Game Reviews

Super Badminton 2010

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Super Badminton 2010

I've been living a lie.

Quite disturbingly for this proud Brit, I must for ever more refer to Pune, India - rather than England - as the birthplace of badminton.

That latter misconception is shattered on one of the loading screens in Super Badminton 2010, which was developed by Indian studio Rolocule, which itself hails from the hometown of this popular indoor racquet sport.

Badminton sims aren't exactly two a penny on iPhone (or anywhere else for that matter), so only a healthy degree of speculation, innovation, and ambition would result in an ace.

Unfortunately, Super Badminton 2010 possesses neither the finesse, nor the variation to propel its shuttlecock over the net to ultimate victory.

The necessary ingredients

Superficially speaking, all of the elements for an enjoyable game of badders are in place: up-to-date rulebook, eight uniquely gifted players, five difficulty levels, and five different surfaces.

Dig deeper, however, and some weaknesses emerge out on court. While tilting your handset sets the direction of a volley mid-swing, the player's movements are governed by the D-pad. Alas, only patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time could be any more awkward.

Once a rally is in its full throes, three types of forehand and backhand shot are available via the on-screen buttons: smash, high / clear, and low / drop.

Each stroke's trajectory is dependent on the timing of your swing, meaning that high returns taken early become overhead drives, while playing late generates a lift.

Smash and grab

Smashes and drop shots are naturally best deployed at the baseline and net respectively, though a soft stroke from mid-court can be lethal for a wrong-footed or exposed opponent.

Not that this all matters in some respects, since, try as I might, I couldn't force the feather projectile long. Ever.

Safe in the knowledge that a deep-lofted shot even from under my own net wouldn't land beyond the back boundary line, some of the tension and challenge is removed from the battle.

In common with badminton's racqueting cousins tennis and squash, deception and patient manoeuvring are the keys to success here. Forcing your rival into uncomfortable positions whence he cannot recover fully should leave him vulnerable to a smash or a subtle sliced drop.

In disguise

Without a power gauge, though, you can't pull off a disguised winning shot easily, resulting all too often in a limited and monotonous back-and-forth exchange.

Should you wish to demonstrate your honed shuttle skills and fill up your Trophy Cabinet, the game's Tournament mode offers three Cup competitions of rising difficulty to be unlocked linearly. Matches are the best of three sets and first to 21 points (so long as the front runner is clear by two).

Sadly, Super Badminton 2010 offers no multiplayer, either for head-to-head singles combat or co-op doubles fare, which could have transformed this title from functional to fun.

Maybe next year.

Super Badminton 2010

Super Badminton 2010 is a well-presented first stab at a badminton title on iPhone, but the game suffers from a lack of variation, modes, and nuance