Hot Shots Tennis Review
Before Hot Shots Tennis, the Hot Shots series has focused exclusively on golf. The golf games have been known for their cartoon style and easy-to-learn gameplay and now that style has been applied to the sport of tennis. Does Hot Shots work as a tennis game? Not entirely as something was lost in the move from the links to the clay.
Hot Shots Tennis applies its simple approach to the game of tennis to its menus and game modes as well. When you first sit down with the game, the first thing that you notice is that there are only three game modes. Challenge mode has you taking on a series of computer opponents in which you must win your match to unlock the next opponent. Multiplayer mode lets you play single or doubles matches on the same console. Finally, practice mode sets you up with a ball machine and lets you work on your timing. It would have been nice to see some additional content here, like a tournament or bracket mode, because this title is a bit thin on substance.
The matches themselves play well enough. When you've positioned yourself to hit the ball you select one of four shot types by pressing the corresponding face button and use the stick to specify the shot placement. The position of the left stick when you hit the ball corresponds to the area of your opponent's court you're aiming for and it's pretty intuitive to push the stick up and to the right when you're aiming to stick the ball in the corner of the court. The game provides feedback on the quality of your shots through little thought balloons that appear over your character's head. A rabbit or turtle let you know that you swung early or late while a musical note signifies a well-timed shot. The shot timing doesn't seem to matter all that much unless you're way off; success is more of a factor of getting to the ball in time. Due to the ease of control, rallies tend to last for a number of shots until you or your opponent is finally able to land a shot that the other simply can not get to in time. This ease of play makes the game well-suited for younger players, but the combination of long games and easy play put older or better gamers at a strong risk of growing bored quickly.
As you make your way through the challenge mode you'll unlock new courts, players, and outfits for play. There's no way to improve a character's stats through equipment bonuses or experience, so you'll always use the last character that you unlocked and leave the others behind. The new outfits are primarily new color schemes for existing outfits and they come as entire ensembles without any possibility of customization. Lastly you only really get to see the court itself while playing, so one court will seem pretty much like the other to you. In short, the unlockables don't really add anything to the game.
Hot Shots Tennis is not really a bad game. Its simple brand of tennis is implemented well enough that it will certainly appeal to some people. The primary problem is that the Hot Shots model just doesn't work as well with tennis as it does with golf. There's a lot more variety of play in golf; every course is a new experience and no two rounds play out the same way. On the other hand, each tennis match will seem to be pretty much the same as the last because of the simplicity. You may as well go out and hit tennis balls against your garage door instead.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 68%.Hot Shots Tennis is a lot like Hot Shots Golf, except not nearly as much fun.