Pro Beach Volleyball in Review – Beach bikini fun without all that sand

pro-beach-volleyball-review1With winter creeping up on us I’m really starting to miss those warm summer days where bikinis and bouncing beach volleyballs dot the horizon. I recently got my hands on Soarion Studios’ Pro Beach Volleyball which delivers all the bikinis and beach volleyball anyone could want, but without all the gritty sand.

While this game looks good, its graphics are two-faced. On one hand is the beautiful 3D models and excellent logo, and on the other, a pixelated nav bar. It gets worse though. For example, when you are playing a match and you look around, you see nice trees and a beautiful beach; the whole match area looks good (net, sand, etc). Yet when the camera zooms in, things go square. The players are “blocky” like a creepy horror movie and no one has faces.

pro-beach-volleyball-review2With this being a first release, I can understand that it may not be as state of the art as some other productions from more established game houses, but it’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t all look as good as some aspects of the game.

Playing is a simple affair; there are 3 main moves in volleyball: bump, set, and spike. Each of these adorn the left and right side of the screen, representing both players. You don’t have to worry about getting your player in position, they do that on their own. All you have to worry about is hitting the buttons at the right time. This style of controls (everything pushed to the sides) is familiarly simple and  makes for an easier time handling the functions while still being able to see what’s going on. For anyone who may not be familiar, they have game-play broken down into 4 levels and include a short  video of each available if you tap the (?) button from the front page.

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The game play itself is fairly fast paced. You get to choose between playing in California and Mexico, after which you go right into game play. After serving you go back and forth against the computer and it usually doesn’t take too long for someone too miss. One thing that you’ll probably encounter a fair bit though is called a Side Out. It basically means that the serving team made an error and service is over, switching to the opponents. Fortunately, no point is awarded though so I guess it’s a good thing, but it was annoyingly frequent in such a simply controlled game.

One weird thing that I noticed (which was removed in a recent update) was a button to “Purchase the full version”. With this being the only version available that was rather confusing. Some digging on their site revealed that they intend to release a “Gold” version that will basically have more of everything. Another issue is the lack of a pause button. There is an “X” at the bottom of the screen but that unfortunately exits you right out to the front screen. Kind of a pain when you are well into a game and thought it was a pause button and pressed it.

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In the end I can’t really recommend this app as much as others have. It may not be a “bad” game but it definitely needs some tweaking. Leaving out something as standard as a pause button can definitely annoy some players. That along with the knowledge that they are already planning on releasing a better version of the game in the future leads me more to recommend holding off if you aren’t in need of a volleyball game right now.

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App Summary
Title:Pro Beach Volleyball (Version 1.1)Developer:Soarion Studios LLC
Price:$1.99App Size:47.5Mb
  • Easy to play
  • Good “Pick up and play” style title
  • Multiple how-to videos
  • Graphics quality not consistent
  • Game play too simple for some
  • No online play/stats
  • No pause button

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