Game Reviews

Stickman Tennis

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| Stickman Tennis
Stickman Tennis
| Stickman Tennis

Illustrating something with a stickman implies either that you were in a rush or that you can't draw very well. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're deficient - but at the same time it's probably fair to say that if you had more time or drawing ability you'd have done a better job.

Or so you'd think. In the world of iOS games the stickman clearly represents quality and desirability. That's the only explanation for the fact that there are at least two developers devoted to making games featuring stickmen, and that Stickman Tennis comes a year after Stick Tennis, by which it's doomed to be overshadowed.

That would be a shame, because the two games are really quite different. Where Stick Tennis is fast and arcadey, Stickman Tennis - which looks considerably more amateurish - offers more in the way of gameplay options and depth.

You can play it as an arcade casual game by setting your little tennis man to run automatically, or you can play it as a tennis sim by taking control of the footwork too. You can choose to play in long matches or short ones. And, of course, you can choose how good your opponent is.

But you always have three types of shot at your disposal - lob, slice, and topspin - which you play at various degrees of power depending on how long you hold your finger on the screen. These give you a good degree of control over where the ball lands, and once you master the game you'll find that the gameplay is far more authentic than the graphics.


To get the most out of Stickman Tennis you need to play it with manual running enabled. There's a variety of types of court to play on, but they all have the same slightly oily surface, leaving you sliding around haplessly if you don't concentrate on your positioning.

An oily floor isn't necessarily authentic in the traditional sense, but the inertia that it imposes on you forces you to think about your footwork in quite a natural way.

Less natural is the collision detection, which seems to let you hit the ball back over the net if you happen to be in the same approximate region as it, as though your whole body is one big magnetic trampoline.

During rallies the game gives you feedback on every shot, telling you whether you hit the ball too soon, too late, or at the right time. Confusingly, it also tells the AI player. This can be vaguely annoying at first, but you soon get used to it, and the crude textual feedback fits well with the crude stickman aesthetics.

There are 64 tournaments to work your way through and Game Center leaderboards to climb, but these are half-heartedly implemented - each tournament consists of only three matches, and there's no way to see the fixtures (i.e. you just play against two fixed opponents).

The leaderboard, meanwhile, is just a list of players ranked by the number of points they've accrued, rather than by the best score they've got in an individual game, which is far more meaningful.

Stickman Tennis is a stickman game in name, presentation, and nature, in that there's evidence of sloppiness throughout. But where it really matters - on the court - it's got just about enough quality to justify a purchase. Even if you already own Stick Tennis.

Stickman Tennis

Stickman Tennis may look amateurish, but somewhere beneath its sketchy facade is a pretty decent game of tennis