Game Reviews

Cross Court Tennis

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Cross Court Tennis

Tennis is a dignified summer pastime that sees proper upstanding sorts getting together over a glass of Pimm's to thwack yellow balls at one another and talk about all the jolly funny things they've seen the servants doing over the past week.

It's also a sweaty, fist-pumping sport for determined men and women who scream to the sky when things go wrong and hide their anger and excessive banana consumption under a towel at the change of ends.

For some reason, video games are never made about the gentile side of the sport, and Cross Court Tennis is no exception. There are no plump, red-faced chaps here - only lithe 3D athletes with a taste for victory.

Virtually tennis

Taking its cues from the Virtua Tennis series, Cross Court Tennis puts you in control of a tennis upstart. You have to mould him into a champion, shearing off the rough edges with training and competition.

The game is controlled with a series of finger swipes. A straight swipe is a powerful flat shot, a curved one adds topspin, and a swipe backwards performs a slice. Two fingers slid up the screen translates to a cheeky lob.

It's a system that works well most of the time, and makes for an easy and enjoyable game. You'll soon be making your opponent scamper across the court, cackling from the baseline about your superior tennis abilities.

Quit that racquet

Training takes the form of mini-games. If you want to up your speed, you need to run to a number of points on the court in a set amount of time. If it's power you're after, you have to knock down some bowling pins before the counter reaches zero.

These are all ideas borrowed from console tennis games, but they translate well to the palm of your hand, and add to the air of comfortable familiarity that permeates almost every aspect of Cross Court Tennis.

For those with shorter attention spans, there's a Quick Play mode which drops you straight into the action without having to worry about training or competitions. The game remembers precisely where you are in your career, though, so you can drop mid-game if needs be, and come back to it later.

You cannot be serious

It's not all strawberries and cream and “Come on Timmy!” though.

There are two control methods on offer, and while the default method, which runs your player around automatically, works fine, it does feel like a lot of the game is being played for you. Switch to the tap-to-run method, though, and the game gets clumsy and far less enjoyable.

There's not that much content on offer, either. There's no multiplayer, no character customisation, no female players, and nothing to unlock as you work your way through the tennis ranks.

Cross Court Tennis is an enjoyable and easy game to play. It's just a shame that it lacks any meat on its well-proportioned bones. With a few additions it could be essential, but right now it's more of a knockabout in the back garden than a grand slam.

Cross Court Tennis

A decent sports game that's easy to pick up and play, Cross Court Tennis lacks the killer instinct it needs to step up into the big arenas
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.