Review: Pong Toss Pro - Frat Party Games (WiiWare)

The drunker you are, the better.

Nothing compliments a good buzz like tossing tiny ping pong balls into a group of plastic cups. In fact, Beer Pong has become quite the popular party game over the years, so much so that JV Games released their own version of the game for the WiiWare service back in 2008. Despite receiving extremely low review scores from most media outlets (Nintendo Life awarded it 2/10 in our review), the game must have enjoyed a decent level of sales as JV Games is once again bringing back the popular party game, this time with a host of improvements.

As far as the actual core game goes, not much has changed since the first go around. There are still basically two game modes to be played in the game: regular Pong Toss and Speed Pong. Regular Pong Toss has you and an opponent taking turns trying to get your ping pong balls into your own group of plastic cups. You'll even be able to earn points depending on which cup you're able to toss your ball into, not to mention your points being tallied against your current multiplier. You can set up the difficulty of your CPU-controlled opponent, as well as customize other aspects of the game like what music is played or the presence of the announcer.

Speed Pong is more of a head-to-head competition and is easily the best mode in the game. It's a race to see who can get their ping pong balls in all of their cups first. There will even be times when you can sink a ball in a cup that features an annoyance that can be used to hinder your opponent's progress. These range from putting up a set of barn doors over your opponents line of sight to flipping their cups over in order to keep them from getting their balls into them. You'll soon find that getting these power-ups can be quite beneficial in slowing down your opponent, especially if they're quite a bit ahead of you in the game.

A new addition to Pong Toss Pro is the tournament modes. Both Pong Toss and Speed Pong have their own tournament modes that will allows, 4, 8, and even 16 players or teams of players to take part. These tournaments play out in a bracket system with the winner moving on to the next round and the loser being eliminated. These modes might seem like a rather trivial addition, but they're a great way to get a lot of people involved in the game.

While the controls have remained fairly similar to the original release, there is a new gauge that will give you a readout of your current trajectory and the amount of power you're tossing the ball with. It helps with accuracy a little bit, but tends to be something you'll pay little attention to when the action is heating up in Speed Pong mode. It's also nice to be able to set up special rules such as forcing players to bounce their shots in rather than toss them directly into the cups, something that does add in a little variety to the mix. The main problem is that given the streaky accuracy of the motion controls, sinking your balls into the cups generally feels more like luck than any type of skill, the same basic problem that plagued the first Pong Toss.

Much like the controls, the game's presentation received a bit of a facelift as well. The visuals, while still rather jagged and bland, do show a bit more detail and the rock & roll soundtrack is a bit catchier this time around. You can even switch to the specific tracks you like before heading into a match. The voice announcer features quite a few more lines of dialogue, but it still won't take you long until it starts repeating on you, another thing that can be alleviated in the options menu if you so choose.

Conclusion

Let's face it, there's not a raging amount of excitement in the Beer Pong experience as it is, and when you further dilute by turning it into a video game, there's honestly not much left to enjoy. While JV Games has added some very nice improvements to their original Pong Toss concept, unfortunately it's still very much the same game and one that still doesn't translate well into a video gaming experience.