GAME NAME: Ping 1.5+
DEVELOPER(S): NAMI TENTOU MUSHI
PUBLISHER(S): NAMI TENTOU MUSHI
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): October 16th, 2014
Ping originally launched as a mobile title and I never had the chance to get around to playing it even though I was hearing good things about it. When Nami Tentou Mushi announced an enhanced version of their puzzle games titled Ping 1.5+ was coming to the Wii U eShop I couldn’t wait to get the opportunity to give it a go. The first thing that caught my attention is the common love that both myself and this developer had for classic retro style games.
In Ping 1.5+, you control a block named Ping. Ping’s goal in life is to obtain an orange. I like orange’s but I don’t think enough to risk my life for one but such is the life of a block. The level structure in the title is set up in 12 worlds where you can play 8 levels and a boss battle in each. Let me throw out this disclaimer right away: Ping 1.5+ is not for the gamer that doesn’t enjoy the torture and frustration of sadistic levels of difficulty. There are some levels that will make you want to just throw your GamePad right out the window. This is by design of course, and beating these ridiculous levels adds a great sense of accomplishment.
In the base 8 levels of each world, you control Ping by either using the touch screen to launch him or by pulling the analog stick and tapping the A button. At first it feels like the direction you are shooting Ping feels reversed but you will catch on with the controls after only a few short levels. There is a scoring system in place where you have to use a limited number of bounces to get to the orange or you fail your objective. If you can actually complete the levels, you are judged in a three star system where there are a set number of bounces that you need to finish the level under. Ping 1.5+ also tries to mix up the levels by letting you shoot more then once to complete the daunting task of reaching the orange.
The level design is by far what made me enjoy this game so much. You will see homages to Mario, Pitfall, Space Invaders, Missile Command and more. The boss battles are a nce change of pace and will have you completing different tasks and objectives to finish out the level. The Missile Command homage I mentioned earlier is one of the boss battles in the game. In this boss battle you have basically unlimited shots, but you must use these to take out the missiles heading toward the bases at the bottom of the screen. I really enjoyed the change of pace in each boss level and it really made me excited to play through the next 8 levels.
The graphic style of Ping 1.5+ is a simplistic old school 2D feel but with 3D blocks. The style looks kind of bland, but it makes up for the so-so graphics with the brilliant level design and homages. The music is great but at times feels odd because it sounds like each level is part of one big song and when you need to restart a level, it sometime picks the song up in a very off part. I remember at the beginning of one level it have the last few bars of a build up and went directly into the climax of the build up and just felt a little misplaced.
I’ll be clear right up front, Ping 1.5+ is not for the feint of heart. If you can get past the level of extreme difficulty, there is a wonderful puzzle game here. Even with it’s ho hum graphics, the excellent level design really drives this game home. Any puzzle fan that is in to sadistically challenging games, put your money where your mouth is and download Nami Tentou Mushi difficult but fun gem today.