Game Review

Frat Party Games: Pong Toss Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Is Pong Toss the life of the party, or just another sobering WiiWare experience?

Before we start, it's worth noting that Pong Toss began life as "Beer Pong" but due to worries about references to alcohol, developer JV Games opted for a more family-friendly name and removed all the naughty drinks as well. We're sure Nintendo and the ESRB were more than a little relieved, but ironically it turns out that drinking a few cans before firing up this disappointing title might be the only way to gain any enjoyment.

For those not familiar with Beer Pong, the game is played using a number of small cups placed in a bowling pin fashion at both ends of the table. Each player stands behind their group of cups and tries to toss a ping pong ball into his opponent's cups, one at a time. You can either toss the ball directly into the cup, or even bounce it off of the table. When you are successful, the ball is "removed" from the table. Your goal is to get your ball into all of your opponent's cups before he does the same to yours. It's a simple premise that's quite fun in real life, but that's largely down to the inclusion of intoxicating liquids.

To toss your ball, you simply hold the Wii Remote up in a vertical direction, somewhat like you would hold an umbrella, and then tilt it back and forth to get the correct arc on the ball. The game allows you to take practice tosses until you're ready for your actual shot. When you're ready, press the "A" button and then flick the Wii Remote forward in a tossing motion to throw the ball. How fast you tilt the Wii Remote will determine how far your ping pong ball will fly in the air. It takes a little practice, but it won't take you too long to get the hang of it. If you're holding the Remote incorrectly, the game will also helpfully tell you the proper way to hold it and will guide you through the entire tossing process.

This title is basically broken down into two different games. Pong Toss is the main game and the one most people who play the real life game will recognize. It allows up to four players to take turns trying to score. This is fairly straightforward but it tends to feel very sluggish and slow-paced, especially when you have to wait for three other people to have their turn before your turn comes around again. You can play this game with one to four Wii Remotes, as you can pass a remote around as the turns change hands.

The next game is Speed Pong, which is easily the highlight of a very substandard title. Here, up to three people play at the same time in a more fast-paced split-screen format and the first player to successfully toss their ping pong balls into all of the other cups wins. After playing the regular Pong Toss game this feels fairly frantic in comparison. While you can play any of these games as a single-player experience, it's not nearly as enjoyable as the multiplayer options; the AI can be a bit streaky and sometimes downright cheap. If you want to get any real enjoyment out of this game, you absolutely have to get some friends to play. It's still not very good, but it does make it that little bit more bearable.

Visually the game is pretty dire. While it does offer up several different playing fields, not to mention various table graphics, this really only adds minimally to the overall presentation. The spectators look terrible and would be better suited to a Nintendo 64 or Playstation title than a Wii game. Most of the 3D graphics are very basic in design and feature little to no shading or texturing at all; this wouldn't seem so bad if the tables themselves didn't look so sharp and colourful. It's a very mixed bag overall. To be honest, with this type of game there's no huge need for any fancy polygon visuals or over-the-top special effects anyway, but given how good some graphical elements are, the less spectacular ones stand out like a sore thumb.

On the other hand, the music is actually not bad and sounds quite clear, especially if you have a good Dolby surround sound system. There are many different flavours ranging from rock, to hip hop, all the way to Jamaican reggae. It's also nice that the developers have given the player the option of choosing which song will be played during each game or level, so you can choose just the tracks you like. The sound effects are also good, but it's worth mentioning that the voice acting can be a little on the cheesy side and tends to get old after you've played for a long period of time. You can only hear "Awww Man" or "Loser" so many times before it starts to grate on your nerves. Luckily, the background music tends to dampen these voices quite a bit in the overall scheme of things.

JV Games should be commended for coming up with such a well thought-out and creative play control system, but it's sadly wasted on this below-average title. There's just something about Pong Toss that simply doesn't translate well into a video gaming experience. Maybe we've become too spoiled with the action-packed nature of video gaming over the years, but this feels terribly basic and fails to capture the brilliance of similar titles like Nintendo's Wii Sports. It also doesn't help matters that as creative as the play control is, it still feels more like luck than skill when you make your shots. Of course the argument could made that the same is true for the real life game (knowing the condition most people play Beer Pong in, this is probably a correct assessment) but that still doesn't change the fact that Pong Toss is frustratingly random and this issue saps what little enjoyment there is to be found here.


Let's face it, there's really only one reason to play this game in real life and we all know what that reason is. You'd have to be a little drunk to actually enjoy tossing ping pong balls into tiny cups on a table anyway - that or a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Unless you just have a sadistic side or want to gift this to someone you don't particularly like, you might want to pass on this lacklustre WiiWare title. At least Pong Toss is aptly named. After a few minutes of this game you'll definitely want to "toss" something.

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User Comments (74)



Bensei said:

Whoa, I guessed that it wasn't that good,... but only a 2/10? Ouch...
I wouldn't have guessed from everything before the last two paragraphs that it'd be that low...



Dazza said:

I really didn't think it could be THAT bad! Seeing as Corbie is the "Mr nice guy" of videogame reviewers this is indeed a damning indictment. Maybe the only way to get any enjoyment out of this game is by being intoxicated

I think I owe it to myself to give this a try on Friday night! haha



Corbs said:

The game involved is the biggest problem. Tossing ping pong balls into tiny cups in real life isn't a lot of fun until you get a good buzz going, let alone simulating the experience inside of a video game. I thought there were some good control ideas implemented, but it ultimately wasn't enough to clear the hurdle of the game premise itself.



Starwolf_UK said:

At least it only takes up 121 blocks...that goes some way into explaining the graphics but with the rest of the 3D field going for ~300 its a bit akin to shooting yourself in the foot.



blackknight77 said:

I played the real pong toss before at a X-mas party. I don't drink, so being sober and throwing ping pong balls into cups was really boring. I think I would rather watch paint peel off of walls. Anyway, this game is a bomb, lets get to Mega Man, Alien Crush, and Graduis. Bring it on Nintendo! Give the gamers what they want

Anyway whose infinite wisdom was it to charge 800 points for this? Is that a joke?



Kawaiipikachu said:

At least one thing there is still room for the worst ratted game to come in WiiWare world .

I guess you would have given the game a better score if you were actually drunk corbie .



rikru said:

I don't think its surprising it got such an bad score, everyone knew it was going to suck



deshadow52 said:

Well i guess that means that those groups of people thinking that kids were to drink like college students dont have to worry about it because this game is bad there was nothing appealing about it even before the game was released. No kid i know would want to play this game their to busy playing halo which of course according to jack thompson means that their more likely to go on a killing spree



Kreegs07 said:

@ Tony
Same here. My real life sober pong toss experiance was pretty dull.

The only people I see buying this would be dorm room college kids who can't fit a table for real beer pong in their room. A lot of my friends tried, and I was like dude whats the point?! I can see it now: Drunks sitting around on the wii shop channel:
"Hey man, get beer pong!" "Yea SAWEEEEEEEET"

  • next morning * "What the heck was I thinking? Pong toss??? I am retarded."

Still, having drunk people play your wii that often can not be a great idea. haha.



Objection said:

Well, its out of the way and I don't see another compareable stinker in the near future. Hopefully, we'll get some of those games we've been waiting for sooner rather than later to make up for the last few weeks' awful Wiiware releases.



Bahamut_ZERO said:

SHUMP man Corbie reviewing Pong Toss. I thought it would be low but..... wow. How does it lose to Pkmn Ranch?



Terra said:

Woah, only 2/10? That's bad. Truth be told, it always seemed like it would be a sinker and a sinker it is. I thought that it would at least rank higher than SPOGS and that should have gotten a loweer rating for charging more. Has IGN reviewed it yet?



LucBernard said:

god it's so sad, that Wiiware games from some devs are so terrible

it's really bringing the service down for all of us, seriously I never supported this game and I'm quite sad that Nintendo even allows garbage like that up on Wiiware



Damo said:

Very true, Luc. It's a bit sad that the service is being bogged down by games like this, and even worse than Nintendo seems so reluctant to actually support it themselves with quality first-party games.

Roll on Megaman and Gradius!



Omega said:

Didn't they say in an interview: "We have a lot of ideas for Wiiware"? Then it probably will not be long until games with a rating of 1/10 arise. Or maybe 0/10. I hope they do not have too many ideas.



MrPoo6321 said:

I freaking hate Beer Pong. It's one of my least favorite drinking games. Better drinking games are Power Hour or F*** the Dealer, but I don't want to see any of them converted into a video game. The only good thing beer pong did for me was get me laid one night, but every other time its resulted in really bad hangovers. This ends up being the 5th or 6th week in a row that I download nothing. I can't wait for Animales de la Muerte, Megaman 9, Eternity's Child and World of Goo. Let's save the shovelware for the shelves, please.



AlexSays said:

@ Corbie- Doesn't the operations guide for this game tell you to drink before you start?
I think that would've enhanced your overall experience with the game.

Actually, think about it guys.
I criticized Corbie for giving SSR a 7, and he became so angry, he's automatically giving all these great games (ie. MLE and Pong Toss) really low scores.
Either that, or WWW just makes Corbie buy these crappy games, and then forces him to review them.



Bahamut_ZERO said:

I can only imagine the [censored] that comes out with gimmicky overpriced WiiMotion plus games.

I REALLY want one of those to get a -1 out of 10.



slambert215 said:

I totally agree with Luc. I was really excited for WiiWare, but now its flooded with bad games. Guess we'll just have to keep waiting for quality games.



samus2008 said:

is pong toss really this bad? lol it doesnt look worse than spogs or pokemon ranch, lol



Bensei said:

Thanks for the link!
About the complaints of Shovelware: Don't complain again if you hear a story about Nintendo holding unknown Publishers back



Knux said:

Wow,this must be the worst Wiiware game ever. Is it really worst then My Pokemon Ranch?



Terra said:

Why are people asking if it's worse than Pokemon Ranch when SPOGS is the worse game? I would just avoid this entirely, particularly when Europe get it.



Bigby said:

Wow Corbie,
Im really surprised... The review sounded favorable until the score. I know you didn't do the Table Tennis review but that got a 5.
Im enjoying Pong Toss and my niece is liking it too. Despite the mediocre graphics, it's leaps and bounds better then table tennis.
You are right about Speed pong though, it is the best of the two.

Edit - Maybe the newness hasn't worn off yet but I think this is one of the better party style games. I know my family will be playing this more then Wiisports, it's definetly worth the 8 bones.



LucBernard said:


Your family plays Pong Toss? with your niece? lol you play a drinking game with your niece lol, that's just wrong lol, I would not share my vodka with some kids



CanisWolfred said:

Wow, I said this was going to be pointless, but not this pointless. Heck, it's even more pointless without the alchohol! If anything, this is proof that Nintendo isn't holding their publishers back, because I doubt they'd let this go through. But then again, They made Pokemon Ranch, so maybe it still would've passed.



Bigby said:

Real life it's a drinking game, I get it... Pong Toss is a video game, you don't need to have a beer in your hand to have a good time and this is coming from a bar tender



blackknight77 said:

I agree with Luc.
This is not the type of game I expect from Wii ware. The quality of games has been poor since Gyrostarr came out. Gyrostarr is cool, but everything has been downhill since.



Peznaze said:

A 2? Ouch! Though I do get the idea that it's because the reviewer doesn't like Pong Toss rather than this being a poorly implemented version of Pong Toss. But then, even the perfect translation of Pong Toss to video gaming wouldn't be all that great...

What's most shocking to me, is that it seems to me they sat on Helix and some other games to release this one. Or... Oooh.. there's a thought... Maybe Nintendo does do quality control... if they play your game and find it to be a "2", they send you word it stinks, but it's up to the developer to fix it or not... So then the others that are taking ages to come along are actually constantly being reworked... Nah... That's silly.



AlexSays said:

@ Peznaze- Good idea is good.

V Some people just can't enjoy the simple things in life...



Corbs said:

It's just a bad idea for a video game to begin with. Pong Toss in real life is fairly boring, but a video game simulation of it is even worse. Even as creative as some of the control mechanics were, it wasn't enough to save this sinking ship.

Come on people, it's tossing ping pong balls into cups. What's next, a nose-picking simulation? Wii Knitting?



Peznaze said:

Wii Knitting! Now there's a game! I can see the needle stencils for the wiimotes... Quick! Drop that stitch! No, no! Perl 2, not 3!



Terra said:

@ Lucbernard

"Wii Rape maybe?
Frat Party Games, Gangbang simulation"

LOL. That was just going a touch too far. Still, could be worse. Could be Wii Necrophilia: Rise of the Zombie Paedophiles. Starring Leon S Kennedy and Nemesis



PHANTOM93 said:

@ Corbie

Perhaps Wii Toilet Training

I can see the sales pitch now: "Are you having difficulty with aiming your 'Wii' when you've got to go, with Wii Potty Training you can master the art of pissing without any of the mess...."



MasterMario said:

I didn't think that this game would be a "must get WiiWare title" ever since seeing the gameplay video. Developers have to learn to stop making shovelware on major game consoles, especially the Wii. I'm acually surprised that it passed Toki Tori in the popular titles list. With a game like this, I don't expect this to go any higher. But then again, SPOGS racing is one of the top 10 titles so anything can happen.



Draygone said:

"What's next, a nose-picking simulation?"

Wasn't that a mini-game in one of the WarioWare games?

Anyway, I gotta at least give props to these guys for taking a concept you wouldn't expect in a video game and putting it in one (just as I do the MLE: The Game guys). But they could've chosen a less requiring-that-you're-drunk-to-enjoy-it game. Or at least, included other drunken games. I must've not payed enough attention to this, 'cause I would've expected there to be more to this than simply tossing pingpong balls into the same arrangement of plastic cups.



PoisonRamune said:

I guess the good thing is that you don't have to drink a beer that had a dirty ping pong ball in it... However, that's the only good thing I can think of for this game.



Clayfrd said:

How long can WiiWare hold out with only Dr. Mario, Final Fantasy, and Toki Tori making the service worth anything? Megaman will help...



Adamant said:

Of course it's worse than Pokemon Ranch, people. If you looked beyond your hatred of Pokemon, or whatever it is that causes you to hate on that game, you'll see that there's actually an appeal in it to certain types of people.

Pong Toss is a simulation of a game that's only played by drunk people for the sole purpose of drinking in a slightly more fun fashion. I mean, come on. REAL beer pong isn't any fun without the beer either, even if you ARE drunk.



Virus said:

This review made me so happy. I wanted this game to bomb, and I got my wish. Too bad I didn't get my wish for SBCG4AP on Monday...



PHANTOM93 said:

@ Adamant
I don't hate Pokémon (the games), I hate Pokémon (that piece of $#|+ that they call an anime).

@ Tony

last time I checked This "game" (turd of shovelware) was at #15 on the Wii shop channel



blackknight77 said:

That's really ashame. At least I know I got the right game in Star Soldier. Actually I still play it too.

I predict this game will fall off the top 20 quickly. Just wait till Mega Man arrives it will bump it off.

With a name like Pong toss, I think I wanna toss something maybe my lunch



StarDust4Ever said:

Hmmm, funny they don't have a "reversal of fortune" like they do in MLE. Because usually, it only takes a couple "reversal of fortune"'s to know that your drunken frat party has gone sour



Ricardo91 said:

Heh heh. Rape.

So this game got a 2/10? Then it's apparently even lamer than I thought it would be. I expected a 3.
Crap Party Games sounds like the kind of game that would drive a person to drink, and not in a good, merry kind of way. Well, it had to come out sometime, I guess.

@Corbie. How about a Wii zit-popping simulation? I could think up some others, but they've all been done in Warioware.

edit: @Tony. Don't you mean you hope it is as popular as SSR? Given the charts right now, that doesn't seem to be happening. Sadly.

edit #2: @Phantom93. I agree with ya there. The Pokemon games are still great (though the sequels don't change very much), and I liked the show as a kid, as I was knee deep in the Poke-hoopla back in the day, but when I go back and watch it now, I actually feel physical pain when I watch it.



deadbattery said:

I'm anxiously awaiting more Frat-related games on the Wii, such as "Cocaine Snorting," "Drunk Driving," and "Male and/or Female Date-Raping"

Why in GOD'S name was a beer pong simulator released on the Wii? (It's a rhetorical question: I know the real answer is "because America is stupid." There are plenty of far-more intellectual, untapped game ideas out there, such as putting on blindfolds and hitting each other in the head with sledgehammers while rolling in feces.



Ricardo91 said:

You know what's pathetic? This game is #3 on the WiiWare top 10 right now. I know America is full of morons, but I'd think they'd at least know better than to spend 10 bucks on a game you can easily replicate in real life for free.



PHANTOM93 said:

@ Mr. Cheez

Pong Toss is only eight bucks, and America is too full of morons to see your point. Honestly, I know people that don't even know the names of the planets of the solar system (yes they are all at least 15 years old)



Ricardo91 said:

^ Wow! Seriously? That's pathetic. XD

I met a guy once who thought fall and Autumn were 2 separate seasons! I hated him. But thankfully, I mostly hang around with people of at least average intelligence.



chiefeagle02 said:

Sympathy for the devil, I played Soda Pong last night with friends and had a good time. Yes, it was at a college party. However, when I told them about this game, no one had a clue this was out (save for a few who played "Game Party"). I can see why people are buying this game though. More for an ice breaker to a party before playing Smash or Rock Band and $8 isn't bad for party starter (considering it's one-time as opposed to paying that each time for drinks and cups). It's the same reason Bean Bag tossed will sell well (yes, I said it. Wait a bit and I'll get you a towel for your bloody ears). And at the party, there were several Wiis, so the demand is there. I still don't think I'll download this for my system though (I already have a lava lamp, which is the Holy Grail of College widgetry, if ever such word existed). Also, the review's put me off.

Just watch though, these same guys buying Pong will have My Aquarium on their system, post-grad school.



grimor said:

3.5/5 Broken Wii-motes on the frustration meter
Seemed cool, until I played it. I swear you can sink 10 shots in practice, do the exact same thing and miss the real one. This game gets real old, real fast.

Cost: 800 Worth: 200

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