The Virtua Tennis series has long been regarded as one of the best tennis franchises on consoles, and it has finally made its way to iOS devices. Tennis is a pretty complicated game, so making it work well on a touch screen is certainly going to be a challenge.
A tennis game will live and die by its control scheme. If the controls are inaccurate or inconsistent, the game is going to be rendered unplayable. Virtua Tennis Challenge controls work pretty well most of the time. They choose a good control system, but it still has a couple of problems.
Hitting the ball is accomplished by swiping the screen in the direction you want it to travel. You can also make different gestures to take different kinds of shots. For example, to execute a drop shot, you swipe forward and then back a little. The gestures are logical if you think about the path the ball with travel with that shot choice.
This actually works quite well, but the problems arise during movement. You move by tapping a location on the screen, which is fine. The problem is that you also move by swiping the screen. This led to a number of occasions where I wanted to take a shot, and would end up charging the net and missing completely.
All in all, this is one of the better controlling tennis games on iOS, but it still has some flaws and is certainly not perfect.
As you can probably guess, in Virtua Tennis, you play tennis. There are a few modes to choose from. You can play the SPT World Tour, which is a pretty barebones career mode. It’s fun to progress through, but it doesn’t have a ton of features. In addition, you can play Bluetooth and Wi-Fi multiplayer, exhibition games and training.
Actually playing tennis is quite fun. I enjoyed the back and forth battles, and when the controls weren’t pissing me off, I rather enjoyed the game. The action is fast and furious, and feels great.
One thing to keep in mind is that tennis games take a while, so this is not necessarily a quick pick up and play kind of thing. Most of the time you are going to be committing some time to playing, so be prepared for that going in.
This game looks fantastic. I was genuinely blown away when I first booted it up. Sega really optimized it to look awesome and run smooth as can be. I never had any frame rate issues, which is key because there is not a lot of margin for error in a face-paced tennis match.
The sound is also really good. The music is not necessarily anything to write home about, but it’s not annoying either. That being said, the sound effects are awesome. They sound authentic and really add to the experience.
I would like to see them remove the swipe to move option, as it seemed like more of an annoyance. I would also love to have seen some of the bigger named players in the game. I’m not a huge tennis fan, but there was no one in the game that I have actually heard of.
The cost of admission is a little on high side, especially if you are not a fan of tennis. I think $2.99 is a much better price for what the game offers.
All in all, Virtua Tennis Challenge is a solid tennis experience. It has a couple of annoying control issues, but they do not completely ruin the experience. For hardcore and casual tennis fans, this game is most definitely worth the cost of admission. 7/10