Good tennis games are hard to come by these days. Most popular game franchises such as Grand Slam Tennis from EA Sports, Virtua Tennis from Sega, and Top Spin from 2K Inc. have not been updated in years. Big Ant’s AO Tennis once again marks the return of big game developers to the tennis genre.
The game will be available on Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 for console gamers, and on Android and iOS for mobile gamers. The console version is not yet available in India, but the mobile variant is downloadable from Google Play Store and App Store.
AO Tennis is free to download and does not imply any in-game purchase at any time.
Developed in collaboration with Tennis Australia, the governing body of the Australian Open, the game uses the real names of players participating in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
AO Tennis works offline, takes only 134MB of space to install, and doesn’t require a high-end smartphone to function properly. It starts with a tutorial session designed to familiarize users with the controls from the start. Gameplay is limited to the Australian Open and players participating in it this year. So there are no ATP, WTA or other Grand Slam tournaments to play.
In terms of visuals and graphics, it’s a far cry from Sega’s Virtua Tennis Challenge, which offers more camera angles, replays, and more realistic players. Controls are limited to swipe gestures. While they’re smooth and easy to remember, the lack of alternate control such as a virtual gamepad feels a bit restrictive. There is a slight lag between the sweeping gesture and when the player actually hits the ball. That makes it a bit confusing at first.
The gameplay is difficult and the opponents are inflexible resulting in long matches. We can keep matches short by reducing the number of sets and games at the start of the tournament. Overall, AO Tennis lacks the visual flair of Virtua Tennis Challenge, but is much more difficult to play.
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