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Tennis Slam

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Anyone for (a very quick game of) tennis?

Product: Tennis Slam | Publisher: FinBlade | Developer: FinBlade | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Tennis Slam iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Wii has a lot to answer for. It's awesome, yes, and it got gamers up out of their chairs, but it's also stolen the imagination of so many developers. A tennis game, for instance, isn't a new idea at all (Sega has enjoyed considerable success with the Virtua Tennis series for a good number of years) but any new digital adaptation of the sport must now include some kind of dubious physical interaction.

In the case of Tennis Slam on the iPhone, it's only a quick flick of the wrist, but the similarities and inevitable comparisons to the bundled WiiSports tennis game are acutely obvious. This won't put a dampener on things if you don't have a Wii, of course, but if you're one of the millions of gamers who do, Tennis Slam will feel tragically weak.

The game borrows a little too heavily from the Nintendo console to be even slightly original, and that's a shame, as developer Finblade clearly has the ability to turn out a decent and effective iPhone application. But blinkered by a determination to mimic as closely as possible has apparently stopped Finblade from realising that without the large screen TV and the jumping around, even WiiSports tennis would be wafer thin.

The characters are small, bean-shaped chaps, which work very well considering the small screen size, and their simplicity undoubtedly frees up the iPhone's brain pan to concentrate on slick gameplay rather than unnecessary polygon rendering. The games, which can be single matches, best of three or best of five, are always played as doubles, with you taking control of both racqueteers.

A flick of your handset sends the ball into the air, and another (well-timed) flick serves it. Time it right and you launch a super serve at your opponent. Flicking the handset as the ball returns causes your players to swing away, and whichever is in better position will make contact. Should flicking the handset not be to your liking (or you're on the bus, and the atrocious state of the British roads is causing false serves), there's always the on-screen icon to tap instead.

The court itself is very much reduced in size compared to the proportions of the players, so in many respects this is probably closer to table tennis than the grass court type. And while these reduced tennis-style mechanics do work very well, there's regrettably little else to do or say with Tennis Slam. Not that a tennis game would necessarily promise much more than a game of doubles, but a little more meat in this swimming pool full of gravy would have been nice.

There's a nice sense of humour permeating Tennis Slam, though, and we're not just referring to the hilarious streaker who runs across the court clad only in a fig leaf. The quirky characters and chirpy animation smacks heavily of a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, and this lightheartedness helps a lot when it comes to finding something to like about such a small and limited game.

A few swishes, 'ooooo's and 'ahhhhh's would have been nice, too, but for some obscure reason Tennis Slam is completely mute.

All in all a very shallow and limited affair that handles the small amount of gameplay well, but leaves you wondering why you had to shell out a couple of quid for what would be a pretty limited demo - never mind a full game.
Tennis Slam
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 1 October 2008
An excellent rendition of caricatured tennis, but woefully small and limited
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