Review: Beer Pong! (PS3)

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Title: Beer Pong!
Format: PlayStation Network Download (194 MB)
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: JV Games, Inc.
Developer: JV Games, Inc.
Original MSRP: $4.99
ESRB Rating: T
Beer Pong! is exclusive to PlayStation Network.

Beer Pong! is a game based on a drinking game. In the real version of the game people bounce or throw a ping pong ball across a table into a cup containing beer. Most of you reading this review either have played it or at least know the gist of the game. I bring this up because the game is only rated T, which given its subject matter I’m surprised that there hasn’t been some controversy regarding this game.

Gameplay:
Beer Pong! is a simple game made up of several modes: single player challenge, Beer Pong, Beer Pong Tournament, Speed Pong, Speed Pong Tournament, Practice Game, Network Game; also with the option to play any of the modes on three levels of difficulty. Unfortunately most of these modes, with the exception of the Speed modes, don’t really differ from each other that much. Sure you may or may not have a teammate but other than that, it is toss ball into cup, shoot your second ball and then it’s your opponent’s turn to do the same.

The speed modes do change things up a lot and offer the only real excitement to the game. You can sink the ball into marked cups that change the game dynamics. Effects include: flip the cups, making it harder to aim at upright cups, add sliding doors that you force you to time your toss, add cups to your opponent, or shrink the size of your opponent’s cup. Since you are shooting next to your opponent there is a real sense of pressure to win that is not present in the turn based modes.

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One unique aspect to the game is that the more cups you make, the more “drunk” your opponent gets. The vision of the table gets more and more distorted and sways from side to side. While it doesn’t really affect gameplay that much, it is fun to see each time it happens.

Beer Pong! can be played with both the Dualshock 3 as well as Move controllers. However that is not really the case, because the Sixaxis functionality of the DualShock 3 really wasn’t tuned for this game. To toss the ball you need to first tap X, then lift the controller to raise the on screen arm to the right position while also using the Analog Sticks or D-pad to position the virtual arm left or right. Then you need to flick your hand down to toss the ball. The instructions show you gripping the controller with both hands on the sides.  Unfortunately, when I flicked my hand to toss the ball, it rarely captured that motion and instead thought I was trying to raise or lower my arm. I was able to toss the ball about 20% of the time. I then tried gripping the controller in the middle with one hand and while that registered the toss more frequently, it caused my shots to go all over the place because my hand would brush against the Analog Sticks. It’s nowhere close to being accurate which basically makes the game unplayable using the DualShock 3.

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However, the game is immensely more playable with the Move controller. I was able to calibrate easily and actually felt like I was playing real beer pong while using it. The glowing bulb of the move controller also helped to make it feel more authentic, since it looked like I was tossing a real ping-pong ball. Once I was able to accurately judge the force of my tosses, I was really able to enjoy the game. They should have made this game just a Move game. While that would have limited the audience it would have showcased the game better.

One thing that I wish they would have done is add other modes to the game since real beer pong has several variations. These additional modes would have greatly added to the feeling of wanting to come back and play this game. Even adding in trick shots would have been a nice change of pace.

Visuals:
Beer Pong! has average graphics. They are not photo-realistic portrayals of people but it does remind me of Sports Champions. The best part of the visuals is the drinking effect mentioned earlier. As you consume more beer, the effects increase.

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Audio:
The game comes with a handful of songs that get really annoying after hearing them over and over again, but fortunately you can skip to the next song in the menus if you want. The best thing about the audio is that you can play your own music, though the game doesn’t come out and tell you that or how to do it. To play your own music you need to press the PS button then go over to the music section on the XMB then select the song or album and press play. You can also turn off the music if you want as well. The game also includes an announcer that is best described as Adam Sandler from his bad movies. The comments repeat very often and sometimes have no bearing on what is actually happening in the game. In one match, both my opponent and I had one cup left and the announcer mentioned that there were a lot of cups still out there. Thankfully you can also turn off the announcer as well.

Online/Multiplayer:
There is both local multiplayer as well as online play. I was able to play several local matches and the game played smoothly. It was easy to tell who was controlling who and when your turn was up. I tried to play the game online but unfortunately the community is not there right now.

Conclusion:
I really wanted to like this game. The trailers for the game look really good and Beer Pong! could have been a really fun party game. It seems that for everything that Beer Pong! does right it does two things wrong. The drunk effect is nice, the Move controls are great, but the music gets old fast. Sixaxis controls are terrible, the announcer is like Screech from Saved by the Bell, and the modes don’t offer much variation. While I had fun with the Move controls and playing with friends in the speed modes I can only give Beer Pong! a

Score: 
5.5

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