Table tennis is becoming an increasingly crowded area in the world of VR sport, and Racket Fury aims to differentiate itself with a blend of futuristic visuals, unique robot AI personalities, and detailed physics. The game has been in closed beta since July 6th, and is due to launch on Steam Early Access on July 21st.
The likes of Virtual Sports, VR Ping Pong, and Eleven: Table Tennis VR have capitalised on the close correlation between the light rackets and balls used in real table tennis and the feel and feedback of modern VR motion controllers, but a new entrant is hoping there’s room for improvement, particularly in terms of style and content. Racket Fury: Table Tennis VR from independent developer 10Ants Hill is one to watch, as it appears to be heading towards a fully-featured, well-polished addition to the world of ping pong VR.
Thanks to the hint of sci-fi backstory on the game’s Steam page, we know that the action takes place in the ‘Crown Galaxy’, a place inhabited by the ‘Zen’ robot, who introduced the ‘Racket Fury Tournament’ to maintain the peace. In the single player campaign, you assume the role of a Zen, challenged to face the ‘Division of Steel’, a prestigious team of robots that have dominated the competition. The four main robot types, which increase in difficulty, have been detailed on the Racket Fury twitter account. The developers claim that the advanced opponent AI means that each robot “has their own temper and an utterly unique style of play.”
Currently, the game features 16 opponents, quick-match online multiplayer, 3 arenas, and a ‘workshop’ for character upgrades; the final game promises to double the opponent count, increase the number of environments and upgrade items, and add a ranked multiplayer and event system. Originally due to hit Early Access in April, the team say that the additional three months of development has resulted in “a huge leap” in quality, listing some of the recent changes to the beta on the Steam News page.
The recent alpha footage shows a slick interface and impressive visuals, along with some convincing physics and motion-captured opponent animations. The rather awkward and repetitive commentary is jarring, but it can be disabled and the developer says this will be improved for the full release. 10Ants Hill have answered several other concerns in the YouTube comments, saying that the special effects on the ball can also be disabled, and that there are “no assists” affecting the flight of the ball and the physics are “100% pure simulation”. They also confirmed that they are aiming for a PSVR release in the future.
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