Look up the box art. Yeah, I can sympathize with the tennis players on this one.
Let's not beat around the bush here. Tennis World Tour released earlier this month on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and got a really underwhelming reception. Now we could only hope that developer Breakpoint would address the game's most pressing issues for the Nintendo Switch version. The fact of the matter is they didn't. Not even close. Tennis World Tour has landed on the hybrid system, and that is the best thing I can honestly say. The sports game is flatout a boring affair that reeks of missed opportunities and thrown away potential.
To kick things off, let us discuss the important factor in all of this: the gameplay. The best tennis games offer a base that is easy to master, but rewarding if you can take full advantage of all the mechanics. The problem with Tennis World Tour is that the learning curve is harsh right from the get go. You will be required to hold action buttons, sometimes without instant feedback from the game. This makes the flow of it incredibly sluggish to the point of boredom. What doesn't help is that you need to hold the buttons for power, and you get no indication of this while serving the ball. These opening moments don't make for a great first impression.
Once you get a rally going, you can see what the developers are going for. The hard hitting tennis strikes between the two players feels very real and every action will cut it close. Even in those moments, the gameplay isn't without faulty design choices. There are moments where your input isn't immediately accepted by the game, without any good reason for it. In addition, the game sometimes forgets how to handle advanced shots. Your player might move longer than you might anticipate, causing you to miss shots on a regular basis. The moments it works the various strategies you can apply are awesome, but it stings to see good rallies end before their peaking moment. At the very least, the AI of your computer opponents is quite good.
When it comes to modes, the game is a shallow product. Outside of a tutorial, you can opt to play one-on-one versus matches or head into the Career Mode. I spent most of my time here, considering the limited potential of the multiplayer. In the Career Mode, you will make your own character and swing your way to the top. You are mostly playing Exhibition and Tournament matches to increase your rank and earn money and experience. This will allow your created star to reach new heights and make them the best player they can be. The money can be spent on gear, outfits, trainers and boosts in performance. Now and again, you are presented with training sections. These basically come to down hitting spots on the other sides of the field. Career Mode isn't anything special, but a decent enough time sink I reckon.
When it comes to multiplayer though, this game is rather thin. In local play, you can only play one-on-one. Tennis World Tour doesn't offer doubles or various ways to experience the game. It is basic tennis matches in which you need a number of sets and games to win. While the amount of stadiums is impressive (17 in total), the roster really raises some eyebrows. There are plenty of notable names missing, particularly when it comes to the embarrassing six women available. Each character has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, which in my book, never played a major stake in achieving a victory. Even more shameful is that the game has an online play button in the main menu, but left it greyed out. It really left me with nothing to hold on to for long.
Tennis World Tour looks fine on Nintendo Switch. Nothing stands out as remarkable, but it all decently presented. The character models in particular look like their real-life counterparts, which is worth praising. The load times are simply way too long, and it took a while for any action to start. Considering the downgrade on Nintendo Switch, I would've hoped for somewhat of a faster performance. On the other hand, they did retain the glitchy nature of the gameplay on other consoles, so who knows really. The promised commentary John McEnroe can barely be heard in the majority of the product. Even at that, you aren't missing much. He simply repeats the same set of lines over and over until the end of time.
Tennis World Tour is an underwhelming product in more ways than one. While it promises a professional tennis game, the way Breakpoint went about it isn't making me happy. There isn't really a star cast of tennis players, the gameplay has some extremely weak elements and the overall feeling is one a lack of care. The developers didn't care enough to prep some variables or offer something greater than the basics. That is honestly the biggest crime Tennis World Tour has committed, but even at that, this game needs a whole lot of work.