(DSiWare)

VT Tennis (DSiWare)

Game Review

VT Tennis Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Desiree Turner

Don't get court out

You'd think developers would be racing to bring a MotionPlus-capable tennis game to WiiWare at the moment, especially after Wii Sports Resort didn't include a new version (unless ping-pong is enough to satisfy you). However, Virtual Toys has decided to skip the Wii Shop for now and release their new VT Tennis as DSiWare, offering stylus controls, seventeen different courts on which to play, and also the ability to customise your character as he or she rises through the ranks of the international circuit. While it all sounds like it'd make for a great pick-up-and-play game, VT Tennis has a few quirks that deserve addressing.

Both stylus and button controls are available, and you may toggle them back and forth in the Options menu. In each setup, there's the serve and four other shots available, and only trial and error can help you to figure out which shot is more appropriate during which situation. Luckily, Tennis School is available to teach you each different shot and what is required to play them in-game. The button controls are fairly straightforward, but while using the stylus, it feels somewhat odd to have to tap the screen to have your player move around and then hold a direction on the D-Pad (or one of the ABXY buttons, lefties) while quickly sliding your stylus however you need to in order to make whichever shot you desire. It would've felt much more natural to use the D-Pad to move around the court and/or aim your shot and then have differently shaped strokes or taps correspond to the different shots instead, if the buttons had to be involved at all.

Another difference between both styles of control is the appearance of on-screen cursors while using the stylus. No such visual aid appears while using the buttons and D-Pad to aim your shots, making it impossible to tell where your ball will land. The on-screen cursors don't necessarily denote your actual taps or slides so much as they just tell you where your ball is going next. Being able to see where your ball will land makes things easier on you, but having the cursor suddenly pop up on the far left side of the court when you had intended to aim for just left of the centre line is irritating. Aiming is difficult with the stylus at first - it's not where you lift your stylus from the screen (which would've been nice) but rather the direction of your flick that counts.

When you're finished with Tennis School, it's time for Career Mode. Here you'll choose from several different options to create your very own tennis player, though oddly there is no option to change your character's skin tone to anything but bed-sheet white. Career Mode is tournament-based, with matches and opponents generated for you and no difficulty levels to choose from. You'll begin in a Singles tournament, and later on, Doubles will also be introduced, where you and your hired CPU-controlled partner will take on opponents in tandem. The skill of the CPU is somewhat hit-or-miss, but generally if you're far enough from the ball when it reaches your side of the court, it will spring into action and nab it for you. The same goes for your CPU opponents, though they're more hit than miss; you'll have to be on top of your game to get past even the first tournament in the series.

As you win each successively harder tournament, you'll unlock new courts for play in Quick Mode, earn money with which to buy new outfits and racquets, and gain stat bonuses in the form of prizes. By increasing the power of your shots as well as your speed, you'll eventually build up your character enough to make it through all the available tournaments and become number one in the international circuit - or, at least, that's the idea. Tennis is incredibly repetitive, and while this game has enough to offer to please those who are already fans of the sport, in no way will VT Tennis bring over any new converts.

Quick Match mode allows you to customise your game with a number of options, but if you're not in the mood to set everything up on your own, the Auto button at the bottom of the touchscreen will generate a match at random for you. Quick Match is great for tennis on the go if that's what you're craving, but note that there's no multiplayer option here at all, not even if you've got two players who have both downloaded the game to their DSi systems. Constantly playing the CPU wears on you after a while, and this game really would've been perfect for some two-player head-to-head action, so it seems like a missed opportunity.

You'll be greeted at the main menu by a blaring rock theme repeating over and over, but the in-game sounds are as quiet and calm as any professional match. The contrast between non-stop guitar rage and near-silence is so stark that you can't help but wonder whether or not it was done on purpose. As for the graphics, for a game requiring absolute focus on a tiny yellow circle, they're not bad. The only moving objects are you, the ball, and your opponent, so there's nothing else to watch, and though there's a tiny jerk in the running animations, it's nothing that will distract you. The only problem with this game being on such a tiny screen is that sometimes the ball will be shot high up into the air, past where the screen can display, and you'll be left watching its shadow to follow it across the court.

Conclusion

Why Virtual Toys would bring VT Tennis to DSiWare instead of WiiWare first is a mystery, but what's done is done. The controls are tricky at first, but people willing to practise will be able to use each available shot technique to their advantage. The character customisation is a bit odd (the 'international circuit' isn't very international), but other than that there are quite a few different outfits and racquets available for purchase in Career Mode, and being able to build your skills is also nice. Quick Match mode is great for pick-up-and-play goodness, but sadly, there's no multiplayer mode available at all, and constantly playing the CPU does get boring. If you're already a fan of tennis, you'll probably have some fun with this game, but newbies will want to give this one a pass.

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Game Trailer

VIRTUAL TOYS smash some tennis action onto DSiWare with VT Tennis, launching in March 2010 - check out Nintendo Life for a full review

User Comments (10)

arielp

#1

arielp said:

This is just rebrand of RAFA NADAL TENNIS DS(also by VT), just the name 'RAFA NADAL' gets removed (royalty issue maybe, to keep the price low), same game all the way...

for 500dsi point, kinda worthed, rather buying the RAFA NADAL version on cart

theblackdragonAdmin

#2

theblackdragon said:

@arielp: well, that certainly explains a lot, lol. looks like they stripped the multiplayer from it for this re-release as well as changing the name.

Sylverstone

#4

Sylverstone said:

I saw the trailer, and I knew instantly that this was gonna be very average, or at least below par.

(Start RANT...)

Next time, actually create a tennis game from the ground up, instead of repackaging some rebrand of a half-@$$ed game! You want DSiWare to thrive? Well, put some brain in your work instead of kicking back and taking a few days to re-develop it for the service. 'Nuff said.

(Phew, that's enough rant out of me...)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#5

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Not really into handheld tennis; especially since the rise of the Wii. Used to have Sega Superstar Tennis on the ds and didn't like it (the wii version was more appealing to me; the gameplay i mean).

Cheeky re-branding Rafa Nadal Tennis there eh.

Namo

#7

Namo said:

I'd like to see a Tennis game as barebones and fun as NES Tennis.

...with WIFi.

cheapogamer4life

#9

cheapogamer4life said:

Looks like the 3rd Dsiware release for Virtual Toys wasnt a charm for them. This game has a few quirks here and there, but the overall tennis experience is here. With o.k. graphics and smooth gameplay here I would recommend this tile for any fan of the sport. I agree with the review that without any type of multiplayer options does bring this game down alot, but If your a fan of tennis and solo campaigns I think you will really enjoy this game. :)

Kyloctopus

#10

Kyloctopus said:

I bought the game and thought it was good. And if the reviewer knew that ths was a port it could have been a star higher

I thought this game was good and as if someone in my family would buy a tennis dsiware much less dsiware.

But a flaw not mentioned is that the places are copied the one in Rome is the same one in Ottawa.

Also, another thing not mentioned is your trophy gallery. There are 2 ways to get trophies.
1 Win the tournies
2 Win the missions mentioned when by you taping on the tourny location. (F.E. Win a game/set/match without the opponet getting a point. Or serve a ball that is 150 KM an hour) it is repeaditive but on the other hand you win raquets and shirts and shorts.

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