qomp2 – Mostly Rewarding Nostalgic Puzzling

Pong has certainly left a shadow over the gaming landscape since it hit arcades, even if it’s because it was the first game to truly bring the idea of the video game into public consciousness.

It also serves as the inspiration for qomp2, a game in which you’ll be bouncing your ball about, but instead of aiming to score points, has you puzzling your way to get to the exit through 30 levels of hazards and trickery.

Right away, what makes qomp2 stand out is how you control said ball, as you don’t have direct control over it, but rather influence it through a pair of buttons on your controller. One deflects the ball, and the other charges up to let you dash, which can be used to break certain walls, and operate switches which you’ll encounter.

While this makes for a distinctive control scheme, it’s one I feel carries a bit of a learning curve. I’d say I felt that by the time I reached the end, I wasn’t 100% attuned, as there were cases where I felt the deflect control would push me in a different direction than what I was planning. I’d go as far as to say that getting to grips with qomp2 requires you to have a good memory of where your ball has been moving.


What has to be the big draw is its mechanics though. Each of qomp2’s levels either introduces something new, or takes something you’ve previously encountered and shakes it up. It kept me wondering what was up next – particularly on starting a new chapter which acts as a common grouping for what you’ll encounter in your journey.

It certainly offers plenty of surprises and a challenge as you progress through this minimalistic world.

It does for the most part anyway, at least until the introduction of water hazards in the opening of Chapter 3. In other games, water hazards do a lot to mess about how your character moves about – which is certainly true here.

The stumbling block for me was the change in how your inputs impacted the ball’s movement. Normally your ball’s direction changes when bouncing off a surface, or you press the deflect button. When underwater, it continually sinks downward, and pressing the deflect button bumps it towards the surface for a moment, before it resumes sinking. So to get to the surface, you’ll be hitting deflect with a continual rhythm to keep it going.


You can also use the dash button to increase the rate at which it sinks. Though if you’re not careful with your presses, you may accidentally charge up and perform an unintended dash which will likely send you into an unexpected hazard.

I’ll be honest- the two levels which featured water as the main hazard them were truly trying for me to play through. Trying to the point where I found myself thinking about putting my controller down and rage-quitting from the frustration it caused me.

But I persisted, and funnily enough things eased off after completing those levels. Now that feels a little off to me – a good difficulty curve should start off easy, with the challenge slowly ramping up over the course of a chapter. The fun should come from adapting to tough challenges because you’ve learnt new skills or how to adapt them to new circumstances, not from levels becoming less challenging!


Each chapter concludes with a boss battle. Considering the nature of qomp2’s mechanics, what the developers have done is to introduce some tricky little puzzles to solve to defeat them. A favourite has its first phase resemble the arcade game Warlords, where you had to defeat four targets to awaken the boss. I adored how it took a familiar enough arcade game, and spun the purpose about to give you a challenge before the boss battle.

It’s one I won’t forget anytime soon.

Sadly, once you’ve beaten qomp2, there’s not much reason to replay it other than making sure you’ve found the collectable item in each stage. Some are easy, being on your direct path, with others testing your brain as you work out how to safely recover the item without messing up.

At least each level offers plenty of checkpoints, so you won’t have to replay too much upon death. Though you’ll want to be careful, as I managed to get myself stuck on one or two occasions, but it’s easy to restart a level should that happen.


Qomp2 certainly lives up to the indie game vibe with its ambient soundtrack, and minimalistic visuals. The latter certainly gives me 1980’s budget game vibes, if only because of how most objects are drawn with a single colour, with more important ones getting the occasional different one.

When it comes down to it, I liked qomp2, but I’m not sure I can say that I loved it, or that I want to find the collectables I missed. Making a puzzle game out of Pong’s ball mechanics is unique, and the challenge is fair for the most part.

It’s just I feel it needed more refinement. Particularly around smoothing out the difficulty ramp up, or making those underwater sections feel far more predictable to control.

There’s a good game in here though, and maybe if you’re a little more patient than I am, you might get a lot more out of it than I happened to.

qomp2 offers the type of experience which feels strangely unique in the indie scape of 2024. If you're willing to be patient with some of its more challenging stages, then you'll be in for a rewarding puzzling experience.

Player 2 reviewed qomp2 on Playstation 5 using a code kindly provided by the publisher. 

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