It takes a lot to get a sports simulation 'feeling' right, but Giraffe Games has scored a winner with Table Tennis 3D, powered with the Unity engine (and it shows). The speed of response is astonishing, given the speed of real table tennis and how close this gets.
Swipe your finger in a direction you want the Table Tennis Ball to go. Timing your swipe is critical for a fast shot that is hard to return. Starting your swipe too early or late will send a slow shot to your opponent which is easy to return. So start your swipe when the ball is in a perfect position for a fast and precise shot.
The latter paragraph above is one of the keys to the feel of Table Tennis 3D, i.e. the timing of each shot determines the speed, along with the angle and sweep of the upwards swipe for each shot, which determines the direction and spin placed on the ball. And all this happens in real time, in a fraction of a second, for each shot in a fast paced rally. Impressive.
Here's the game in action:
The 20 AI players are matched up against you in three different ways - which seems a little over the top, but hey, what matters is that you get playing....
Tutorial screens and a complete training match await, with on-screen hints and pointers. It's also your first sight of the Table Tennis 3D interface, with real time rendered arena. Crucially, your own character is just a ghostly outline, so that you can see your bat all the time, i.e. it's never hidden behind your on-screen body....
There's a choice of two camera angles, though each also varies in real time to follow the action if needed. You don't need to worry about where on the screen you swipe upwards or about how 'long' your shot will go, but you do need to be careful about angle, curve and timing - trust me, it's still plenty to get right....
As a freemium title, the monetisation here is in giving you customised bats and shoes, enhancing performance slightly at the same time ('power', 'control'). Purchasing is done in 'balls'!
Curiously, when you try to buy balls, there's no indication of how much each pack will be - I tapped through to find out and, thankfullym they're all fairly small amounts - a couple of pounds even for the biggest ball pack - well done to Giraffe Games for not taking the Michael with freemium.....(!)
The AI players are tough to beat, once you get into your career - the online multiplayer opponents even more so. It's astonishing that such a fast sport can be handled over the Internet at all (what with latency, etc.) - comments welcome if you have any insights on how the developers have managed to work this magic.
A terrific interface and a very well paced sports simulation - and surprisingly addictive. True, there's little variation in absolute terms, but there's challenge aplenty, making this a great title to dip into each day. You can grab Table Tennis 3D here in the Store.