VR isn’t really lacking in the ping pong games department, in general. However, there isn’t a singular, clean/polished ping pong game that stands out. Don’t get me wrong; the existing games do have value, and I own most of them, but Racket Fury steps up the quality and really manages to deliver that AAA feel.
From the gameplay screenshots alone, it’s clear that the production quality is top notch. Developers 10AntsHill even went the extra mile and added a bit of story line as a backdrop to Racket Fury. Basically, ping pong is how this future civilization of robots (The Zen) prevent war and maintain peace in the “Crown Galaxy.”
One of the biggest reasons this game stands out from the crowd, is the superbly polished feel of everything, from the gameplay, to the settings, and the environment. All are absolutely stunning and convey a AAA production, even though this game is an indie title. The performance is top notch and a great deal of fine detail and attention has clearly been put into Racket Fury.
The actual gameplay, does feel slightly more arcadey than simulation at times, so sim enthusiasts looking for a dead-on accurate-to-life ping pong game may be left a bit wanting with regard to the ball and paddle physics. However, there is a good amount of settings to be adjusted. The only area lacking (from what I could see and have read in forums) is the actual foam on the paddle settings. The developer does state “We spent countless hours on developing our own physics from scratch. Based on scientific research, it’s extremely realistic and translates your moves in the most accurate manner.”
Yet, I’ve witnessed, on rare occasion, slightly odd ball behavior, which is to be expected as it is early access, and they’re still pumping out updates to further refine the physics and overall game feel. I personally enjoy it immensely, regardless. It’s one of those games where I think “I’ll just throw it on for a quick match,” then 30 mins later, I’m yelling at the robot AI because the gameplay really pulls you in and ticks the addictive “just one more match” box in my brain. It’s great that they give your opponents’ names as it gave my frustration a direct target, “*$&! you Robbie the Robot!”
There’s plenty of charm and character, as well, in the title. From the beautiful environment to the quirky (and challenging) AI opponents, they manage to maintain a lighthearted, fun vibe while also allowing for some serious gaming. Although it would be nice to get a few new environments, which may be something we see in future updates.
There is a great deal of customization of your robot avatar in the form of an in-game “workshop,” where you can buy new parts for your robot body. New parts come in the form of face plates, bodies, arm plates, and even armor. There is in-game currency which you accumulate by winning matches and then used to purchase your new parts. I believe the parts are solely cosmetic, more for showing off in multiplayer matches.
Stats, stats and more stats. 10AntsHill has done a great job of tracking your gameplay statistics. As this title has a big multiplayer component, everything you do is tracked and you can pull up your stats anytime to get a detailed report of your technique, skill, etc.
Just a quick shout out on the awesome menu: it’s very clean simple UI that just works. Easy to restart matches and everything is very responsive, reloading the main menu takes only a quick flash and there you are. The settings are also quite comprehensive offering paddle adjustment and a good deal of graphic and gameplay options. A few options of note: if you want fun, enable the Spike option, as it adds a little fire trail to the ball when hit very hard. You can also switch between white or orange (standard) colored ping pong balls.
Even with the rather large selection of VR ping pong/table tennis games available on the market, Racket Fury, for me, has stepped up and taken the crown. Plus, with the great roster of single player opponents, I find myself going back to this title nightly. The difficulty curve of each opponent is just gradual enough to make you have to try harder, and learn to play better, without stealing the fun or resulting in frustration (so far, I’m on the 1st opponent of the 3rd tier, starting to get quite difficult and I need to get better at ball spins and dealing with them).
In regard to my earlier comments about ball spin and paddle physics, I’ve actually seen statements online from people claiming to be “Ping Pong Pros” in real life, applauding Racket Fury as the best of the bunch. That’s also where I read the main lacking feature is more related to the actual paddle foam settings/options, and certainly nothing game breaking. So it’s safe to say the title is great for both the casuals who want arcade gameplay, as well as the more seasoned ping-pong-ers who are looking for something more simulation than arcade.
Grab Racket Fury from Steam now, available at $19.99.