Paddle vs Paddle is a simple but fun multiplayer-focused title that echoes some of the arcade classics of the past. It’s available for PS4 and here’s our review.
Although there’s a single player mode in Paddle vs Paddle that can serve to get you acquainted with its controls, the heart of the game is on multiplayer – which in this case is all local, since there’s no online multiplayer to be found. There’s also no Vita version with cross-platform functionality, although that would have been a great fit.
The game looks like a neon/Tron-inspired hybrid of games like Pong and Arkanoid, and in multiplayer there’s a bit of “hot potato” involved as well. Your paddle is positioned at the bottom of the screen (a la Arkanoid) and you don’t want the ball to move past you (a la Arkanoid again, but also like Pong). This makes for a very basic single player experience that’s not as enjoyable as some of the Arkanoid clones out there, but things become more interesting when you add a few friends to the mix.
When playing against each other, you’re all positioned at the bottom of the screen, defending your own little column of the playing field. If the ball passes you, you’re one step closer to losing. This is where the hot potato reference comes in, since all you’re trying to do is get rid of the ball if it’s in your section and pass it off to another player. Things can get frantic and fun in this mode, which can be played with two or four players. The fact that there’s no three player mode is a missed opportunity, as it would have been easy enough to implement and wouldn’t have left out a player to await his turn when there’s a group of three.
Mixing up the action are the kind of upgrades and downgrades that you’ll no doubt be familiar with if you’ve ever played an Arkanoid game or clone – making your paddle bigger or smaller, complicating matters either for you or your opponent. You’ll also hit power-ups that change the gravity, throw up walls in your path and of course unleash a multiball frenzy. The controls are slightly different from Arkanoid though, since you’re able to tilt your paddle and thus direct your ball at sharper angles. You’re also not free to position your paddle anywhere you want, since it always returns to a centered position when you let go of the controls – as if stuck to a rubber band.
If you’re looking for a single player retro arcade style game to enjoy, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a local multiplayer title that’s incredibly easy to get in to and enjoy for 20 minutes with a few friends, then Paddle vs Paddle is definitely worth considering. It won’t leave a lasting memory, but it’s a nice choice to have when there are a few minutes of time to kill with a few friends – and there’s not enough of those games available on PS4.