Stickman Tennis Review

Stickman Tennis Review

Aug 18, 2015

Stickmen? Tennis? Nah, I don’t mind giving Stickman Tennis a shot. We are talking about a tennis sim with stickman, right?

The gameplay utilizes a tennis court — of course — with a lengthwise view, much like one would watch a real tennis match on TV. The stickman populate the whole thing, from the players to the personnel to the spectators; the graphics are subdued, and the sound feels familiar.

The game incorporates a bunch of virtual buttons — three for specific shots: lobs, slices, and strokes with topspin. In the training module, one learns that timing is of essence, and the power of a shot can be affected by how long one “holds” the button down. To the left, there is a directional joystick that the player can use to control the direction of the shot.

For the movement of the player, one can toggle the game to control the movement, or one can selct “Pro” and control the player movement him/herself.

The rest of the training module is hands on training; one gets to return balls and otherwise get acquainted with the entire control mechanism. This is especially useful in understanding how to do what.

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With regards to gameplay, there are several options which help one customize the playing experience, such as the amount and length of sets and the difficulty of opponents, in addition to the aforementioned running style. Then, one can choose to do a quick match, or do a more career-defining “Tour” track.

The latter involves taking part in several tournaments in different cities, and (hopefully) doing well enough to move on and unlock ones further down the line. The tourneys have different status levels and expertise requirements, and they will be familiar to tennis fans, ranging from Winston-Salem to Wimbledon… and then some.

The action involves stickmen, obviously, and the animations work well. The game does progress well, and the difficulty levels allow one to experience a lot of gaming.

It is a simple game, a worthy of a look, and maybe much more, if one so chooses.

Motion Tennis Cast Review

Motion Tennis Cast Review

Apr 2, 2015

What the original Wii did for console gaming is something that is oft discussed, and with good reason. The motion-sensing aspect was fantastic in that helped create gamers out of people who were not, well, prototypical gamers. It helped make console gaming more of a family event.

I should know; still have one.

What the Wii also did, for me at least, was it somewhat changed how I look to play some games. For example, with regards to shooting games, I expect to have a shooting peripheral. Golf games were best played with a “stick” that incorporated the Wii controller. Tennis? Never better than with a racquet accessory.

Motion Tennis Cast brings some of that Wii-type experience direct to Android devices, simply by living up to the sum total of the components of its name: it brings together device motion and the Chromecast dongle to frame a tennis simulation.

The game links to one’s Chromecast (or other casting options), and then allows the player to play a casted tennis game while using the phone as a simulated racquet.

Interesting.

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There is a quick tutorial, a couple different modes, surfaces and virtual opponents of differing abilities. The gameplay itself is simple to understand, with different shots and traditional tennis scoring. Swinging one’s device simulates hitting the ball. The engine is fairly forgiving, and with a little practice, one can replicate unique moves fairly easily. There is also multiplayer options online for limited swathes of time (wasn’t able to connect to this).

A few things that do come up as potential issues is the phone as a controller. Great in theory, but if one ever wonders why Nintendo made such a big deal of wrist-straps, this game will probably help folks to understand. It’s easy to get into the game, and I did feel a bit uneasy using the control phone without a some sort of restraint. Along those lines, it feels a bit easier to play on smaller-sized smartphones versus, say, larger phablets, depending on hand size obviously.

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Then, the game itself looks like it could use some polish with regards to the visuals and responsiveness. The animations are more than recognizable, but are a bit rote-like in places, and the control mechanism can be a bit unpredictable now and then. And, goodness, if a game ever was made for more multiplayer options (beyond Time Attack Online), this is it; if there is a way for the developer to add these, I am not too proud to beg. I especially like the incorporation of multiple casting options.

Still, if only on premise alone, Motion Tennis Cast is pretty nifty. It’s a cool game that is enjoyable to try and easy to get into. It’s one of the more interesting ones we have seen in some time.

Tiny Tennis Review

Tiny Tennis Review

Jun 10, 2014

Tennis games are a fairly rare sight on Android. Is Tiny Tennis worth making a racket about?

Screenshot_2014-06-02-10-10-58Tiny Tennis features rather one trick gameplay. The player takes the role of a cute pixel tennis player who must survive a rain of both tennis balls and water bottles in a bid to set the highest score possible. Besides points from returning the ball hits increment a multiplier that doubles or triples points scored and so on. Various medals can also be earned during gameplay.

Doing so is rather difficult however. Some rather imprecise controls and a frantic pace make even returning the ball a tough job in Tiny Tennis. Even after a bit of practice, the slightest mistake will end the game and it never really feels like the player is fully in control. Super difficult games can be good, after all Flappy Bird took the world by storm, but Tiny Tennis just doesn’t have enough variation or personality to be interesting.

Indeed water bottle avoidance is the only wrinkle thrown into this rather shallow avoidance game. The only scoring is balls hit and the player never wins the game or encounters other opponents. Evolving gameplay is important for endless games like this to remain compelling and Tiny Tennis fails in this regard.

Screenshot_2014-06-02-10-29-20At least the game looks nice enough. The cute pixel feel of the game will likely be very familiar to mobile gamers who enjoy Nimblebit games. The sound effects get the job done and there is a small amount of inoffensive music. There are certainly worse looking mobile games.

Unfortunately, any fun that could have been gleaned from Tiny Tennis is all but thrown out the window by the abundance of ads in the game. After every game, a full screen advert pops up that must be dismissed.

Another problem with Tiny Tennis is that the replay value is extremely limited. Since the gameplay doesn’t really change from one game to another and learning to play the game is made annoying by the adverts there is just little reason to play Tiny Tennis for very long.

Tiny Tennis is decent as a timewaster, but its longevity is a problem. Its adverts and limited gameplay make it a game best avoided.


Flick Tennis Review

Flick Tennis Review

Jul 3, 2013

Flick Tennis — from Rolocule Games — is a completely atypical simulation that thinks outside the box with regards to gameplay.

It chronicles developmental amateur career tennis (college, in this case) and has an excellent graphical comic as an enjoyable cloak to tell its story

Where Flick Tennis excels is creating a relatively easy tennis simulation that has enough oomph to make it truly enjoyable.

It has a decent tutorial, which is something I like in games of this type. The tutorial consists of a diagram with four tours of shots, and that is followed by an interactive version that explains the mechanism of serving and flicker1returning shots. Using mostly gestures, it is possible to control direction and to create exchanges that looked fairly realistic. Unlike a lot of great sims out there, this game has something really cool: visual players.

The graphics are well defined and built to please. Looking at the dirt court for example, practically invokes the smell of matching surface. The animations are very well done, with the mannerisms of actual tennis players making it that much more life-like. The different shots reflected realism, and the player movements looked good; I enjoyed the subtle things, like the serve sequences and how the players tap the soles of their shoes with their racket in-between points.

In the base 1v1 matchups, one gets to select a player and court and play with an abbreviated and well done perspective, with my player in the foreground. The aforementioned gestures are easy to understand, and after a few mishits, I was doing quite equitably. Scoring matches conventional tennis scoring.

The game comes in several other modes as well… multiplayer was fun. It allows two players to play local games from a top-down view. After the perspective of the 1v1 games, it takes some getting used to, but it made sense. In career mode (Story), the comics come into play, with some interesting storylines and nice artwork.

Many players and courts need to be unlocked; which is cool; if one character and/or location does attract the attention too early, it/they can be unlocked via in-app purchase.

Once again, it’s a fantastic game with fantastic elements that will be hard to put down by anyone with even a basic love of tennis.

Tennis in the Face Review

Tennis in the Face Review

May 1, 2013

Tennis in the Face is a morality tale about tennis, energy drinks and the curiously-named Pete Pagassi.

In my quest to free society from the debilitating addiction to Explodz that destroyed my promising career as a tennis pro, I used my racquet to defeat hordes of platformed folks with different attributes.

The action was leveled and fast paced; Pagassi was armed with a racquet and balls, had to take out different types of opponents by making use of ricochets to get into tight spaces and to avoid deadening obstacles. To put the ball in play, I simply used a finger to draw a path in a straight line to where I wanted it to head to. Basically, I wanted to take out the caffeinated drones out with point-garnering strikes to the body, with extra bounties paid for head shots. tennis2

At first, dispatching the enemy was quite easy at first; the early levels consisted of clowns spaced out. Basic planning usually one the day, and I was able to get a maximum of knockouts with a minimum of shots. As the game progressed, the difficulty factor increased; different villains brought different restrictions. For example, one set of characters wielded swords and shields, and could only be knocked out when struck from behind. There were some interesting power-ups that added to the fun factor as well

It had the zany type of artwork that appeals to me, the type that is cool without taking itself to seriously. The animations worked with the characterizations, and the slow-motion sequences helped add humor to the gameplay. the platformed visuals were different, and even though I though some glitz could have worked, I still liked the overall look of the game.

It was another one of those games that surprised me. I liked the familiar Angry Birds-like feel of the levels and scoring, but really loved that it still felt creative. And where else can you play with a cat called Pagassi?

Virtua Tennis Challenge Review

Virtua Tennis Challenge Review

Apr 30, 2012

The Dreamcast (may it rest in peace) had some brilliant games, and the majority of the classics have found loving homes on modern consoles, from Power Stone on the PSP to Crazy Taxi on Xbox Live Arcade. Virtua Tennis has had more success than either of these though, and has kept tennis enthusiasts happy for years on PC, Xbox, Playstation, Wii, Gameboy, even the N-Gage and now: Android.

Better still, this version – Virtua Tennis Challenge – is optimized for Xperia Play, meaning that the gameplay that once cost $50 on console can now be bought for a fraction of the price, without needing to sacrifice ‘real’ controls in the process, to the distinctly mixed bag of touch screen tactility.

This means that the player is controlled with the d-pad, and different shots are performed with the face buttons, allowing players to lob, smash and backhand their way from game to game pretty seamlessly. The only slight letdown here is that SEGA have decided not to let players use the touchpad for movement, meaning that the tennis stars move in more stilted ways than a true analogue input should allow.

As with most Xperia Play games, the touch screen controls are still present, and pushing closed the control pad element instantly changes it to the vanilla Android version. The truth is though, for Xperia Play owners, there’s absolutely no reason to do this other than misplaced curiosity. While the swiping and dragging along the touchscreen can mostly be mastered with a little practice (and forgiving a few missteps when the game gets confused), it’s absolutely no game, set and match for the d-pad and face buttons.

It’s this control system that makes this a true part of the Virtua Tennis series, a game that has been the go-to arcade tennis game for over a decade. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the best presented Android sports titles around. While the graphics are colorful, sharp and detailed, it’s the animation that’s the real winner here, with players celebrating winning moments, and tossing their racquet in frustration when things don’t go to plan.

Players of the Dreamcast original would have struggled to contain their excitement seeing such a polished version playing out on the small screen, without any sacrifices to the gameplay. It plays impressively well, with players having to judge the tempo of the match, and draw out their opponents on the harder levels by picking the correct shot.

The AI can be set to three difficulty levels, which can be worked through through either in straightforward exhibition matches or the simple but addictive career mode which sees players working their way up the world rankings by entering tournaments and earning sponsorship money. Once World Number One, or bored of the AI, there’s also bluetooth multiplayer with other local Android players, but sadly no online play as yet.

It’s not as fully featured as its big brother, Virtua Tennis 4 on console, but for a fraction of the price Challenge is a no-brainer for Xperia Play owning tennis fans. Regular Android players will have to consider how much they feel they’ll miss out by having to make do with the imperfect touch screen, but this is one of those games that can make Xperia Players happy they took the plunge on Sony’s hybrid handset.