Imagine this: You put on your HTC Vive headset and suddenly find yourself in a lego-like world with a table tennis court. The purposely pixelated audience looks like they were created in the days of the Atari 2600. The experience also feels like a weird dream you have after you fall asleep after not sleeping for 15 hours.
When you score, they lego-like audience members take their heads off and jump with joy. It’s purposely funny. It’s out of this world. And Although VR Pong sounds like something you want to avoid, it’s actually one of the most exciting games available for VR. You get some exercise by playing it as well.
What’s most important here is the game play, and when you forget about your ridiculous surroundings, you actually feel like you are playing ping pong. A Vive controller represents your racket and when you hit the virtual ball, it actually feels like you are hitting a real ball. If you hit it too hard, it may go past the other player’s side of the table. If you hit it too soft, it may not pass the net. If you play VR Pong a lot, it actually helps you improve at table tennis in the real world.
You play against the CPU, although future versions may offer multiplayer support. You can set how high the table is, how close the ball is to your racket when you serve, and choose from three levels: Easy, Medium, and Difficult. The “Easy” level is just that, but I’ve had a difficult time beating my CPU opponent in the “Medium” level. Actually, I’ve never beaten him at this level, but since I play the game for at least a half hour every day, that will hopefully change soon.
The only bug I found was that, at times, when the ball nearly misses the right edge by what feels like a centimeter, the game will register that it hit the table. A couple times, my CPU opponent missed hitting my side of the table with the ball, but still got the point. And the announcer, who has either a French or Russian accent, passionately announces the score every time you or your opponent scores.
When you take your VR set off, you are back in the real world. You’ll be tempted to put it back on so you can re-enter the world of ridiculous fun.