Developer: Clap Hanz
Release Date: 6/29/2010
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Super addictive, excellent court play, stat building and item collecting is fun, cute visuals
The Bad: No special powers, a little too casual, distracting adventure mode, grating music
I always hate to talk about casual gamers since they almost ruin everything for hardcore gamers (Kinect and Wii) and everybody always forgets about us hardcore guys, but Sony always knows how to balance it just right (the Move is a perfect example) to please both sides (this is kind of like politics). The Hot Shots series has always been a great game for both sides because you can completely ignore stats and have fun, but also delve into them and fine tune your game. Tennis is no exception with a good amount of stat tracking, but also just quick and fun tennis for casual gamers.
On the court, the game is fairly simple yet surprisingly deep. You can perform three different swings: Slice, Lob, and a Stroke. Using the nub or D-pad allows you to decide where the ball goes, but it’s a nice grid type structure so if you’re running right the ball will go right etc. The longer you wait to hit the ball the more accurate your shot will be on that dot so timing is key. Or if you just like swinging away you can and still have a good challenge. You can out smart the players by looking at what their play style is, and you can even trick them during serves which is always fun. Lobbing the ball will show a yellow dot and if your opponent lobs you have to run to that spot and hit X at just the right time and you could get a Smash Ace.
While the game is super fun on the court you can change attributes by selecting courts with bounce and hardness, but you can also totally ignore that and still have fun. You can collect clothes for your character, but each piece has a stat boost, but if you just want to deck out your character you can and still win. Before each match, you can choose No-ad for a quicker game, change rackets, and if you play characters long enough they will level up and play better on the court.
What’s so great about this game is if you just want to jump into a couple quick games you can without concentrating on stats and the game will almost play the same. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reward hardcore stat trackers too much since it does lean a little more toward the casual side. Despite all this, you are on a world tour to make everyone happy by using tennis. Not the best story, but it’s nice to see the cute characters talk it out in an open adventure format and you can click around and find hidden items, but it’s more of a distraction than anything really.
With another person, you can really have a lot of fun, but the best part about Tennis is the fact that it’s addictive, and you always want to keep coming back thanks to the good AI. You want to keep finding new items for your characters, you want to boost your character as much as possible and make them the ultimate tennis swatting machine. If only the game had some sort of special power abilities to make narrow wins turn tables, but other than that the game is super fun.