swilling 10 cups of warm beer but feel like reliving glory days with ex-frat bros this is probably a good purchase. If nothing else, it’s the only way to play beer pong on your PS3.