Publisher: BreakFirst Games
Release Date: 6 December 2018
Price: $8.99 / £7.90
Reviewed by Ryan Black
Instant Tennis is a simplified tennis game seeking to take you back to the Wii Sports days. While not a free-for-all swing-fest like Wii Sports was, it serves up quick-time action matches in which you can compete against AI, or square off a friend by breaking off a Joy-Con. It’s a party game at it’s core, and while it doesn’t capture the wonder we all had when the Wii first dropped, there’s enough here to make it worth considering adding to your party-game playlist.
Whether you’re playing solo or against the computer, Instant Tennis offers a variety of control options including motion, button, or a hybrid of the two. Button configuration allows for pro controller and single Joy-Con options, while any motion configuration sees you use a single Joy-Con per player, with a choice between left and right handed so all players get a natural feeling swing.
As in Wii Sports, your character runs around the course automatically, with your unleashing a shot with a swing of your controller. It augments the Wii Sports setup somewhat by adding a stamina bar that depletes as your player darts around the court. It’s an interesting mechanic and works well, forcing you to mix up your shot selection in order to deplete your opponents stamina. As the bar drops, they’re less likely to successfully chase down a cross-court smash, and it makes for some satisfying passages of play.
By and large the controls are tight, and I was surprised to see the variety in control options. Character positioning can be a little frustrating at times, making it difficult to judge whether a forehand or backhand is what the game is expecting you to execute. Choose the wrong one and you’ll not swing at all, making for some irritating dropped points.
Style It Out
There are a potential of 19 lumpy yet fashionably dressed avatars to unlock, and I enjoyed playing through the game to finish the roster. Nine courts of varying colours add even more variety to proceedings, while locked character’s silhouettes tease fun accessories too.
The game’s levelling system does start to feel a little grindy and repetitive at times, but each match rewards you with more experience and playing with friends helps to pass the grind time quickly to reach level 30. The only truly lackluster feature is its music. Initially catchy, it soon tires into loops, and the sound during matches has more atmospheric bird sounds than music to it.
Instant Tennis is perfectly at home on Switch. If you tire of playing in handheld, grabbing a friend to compete against each other in tabletop mode extends the gameplay considerably - as does playing with the family at home on the TV. This is a party game at its core, so don’t expect anything too much in way of depth, but there’s plenty of options available in terms of courts and characters to offer a good time if you’ve got people round for a gaming evening.
Pros & Cons
+ Leveling system to unlock content
+ Versatility in controls
+ Simple timed mechanics
- Lack of game modes
- Repetitive music