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Ping Pals – Nintendo DS

Ping Pals – Nintendo DS

61cZAoFvGnLPlatform: Nintendo DS

Developer: WayForward Technologies

Publisher: THQ

Release Date: December 8th, 2004

Genre: Chat/Accessory Program

Nerd Rating: 4 out of 10

 

 

PP main

Oh boy it’s like I’m using an instant messanger on a handheld console with an instant messager!

I’m going to tell you a terrible secret; I own Ping Pals. That’s right, I am the “proud” owner of a chat program for a console that has a built in chat program. Luckily I didn’t buy this waste of money, it was gifted to me. But still, this title is one of those that makes you wonder what the developers were really thinking. And my assumption is that they weren’t. Instead of just beating the title down for being poorly thought out, let me tell you all about the fun-fun gameplay that you’ll have in store for you should you take the risk in purchasing it.

The game starts with a title screen you have to touch to pass, after that you’ll come across another screen that has two options; Upload or Log In. The Upload option will allow you to send others a DS downloadable version of the game to play with through your Wifi connection. Like the majority of DS downloadable games, this is only a tiny portion of the game and nothing major that you can save and go back to. The other option (Log In) will bring you to the chat room menu to choose a chatroom to join and commence the other gameplay objectives. Which is to say, not very many.

PP more intro

The never-ending fountain of exposition and useless information.

If this is your first time loading up the game you’ll encounter an NPC named Chit-Chat who will message you everything about the game within the first few minutes including how to chat, buy items, use secret words, etc. Now mind you, tutorials are great and all, but Chit-Chat doesn’t actually show you anything. Instead, it’s like having a long essay of exposition thrown at you at once. The only thing you might want to know from Chit-Chat’s rambling is that the game has so-called “secret words” that by inputting and sending them in a message, will reward you with coins. However, Chit-Chat doesn’t explain that you simply have to send the word in a message, nor does she mention that the words come in rarity from common to ultra rare. She will however, appear if you ever use a secret word to let you know.

PP shop

Overpriced junk.

Luckily the boring tutorial only appears once, but Chit-Chat will appear every time you first log-in to tell you the day, time, and time of day. Sometimes her welcome message will mention special holiday items available in the shop or your weekly allowance. After the tutorial you’ll also receive 100 coins to start, which you probably can’t buy anything with anyway. Your wardrobe area, which is the arrow on the top right of the chatroom screen, will have several random items in it to start with so your androgynous character doesn’t feel naked. While there, you can also swap your character’s gender whenever you want, with female as the default.

Back on the main screen the arrow in the left top corner will bring you to the shop. At the shop you can purchase clothing items and accessories for both genders as well as new sound effects, music, and backgrounds to use in your chatroom. In order to equipt these new items and options, you’ll have to go back to the wardrobe area and select the chosen item until you see a green check in its box. The game’s shop will change daily with special items appearing on specific days so if you don’t see something you like, you could simply change the DS’s system clock like one would to quickly pass days in Animal Crossing.

PP pointless

Basically “secret words” are anything past the first grade vocabulary level.

PP game

What fun minigames said no one.

One of the plus sides of this game is the amount of customization possible. You have the ability to choose from over 1000 different items and accessories to decorate your avatar of either gender and your chat room. And they actually have something for everyone in the little shop. I managed to find a cool Game Boy theme and matching music, but buying the items took some time. There are a number of ways to get money in the game including several minigames, the secret words, and allowance. The minigames in this game are absolutely terrible and don’t give you much for the time invested, and that includes “chatting” with one of the game’s many NPCs who repeat the same dialog every time you talk to them. For a game with 1000s of accessories, they really couldn’t add more dialog? Or I don’t know, actual gameplay?

Ping Pals is an incredibly disappointing game brought to you by the same people who made the Shantae series. At first I couldn’t believe that a company who had produced an actually fun game could manage to also produce such a horrible piece of garbage. How did they managed to fuck up on this so badly? I don’t know. Maybe this game was meant to show kids how incredibly pointless everyday life is. Because that’s how I felt after spending a couple of weeks on this game as a kid. This is the Nintendo DS game that pushed me back to the Game Boy Color and eventually Xbox 360, so maybe that was a good thing. But now at least I can finally throw this piece of shit away.

Written by Doc Croc

Doc Croc aka Kelly is Nerd Bacon’s Editor-in-Chief and resident narcoleptic. In the off-chance she isn’t already asleep, you can find her here at the Bacon!

 
 

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