Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis is a dramatic change of pace for the developer known for the Midnight Club series, and surely a change for Rockstar as a whole, known for the Grand Theft Auto series. Rather than a sandbox concept, Rockstar shows players what "focus" is all about: the entire game is table tennis. There are no minigames, and there is no deviation from the path, just straight-up table tennis, polished and perfected.
The player is given the option to play through a few different modes, ranging from the short and simple "exhibition" match, to the longer "circuit" tournaments. There are four circuits in the game, each one progressively increasing in difficulty. The entire game consists of one-on-one matches only, though it allows for two players to play against each other on the same television, or over Xbox Live. The multiplayer portion of the game even provides options for players to form tournaments of their own, where up to eight players can participate.
As a sports simulation, all the rules of competitive table tennis are present in the game. Games can be played to 7, 11, or 21 points. Matches can be played best 1 of 1, 2 of 3, or 3 of 5.
The game is very easy to pick up and play. One analog stick controls power and spin, and the other controls ball placement, though you may choose to control power/spin with buttons rather than an analog stick. Topspin, backspin, and spin to the left and right are all mixable and provide for various possible strategies. Do you want to try and overpower your opponent with topspin, or make him lunge forward at a weak backspin shot, or perhaps a little of both? There are many ways to play, and the characters faced during the game are usually susceptible to a particular style of play. This encourages the player to try all sorts of different combinations.
It might sound confusing to think about actually facing an opponent, taking into account that they will be using the exact same power/spin moves you might be trying yourself. However, Rockstar Table Tennis simplifies things in this regard. Topspin, backspin, and spin to the left and right each have their own unique color. When the ball is hit, the ball takes on a glow of the respective spin it has. Once you learn the system, it is easy to just react to and understand exactly what the ball is about to do.
- Carmen (Unlockable) – A Brazilian player that is 25 years old and 5’6”. She has a well-rounded game and powerful backhand topspin.
- Cassidy (Unlockable) – An Irish player that is 25 and stands at 5’7”. Her strengths are her defense and her strong forehand backspin.
- Haley – From the USA, she is 21 years old and stands at 5’5”. She is an all-round player with a powerful forehand topspin.
- Jesper – A Swedish player, standing at 6’2” at the age of 34. Jesper has a particularly long reach and dangerous forehand topspin.
- Juergen – From Germany, he is 29 years old and is 5’10”. His strengths are his quick feet and his good forehand sidespin.
- Jung Soo (Unlockable) – Out of South Korea, Jung is 23 years old and 6’0”. His strengths are his offense and his powerful backhand topspin.
- Kumi – Reigning from Japan, she is 23 and stands at 5’2”. She has quick feet and notable forehand sidespin.
- Liu Ping – Coming from China, he is 32 years old and stands 5’9” tall. Liu is known for his aggressiveness and powerful forehand topspin.
- Luc – A French player that is a 27-year-old and stands at 5’11”. He is best known for his defense and strong backhand backspin.
- Mark (Unlockable) – From England, he is 22 and stands at 6’1”. He has a good offense and powerful forehand topspin.
- Solayman – An Egyptian player, Solayman is 35 and stands at 6’3”. He is a well-balanced player with strong backhand topspin.