Saturday, December 15

Review: Instant Tennis [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s no doubt that Wii Sports was a game changer in bringing in a completely different type of gamer through its accessibility. Both far younger and older gamers were able to latch onto the motion controls while the core experience was generally good enough that even more veteran gamers could have some fun with it as well. While bowling was probably, by far, the most successful game tennis seemed to come in conclusively in second place. Surprisingly, even with as much success as the game had and the fact that the Switch could support its motion control scheme there hasn’t been any successor yet.

Instant Tennis, though playing a bit differently, appears to be aiming for that same sort of appeal. Unlike Mario Tennis Aces which throws a lot of different elements at you and plays more in line with what more veteran gamers would like it appears to have both younger and older gamers in mind, trying to deliver something that the entire family from top to bottom could enjoy together. While that means it’s not brimming with challenge or even a whole lot of variety it does manage to be accessible and provides multiple ways to play.

Probably the most unusual thing about the game is that you don’t control your player on the court, movement is pretty well automatic and that leaves you to focus simply on where you’re trying to place the ball. Motion controls take a little getting used to but are mostly intuitive with you somewhat turning your wrist to position the target on the court from left to right and then swinging when the ball is close by to hit it. With mixed or plain button controls most of this is the same but you’ll have much more clear control over whether you’re hitting it a bit short of long. If you keep changing up your placement your opponent will slowly begin to tire out and you can outlast them but at least against other humans people getting their aim fouled up and hitting the ball out will usually make things come to a stop.

You’re able to play solo against the CPU but while it may be good practice it isn’t terribly interesting. Against some other people you can opt for 1 on 1 or even load things up for a tournament for up to 8 people to battle it out for who’s the best. While I probably wouldn’t recommend the game for more serious gamers that’s also clearly not the intended audience. With its motion controls and narrow focus the same traits that make it a poor match for the typical gaming enthusiast also make it approachable for people who are less gaming inclined. Keeping that in mind it lacks depth but it also fills a niche that’s not well served currently on the Switch.

Score: 6

  • Approachable with either motion, buttons, or a combination of both so just about anyone can likely play the game
  • Removing the control of player movement to focus only on shot placement is a reasonably good idea to make it play differently
  • Support for a tournament of up to 8 people

  • Not really intended for experienced gamers at all
  • Understand that there’s ultimately not a lot to the gameplay
  • The motion controls do work but the style of play takes some getting used to