Hot on the heels of the recent apppearance of a Massively Multiplayer Pong game (which is no longer available, go figure), Plasma Pong, a downloadable Windows game, takes the old favorite table tennis formula and fills it with liquid plasma.
Using fluid dynamics you can push the ball around the screen or charge for a cannon shot. The game ends up playing more like a visual experiment than a serious Pong clone, but it's worth a few minutes of playtime nonetheless.
Move your paddle up and down with the mouse to follow the ball. Press the left mouse button to send jets of plasma out of your paddle. Use it to deflect the oncoming ball and to fill the screen with colorful smoke. Hold the right mouse button to absorb plasma and attract the ball. Charge for a few seconds, then release to fire a power shot.
The riveting part of Plasma Pong is the visuals and killer musical score. The plasma looks like psychedelic liquid smoke. The dramatic presentation makes you feel as if you're doing something monumentally important. Pretend you're saving the world or something, isn't that what we're supposed to do in video games?
There are levels of difficulty in Plasma Pong, though there doesn't seem to be much of a challenge in even the highest levels. The computer isn't very smart, but then again, no one plays Plasma Pong for the challenge. Sit back and have Alt+PrintScreen ready to go.
Analysis: A simple and beautiful little title that borders on visual experiment rather than video game. It's a treat to look at, but when it comes down to gameplay there are a few gaps in the plasma.
For starters, there's no real sense of progression. Each time you score a point, the plasma clears and it says "LEVEL UP". But very little (if anything) changes. And the computer AI doesn't offer much of an opponent. A multiplayer mode is planned for the next release of the game, so hopefully your friends can offer more of a challenge.
So go ahead, give Plasma Pong a try.