Easygoing App: Virtua Tennis Challenge
The usual summer lull in gaming means only one thing – tennis video games. In the case of Virtua Tennis for the iPad, there’s still an irresistible lure.
Forget the Top Spin series, forget Wii Sports’ version of the game and don’t even mention Super Mario holding a racket – gaming’s best tennis series has to be Virtua Tennis.
A hit in the arcades that then became an utterly essential Dreamcast title, no one has quite walked the line between game and simulation as well as SEGA has done in the past.
A recent release to the iPad store, Virtua Tennis Challenge is a stripped-down but surprisingly generous package from SEGA and one of the finer example of how notoriously unmanageable touch-screen controls can work in sports titles.
Surprisingly enough, Virtua Tennis' controls make a fine transition to the iPad, demanding players to select the power of the shots and player position. If you still them a bit of bother, however, you can select a trio of virtual controllers instead.
The aforementioned Dreamcast release is probably the closest comparison one can make to Virtua Tennis Challenge, as it has nearly identical graphics and depth - though we would have liked to see the official player likenesses return.
In play, however, the game is just as effortless and flowing as you remember, with plenty of time to be spent in a world tour, singles and doubles exhibition modes.
So while the game is missing a couple of our favourite features from games past - the likenesses and wacky training modes - what we have here is a close appromixation of nearly every reason for why you fell in love with Virtua Tennis in the first place.