Tennis On-Court Review
Certain sports perfectly lend themselves to VR. Walkabout Mini Golf, C-Smash VRS and Creed: Rise to Glory are just a handful of the incredible titles that allow you to immerse yourself in a virtual world to hone in on the activity at hand. Tennis On-Court looks to join the ranks of its fellow competitors but will this approach to the sport serve up an ace or a fault?
The atmosphere of the US Open or Wimbledon is palpable. The thrill of the match and the buzz in the air are all aspects that make the sport a favorite around the world. In Tennis On-Court, this is noticeably absent. While the game manages to capture the size of the play area in VR, the aura is missing which detracts from the immersion. There’s an unnerving silence that amplifies an unnatural sound when striking the ball. Due to this, it can feel a little lonely when in a match.
Hard to Get in the Swing of It
Although you can select arcade or realistic gameplay options, Tennis On-Court is thoroughly a simulator. The one-to-one control of the racket means that you need to strike the ball accurately to ensure it reaches your target. While I understand Fishing Cactus’ aim to capture the nuances that imbue the sport, its unrelenting focus compromises the gameplay. Without hardly a button press, the controls are intuitive. This means that you can strike the ball however you wish. If you alter the position of your racket, the ball will react. The issue is the inconsistency, maybe I was at fault, but the ball rarely reached its intended destination. The training mode will support you to get to grips with the mechanics as you will need to hit the ball to key points on the court. While this is adequate, it’s just basic. Other games in the genre make their training into mini-games with barrels to hit and pins to knock over, however, this doesn’t innovate with the mode.
There’s a nice variety of options to traverse the court which makes this accessible. You can automatically teleport to prime locations or move freely to where you wish. This allows you to develop and steadily improve your skills. I like that the automatic feature allows you to simply work on your swing technique whereas the free movement means you have to read your opponent’s shot. The physics works well as the ball’s trajectory alters depending on the surface. Due to this, you’ll need to know how to react to clay, grass and hard courts. You can add assists to support with this so you only need to focus on your swing, but even that is pretty tough.
In terms of content, there’s not a huge amount on offer. You can play against the AI at different difficulty levels and take part in the training mode. In addition to this, you can also go online, but unfortunately, this is almost unplayable in its current state. When you do eventually find a match, there seems to be a lag with returns which makes it hard to decipher the intended destination of the shot. With the lack of offline content, it’s imperative for the game to ensure that its online component is strong. While Fishing Cactus may add content and improve stability, at the moment, this hinders the entire experience.
In terms of bugs, I did encounter a few. The odd time everything paused during a rally and would only restart when I hit a floating tennis ball and at times points went to the wrong person! Also, at the beginning of every match, you do a coin toss to see who serves and receives. At this point, everything goes deadly quiet which makes these sections feel unfinished.
Dropped the Shot
You can create your own avatar and select a suitable racket for your playstyle. The options here are quite limited which means that each avatar seems to lack character. This adds to the flat presentation that features throughout the experience.
Tennis On-Court is full of missed opportunities. This is the first game in the sport to hit the PSVR 2 and due to this, interest around the game was at a high. However, Fishing Cactus failed to capitalize on the excitement due to a number of issues. There is potential with the mechanics but the focus on creating a simulator makes the moment-to-moment gameplay feel inconsistent and the lack of modes means you’ll quickly tire of the experience.
***A PSVR 2 key was provided by the publisher***
- One-to-One Controls
- Nice Scale of Courts
- Options For Movement
- Frustrating Mechanics
- Not Enough Content
- Online Issues