Review: Tennis Champs Returns

Sports video games seem to be in a problematic position. Even though they have benefited from hardware and software advancement over the decades, they still seem to be plagued by issues. Even though sports games can now make use of accurate simulations of their real-life counterparts, it seems like it’s very hard to think of a new approach due to their many button inputs and moves. You might even think that iOS games are more limited than consoles and computers, but as you’ll see in this article, this is not the case.

 

Tennis Champs Returns

 

We will be looking at a game named Tennis Champs Returns, which is a remake of a 20-year-old simplistic tennis game. This actually seems to be a very reasonable decision, since iOS can support this kind of remakes while adding an exciting twist of a modern layer of gameplay. On top of that, retro games are very popular these days, so no wonder why developers are trying to monetize on this trend.

 

Visuals & Controls

 

Tennis Champs Returns looks simple on the outside, but this is a very complex game. Do not be fooled by the screenshots in this article, since you’ll mistake this game for a retro tennis game where you move your player left and right, trying to return the ball. Actually, the biggest innovation that this game brings is its control system.

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Tennis Champs Returns makes ingenious use of just a control stick and two virtual buttons to produce a large number of different moves and actions. The virtual stick controls your player’s movement and shot direction. There are two buttons, one for a normal shot, and one for a power shot. You can press these buttons like you normally would, but you also can swipe across them in any direction. For example, swipe up or down and you can pull off the more advanced shots like slices and drops.

As you can see, both of these buttons have dual roles by being able to be pressed and released for one type of hit, or pressed and swiped in some direction for the more advanced shots. On top of that, there is also a meter above the buttons that starts filling from the both sides when you press either button. The goal of this is to let go in the exact moment when two bars meet in the middle, for the most effective hit. This can be very tricky but adds another interesting layer to the controls. Either way, the control system is what sets this game apart from the rest of typical sports games.

There’s also another interesting thing. You can use the virtual stick to move the player around, but when you’re ready to return a ball, pressing a shot button will cause your player to run towards where the ball is. This makes controlling the player easier, but it doesn’t simplify the game in any way.

What I think is the main problem with similar games is how they get boring very fast once you figure out and master their special moves. This is why the core control system changes up a bit throughout the game, forcing you to make an effort toward adapting to these changes. For example, your opponent will sometimes hit a hard shot towards you, and this is when you will see a small circle that indicates where the ball is going to drop. As you can see, things can get very chaotic at times you’ll have to keep your eye on several things at once, but the game never gets tiring.

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Since there’s a large number of different combinations for advanced moves, my suggestion is to go through a series of tutorials. You can always return to the tutorials for a brush-up. They start out easy, but quickly ramp up with each new one that you beat, just like in the Career mode. My advice is to pay close attention to the info boxes that come and go automatically because you can miss an important piece of information. This is why you’ll want to replay the tutorials a couple of times at least.

 

Gameplay

 

When it comes to the Career mode, this is where you create a player and select matches from an event calendar. You get up to 3 events to enter, which are usually different in difficulty.

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There are also Daily Challenges as well, which offer unique matches that come with rewards. The good news is that you play previous Daily Challenges in case you missed a few, which is good for practice, but you won’t get any coins this way. The rewards can be spent on upgrading your player’s skills, choose a different outfit and buy in-game coins. These can be spent to purchase power-ups that are limited in time.

 

Pricing

 

Tennis Champs Return is a free game, but does contain ads and comes with coin requirements for tournaments and such. However, for only $0.99, you can remove the coin requirements, remove ads, and get a few more perks. There’s also a $1.99 starter pack which gives you a nice boost in the early goings. This seems like a fair way to charge the players that are already enjoying the game after they tried it for some time.

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The good news is that you can enjoy the game even without spending any money, but you’ll probably need more time to earn some special perks. Either way, I always recommend giving a few dollars to a developer if you find a game fun and addictive.

 

Conclusion

 

Tennis Champs Returns is a surprising game that is filled with hours of addictive entertainment. The best thing is that you’ll feel like you’re playing tennis, which is an amazing achievement for an iOS game. This is a sports game that was built around real skill and finely optimized mechanics. It is easy to see that a lot of effort was put into this game, which simply shines through.