Everyone who owned a Nintendo Wii was greeted with its flagship title, Wii Sports. It was a fun and simple collection of games meant to appeal to the casual demographic of gamers the Wii was targeting. Games today (especially on consoles) are appealing more and more to the hardcore gamers, most likely due to the rise in cheap smart device games, which is where much of the casual market migrated to over the past five years. With so many sports games appealing to the hardcore gamers of today, it’s nice to see a title like Instant Tennis come along and offer something more casual. BreakFirst Games specializes in motion control games, so the Nintendo Switch seems like a perfect place for this one.
As mentioned above, this game aims to appeal to the casual demographic of gamers, and thus the gameplay reflects that heavily. It’s as simple as swinging your Joy-Con controller to hit the ball back at your opponent. While the gameplay is simple the game does offer a few control options for those who prefer more traditional button inputs. While the motion controls work well for how the game is designed, the button controls can take some getting used to. Since your character moves on their own, you use the joystick to control the direction of where you hit the ball. So it’ll take a few tries before you get used to not moving your character around with the joystick.
The game was built with motion control gameplay in mind, and they really nailed it here. While simple, the motion controls are very responsive with this title. That being said, sacrifices had to be made to some of the gameplay. Calling back to Wii Sports Tennis, the characters in Instant Tennis don’t move as fluidly as they did in that title. Here they’re just not as fast or responsive, which really can become irritating to the player when the character on screen doesn’t seem to putting forth its all to get to the ball. Sometimes extra gameplay hurdles like stamina meters get in the way of having fun, and that’s unfortunately the case here.
While aiming for the casual demographic of gamers is never bad, the game does take it a bit far, yet not far enough. Before most of the games matches, it has to remind you what the controls are. This would be helpful if the game had some more complex controls, but with how simple they are, there’s really no need to start every match that way. Also while the game likes to handhold its players, it doesn’t go far enough with the training mode. The training mode is almost as short as the pop-ups reminding you what the controls are before each match. There aren’t any extensive tips or gameplay allowing for practice shots at targets or anything cool like that. One doesn’t realize the extra mile Nintendo goes into its games until little touches like this are missing from games like this one.
Despite the lack of variety in the training mode, the game does have a surprising amount of content for how simple it’s aiming to be. There are over 9 courts and 19 characters to unlock in the game as you progress, with a few different game modes to play through. You have the normal 1 on 1 matches to play through, as well as a tournament mode. Though sadly there are no doubles matches in this game, which means you’ll always be playing competitively, which is an unfortunate thing indeed. So, yes, there’s a bit more variety here in the courses and characters, but equally there’s less to do. This could change with the promise of future updates, but since we don’t know for sure what that entails, we can’t know for certain if they’ll be any better than what’s already included in the base game.
While the game has adequate gameplay and a decent amount of content, the biggest let down is its lack of charm. Wii Sports had smooth and fun gameplay, memorable music, and unique character customization via its Mii character creator. Instant Tennis has none of that, and again goes to show that little flourishes can really spell the difference between a good game and just an alright one. Granted, it is hard to compete with Nintendo – a company that’s been making excellent games for well over 30 years. It’s just a bit of a letdown that this game is so generic and fails to create the feeling of anything approaching special. However, Wii Sports is not available on the Switch, so if you’re itching for a motion controlled, no-frills affordable tennis game this one could be for you! Everyone else is probably better off with Mario Tennis Aces.
Instant Tennis Review
- Graphics - 5/105/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Instant Tennis strives to appeal to the casual demographic of gamers, and in some ways succeeds. The controls are simple and the amount of content is surprising for a title like this. Though the stiff gameplay and overall lackluster quality of life stop it from being rated higher. But if you have an itch for that Wii Sports Tennis feel, then you may want to give this a try.