Virtua Tennis Challenge Review
- Controls cater to a broad audience; simple, intuitive swipe controls to advanced arcade and console virtual controls.
- Arcade quality visuals; pairs realism with just enough 'game' aesthetics to not be overwhelming.
- No licensing; awkward announcer - 'Game Player One', etc.
- Muliplayer difficult to play at this time.
- Minimum requirements misleading.
- Poor multitasking/state saving; poorly designed for mobile users though autosaves do occur.
Virtua Tennis Challenge doesn't reach a golden set standard, but despite heavy requirements it's still the Arcade title we've come to know and love.
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Unlike so many who fondly remember Virtua Tennis from its heyday on the Dreamcast, I recall many a shiny dollar being pumped in to the machine at the local Arcade (or if I was lucky, a bunch of free plays during a lock-in night). Combining both the complexity of athletic Tennis and the simplicity of Arcade controls, it was a smash hit. Now on the iOS it has a chance to ensnare even more people, but as you'd expect it's not an entirely smooth ride.
Despite the minimum fourth-gen iDevice requirement, the experience is currently less than optimal and for some it borders on unplayable. For those playing on an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or 3, you're in luck as the game runs smooth as silk (barring the occasional hiccup on longer matches).
It's hard to say whether the slick 3D engine being used is to blame, but the original Arcade atmosphere is replicated almost flawlessly - not quite ultra-realistic, but not cartoonish enough to be off-putting; it's a beautiful mix of aesthetics.
Controlling your player is also a snap, though those after something more than a quick and casual fix will want to switch to the virtual controls. The default swipe gestures take very little time to learn and in fact training can be skipped altogether if you so wish, but for those hoping to replicate those magical dashes and smash hits the virtual console and arcade controls will be your best friend.
There is a noticeable amount of content missing for those used to the console version, notably a Career mode, but the World Tour and Singles/Doubles Exhibition matches, as well as a Point Challenge mode manage to showcase the basic strengths of Virtua Tennis.
Unfortunately multiplayer is also less than optimal at this time, with issues ranging from lag to poor matching, making it more of a blow than anything else at this time.
Virtua Tennis Challenge is nowhere near an Ace serve, but if you have the latest iDevices available to you it will give you a run for your money.