May 27 2012
Originally released in 1999 Sega’s Virtua Tennis series of games have found success over the years. It’s blend of highly detailed graphics, fluid animation and TV style presentation proved to be a hit with gamers.
Whilst not as realistic as some of its competitors it’s arcade friendly gameplay and quick learning curve meant that it provided unparalleled accessibility to both tennis and sports fans, and now the game has arrived on the iPhone.
The first thing that hits you about the game is the incredible visuals, the graphics on the small screen look as good as on a console, and it remains smooth on the iPhone 4s in singles matches, although looking through the App Store reviews older models may struggle, and on the 4s in doubles matches you do occasionally see a little slow down. Hopefully this will get resolved in future updates as the games looks incredible.
Virtua Tennis had managed to keep its accessibility in translation to the touch screen iPhone, several virtual joypad options are included but the new touch control scheme works best of all. Tapping the screen causes your player to run to the point you tapped whilst swiping the screen will make your player hit the ball in that direction. It takes a little getting used to but very quickly you’ll pick up how to pull off a variety of shots.
There are several game modes to choose from, if you fancy a quick game then you can play an exhibition match where you play either a singles or double match against a CPU opponent, but the main meat to the game is in SPT World Tour mode.
In the World Tour mode you have a choice of 3 tournaments per real world day, each tournament has an entry fee and a prize fund, the more cash you have in the bank the bigger tournaments you can enter.
There is also an Internet multiplayer mode where an appropriate opponent is chosen for you for an online match. Online play works well although you’ll need to get used a tiny bit of added lag in the game.
Virtua Tennis is a big name and a big game, and if you have the device to run it then it’s a fantastic arcade experience in the palm of your hand. I only hope that future updates include optimisations for lower end iOS devices.