Tennis Champs Returns Review

It’s a bit funny to many of my friends that I am a tennis fan and watch most of the major Men’s and Women’s Tournaments year round being that I was in a thrash metal band in the late 80’s. But my Mother played Tennis and I was always intrigued by it. And you know what, it’s physically and mentally challenging! Here’s my review of Tennis Champs Returns from Uprising Games.


Let me make something very clear right from the start, Tennis Champs was originally an Amiga game from around 1995 that I played a lot. If you are looking for flashy polygonal characters and flaming tennis balls being volleyed at outrageous speeds, look elsewhere. This is a ‘remake’ of the original game created by Elton Bird and though it might not appeal to many younger players, it will resonate with hordes of older players who played the original or simply love great, addictive gameplay. It’s also very fortunate that the original creator, Elton Bird, has returned to develop this game.


The graphics are very reminiscent of, and perfectly recreated from and added to, the original and bring a very nostalgic feeling back to me from some of the great games from the mid 90’s. They’ve added a bit more eye candy onto the court and the dynamic camera is quite spectacular. The simple visual style is very appealing to me personally and should be to many other players also. It’s simple and pixelated art style paves the away for smooth animation and a great framerate.


The courts are varied and present a different challenge due to the compound of the tennis court. But technically, they are all very visually similar aside from court color and this should be expected. The crowds look great and cheer with quick animation throughout the match. The dynamic camera is a cool addition and creates a very 3D-esque experience.


All the characters from the original are here in all their pixelated glory and move smoothly and seamlessly about the tennis court along with a new, much needed and appreciated, women’s roster. The ball movement is also quick and fluid. While the game might give homage to it’s roots, it still looks and plays like a new game that is accessible to everyone. There’s a lot to like within this simple visual style portrayed in Tennis Champs Returns and even skeptical players who are looking for the newest eye-candy filled games should enjoy the colorful sprites and court detail Uprising Games has delivered.


There are numerous little details to be seen even though the game is not as flashy as some other games for the Apple TV. You can personalize the appearance of your character and it makes the player customization fun and satisfying.


The menu graphics are also done in the same simple style and are easy to navigate if a bit crude. The visual package has stood the test of time for sure and there is simply not much to complain about for the most part.


The sounds, though limited, are very nicely done and convey the sense of a true tennis match. There’s not a lot of in-game sound, but what is here is very complimentary to the superbly created graphics and engages you to feel some sort of vested interest in winning the match.


The ball bouncing off the racket, the judge letting you know what is happening in real time and the crowd cheering are all there, but for the most part it is what you would expect from a game like Tennis Champs Returns that is not trying to be the most ‘realistic’ tennis game with it’s visual style and sounds. It’s trying to be the most entertaining tennis game along with keeping with the classic games appeal.


Sounds are used sparingly and do not overpower the actual flow of gameplay in any way. Working in tandem with the fast and fluid movement of the gameplay, the audio is short and sweet.


Tennis Champs Returns conveys a sense of nostalgia that older players might remember from the original. It’s a fast paced, smoothly and deceptively accurate arcade-style game that can be played in small pieces or in large chunks and this is it’s definite strong point. Using an Mfi controller completes the classic game feel and after a while of playing the game you will only have yourself to blame when missing out on a volley or double-faulting a serve.


The game can be played by practically any type of player and will satisfy their gaming needs whether they are a pro player or a more casual, novice player. It might look like a simple game, but don’t let that fool you. You can learn to master the controls if you really take the time to do so and it will improve your game immensely. If you want to beat the highly skilled AI opponents, especially in career mode, you will need to practice quite a bit. There is also a precision advantage to be had by players who can put the ball exactly where they want it especially when serving.


There are 4 game modes incorporated into Tennis Champs Returns. Career mode is a welcomed addition to the game as it gives you a chance to create your own player and become a tennis champion.


Exhibition mode is the standard ‘create your own match’ mode. You can choose your player, opponent and court. Pay attention to the courts attributes as they will affect the the ball properties and some courts may suit your play style a bit better than others while you may have to practice a bit more on others.


Local multiplayer mode let’s four (4) players battle it out at the same time and is, for the most part, very addictive when the competition becomes fierce. This game is perfectly suited to this style of play.


Uprising Games has also included Daily Challenges into Tennis Champs Returns. After every match is completed, your calendar will include a green checkmark showing you completed the challenge and you will be rewarded. A nice distraction to say the least and helpful also.


Well, buy it!!!! That’s all there is to say. This game will appeal to not only tennis fans, but classic and new-wave gamers alike. It’s fast, fluid and well worth the price of admission. The game is phenomenal and has been remade with care and love from the original developer. How much more do you need to know? C’Mon! Cough up the money Scrooge as you won’t find a better tennis game on the Apple TV.


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