Pong®World Review

By , on December 4, 2012

  • Publisher: Atari
  • Genre: Action
  • Released: 29 Nov, 2012
  • Size: 38.2 MB
  • Price: FREE!
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  •  Pong, but with a great modern twist; upgradeable and unique power-ups per paddle, as well as new ball physics to master.


  • Poor utilization of the available screen space; swipe detection cuts off for iPhone 5 users and player's paddle is obscured.
  • Freemium aspects overwhelm the gameplay; all 'fun' aspects locked away behind pay-to-play walls.


Pong World makes the bold attempt of trying to refresh an Arcade classic for the modern era, and while the fundamental concept is sound, the execution is terribly flawed.

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There's a small backstory to Pong World by Atari and zGames. To celebrate the game's 40h anniversary, Atari sought out Indie developers to update the classic arcade game, and the end result is a fantastic concept that gives the game a shufflepuck-like spin by giving the player direct control over the action.

However a great idea can only take you so far when it's smothered by a relentless freemium model of almost endless monotonous gameplay, and design decisions that hamper the gameplay on the iOS platform.

The basic gameplay remains much the same as the original Pong with players being placed against AI controlled opponents (same-device multiplayer is also available) in a 'first-to-score-five' match of bouncing a ball from top to bottom. The modern twist comes in three distinct flavors: Firstly the ball is now subject to 'spin' as well as angle, which can result in crazy loop-de-loops that may even work against you. Secondly each 'paddle' is represented by a creature, with each sporting a unique ability and additional upgrades that can be purchased with in-game cash. Lastly, each of the four available stages feature a unique 'power-up' that modifies the field.

Sadly the end result is a match that's muddled by shots skewing back and forth while the ball bounces off blocks scattered around the field. It gets even worse if you have an iPhone 5 device with the extra screen width as the controls cut out completely if your finger is so much as a pixel off the basic screen - if you've never been angry at a game, this may just do the job.

The final nail in the coffin is the lack of meaningful progression as the prohibitive cost of items force you to play the same old match over and over until you can afford something to mix things up.

Pong World is a delightful concept and one that looks fantastic on paper (and on a screen as well), but there's something sacred about the simple charm of dueling with paddles and a ball that's broken by this game and it's hard to forgive.


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