21st Jun2021

‘Instant Sports Tennis’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

A few years ago Nintendo released a little console called the Wii; a console that didn’t really appeal to “gamers” and one that seemingly was destined to the scrap heap… But then something happened. Your mum had a play and loved the motion controls, then invited your dad to play and he loved it too! Then the Wii exploded with “casual gaming” at its forefront – appealing to those people who’d never consider learning complex traditional video game control systems but who were happy to pick up a Wiimote and swing it around willy-nilly. Why do I mention this? Well one of the biggest hits of the Wii era was Wii Sports. A game that sold over 82 million copies by the end of 2017, bearing the distinction (at the time) of being the best-selling Nintendo video game of all time… And Just For Games’ Instant Sports franchise looks to recapture the spirit of Wii Sports on Nintendo’s newest console – the Nintendo Switch.

However things have changed since 2017 and casual gamers have moved onto mobile gaming and all that entails, so how will Just For Games’ latest title, Instant Sports Tennis fare? Actually quite well based on my experience!

Not to be confused with the similarly title Instant Tennis, Just For Games’ Instant Sport Tennis is the latest in the com panies “Instant Sports” series and is essentially a Wii-esque tennis game – and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way – with better graphics and a similar, and more importantly FUN, pick-up-and-play game style.

The controls are continue the simplstic pick-up-and-play style – you can use the joycon’s motion controls to play or a more traditional button/stick system. With the motion controls you use a downward motion to hit the ball rather than a traditional tennis swing found on Wii tennis titles; and you control the direction the ball goes by twisting the joycon. It’s not the most responsive motion control in a game (honestly the Wii did it better) but what is good in this mode is that your character automatically moves towards the ball – making it ideal for younger players. For a more traditional control system you move the analog stick to move your character around the court, the right button to hit the ball and the up/top button to lob the ball. Easy!

There’s not much more to the game to be honest. It really is a case of if you’ve played one tennis game you’ve played them all… Now I ‘ve seen people complain that its far too hard to get your shots to go where you want them to be, that it’s far too easy to hit your ball out of bounds but I never had an issue with that; probably due to the fact I’ve had years of experience playing various different tennis games, especially of the arcade variety, and Instant Sports Tennis felt totally familiar and so I was totally comfortable with the controls and playability.

The only issue I did come across was the difficulty. Whilst there’s a lot of fun to be had playing with friends etc., Instant Sports Tennis does had a single-player “campaign” which is a lot of fun. For the most part. Unfortunately I found myself getting frustrated mid-way through the dsingle player mode as the skill level of my opponents seemed to jump exponentially, with characters moving around the court faster and more precisely than I could. Now whether that could be solved by playing the game with motion controls (and the game taking over character movement) I don’t know, but I was not willing to give up the precision of the traditional controls to find out. Instead I fought my way through as best I could until I kind of gave up.

Yes, the solo campaign is a bit of a letdown, but that doesn’t stop Instant Sports Tennis from being a whole lot of fun (and there’s a lot more to the game too, it also includes 10 mini games: Tornado, Arkanoid, Gravity, Bombo, Maths, Target and more) – especially if you have friends and/or family to play with. If you’re pining for the days of getting together and having fun playing sports titles, a la the Wii-era, then this is definitely one for you!

**½  2.5/5

Instant Sports Tennis is available on the Nintendo Swith now.


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