Whether or not you enjoyed the recent motion picture, the video game rendition of Balls of Fury for the Nintendo DS is actually quite agreeable. The movie's goofy characters and lame story are merely window dressing for a table tennis game that's easy to pick up and quite a bit of fun.
Spanning the system's two screens is a vibrant, though plain representation of a ping pong table. Your opponents and their half of the table are shown on the upper screen, while your paddle and your half of the table occupy the lower touch screen. To play the game, you simply use the stylus to move the paddle around and, in turn, serve and return the ball toward your opponent.
Use the touch screen to guide the paddle. When your power meter fills, it is time to unleash a superhuman trick shot.
The onscreen paddle has no trouble keeping up with fine movements or fast sweeps, so it's easy to line up returns and get lengthy volleys going. Overall, the controls work like you'd expect them to. Hitting the ball at an upward angle will result in a straight shot, whereas hitting the ball at a sideways angle will cause it to veer to the left or right. You can also hold left or right on the directional pad to put more English on the ball, which comes in handy when you're trying to slap an ace off the corner of the opponent's side.
Every time you return the ball or score a point, you add power to your character's power move gauge. Power moves are trick shots that are tough to return, because they tend to explode with speed or spin in circles. Each of the 10 characters has his or her own unique power move. To use a power move, all you have to do is tap up on the control pad. A full gauge lets you store three power moves, and the gauge itself builds rather quickly, which means trick shots are a frequent occurrence in every match. People who prefer traditional table tennis rules may find them out of place, but they definitely add a much-needed jolt of energy to an otherwise straightforward depiction of ping pong.