Sunday, November 11

Review: Timber Tennis Versus [Nintendo Switch eShop]

OK, I understand the concept of budget games and that there can even be a market for titles with a simple appeal and mechanics to just blow off some steam with. The simplistic TimberMan Versus fell into that category pretty nicely, simply testing your reflexes as you try to go as quickly as possible while being accurate. In the case of applying that to a sports game, in this case tennis, though I think mistakes were made.

My biggest struggle with the game early on was trying to give it far more credit for complexity or nuance than it deserved. There’s nothing of any sort here. You’ll move digitally between 5 potential positions at the baseline on your side of the court. Simply standing where the ball is going is all you’ll need to do, there is no button press to hit the ball. You’ll see presents on the court periodically that you can pick up that will give you a small variety of power-ups that have various effects.

That’s really all there is. You’re incapable of putting spin on the ball, choosing how you hit it, running to the net… pretty much anything you were able to do in even NES tennis games. You’ll be able to play against the CPU which seems to mostly have only settings for drooling idiot or predictive bastard. Playing against a friend is an option, though with the simplistic play I’m not sure how long that can last. Online is even an option, including the ability to play against people on other platforms, but for the most part there hasn’t been anyone to play against and, again, there’s simply not much meat on these bones to savor.

What’s really weird is the depth of mobile roots this game has, with a wide variety of unlockable characters to play as or weird balls to use. I can’t imagine the majority of people out there would unlock even a fraction of what’s available before giving up on this title. Just a shred of nuance or control would have been appreciated, too many times I was able to hit my opponent with ice or something else to stop them only to then have my player hit the ball right to them. Simplicity can be good and even fun but I think it was a terrible choice here, at least at this extreme degree for a sport where I have a minimum set of expectations.

Score: 4

  • All sorts of wacky characters and balls to unlock
  • An impressive variety of pop culture references with characters and even custom courts

  • Considering Pong had analog controls and you could put spin on the dot even it was more complex than this
  • Devolves into simply who had what power-up when and could get lucky to have their player hit the ball away from their opponent rather than towards them sometimes