Wow, this game is fun. I was as surprised and dismissive as everyone else when Rockstar announced that their big 360 exclusive was going to be a no-frills budget (for a 360 game, at least) table tennis game, but despite trying to be the Dogme 95 of video games, albeit a very good looking one for what it does, it’s a highly competitive and fast paced game that I think is well worth the asking price.
All you get in Table Tennis is exhibition, tournament, training, and Xbox Live modes. That’s it. The training mode shows you the ropes and the surprising depth that this game has (and gives you an achievement for completing it – hooray!), and then the meat of the single player is found in the tourneys which range from mildly challenging to pitting you against some kind of prescient table tennis ninja. Online is where the time will be spent because this game is very competitive and although the best player will usually win, large rallies are not unusual and it’s always fast.
It’s the presentation that I like. While there’s not a lot going on, the character models look great with flowing clothes that get visibly sweaty as the match gets intense and fluid animations. The sound also deserves mention – everybody loves the sound of a ping-pong ball which you’ll hear all the time, but the music is an understated techno track which only starts to kick in as a rally picks up and slowly increases with the rally counter. It fits in with the maxim of the game: that less is more and that the simple and addictive gameplay can stand alone.
What remains to be seen is how much lifespan the game has. While it’s great fun there’s not a lot to it, and it’s probably going to depend on cultivating an obsessive (and no doubt inhumanly skilled) online community during the lean summer period. Still, it’s worth getting for £30.