01nst-coverAh, the glory, the money, the fame, your face on the billboards, your name all over the news… you’re a star: the number one tennis player on Planet Earth, with the entire world at his feet. You love the feeling, you always did, you always wanted to become the number one player. A reporter asks you how difficult was it for you to get to the top of the ladder, to become the new tennis star. And you begin your story… the same story of New Star Tennis!

Created by New Star Games, the one-man-show indie development studio owned by Simon Read and the same company behind the great New Star Soccer series, New Star Tennis takes the same concept from the soccer game and inserts it into the wonderful world of tennis.

In other worlds, it puts you in the shoes of a wannabe tennis superstar who’s aged 15, has no money and barely any tennis skills. But you have a dream – that of becoming the number one tennis player in the world and competing against the grands! Will you be able to do it? It’s all up to you.

02-nst-gameplayFirst, and most important, you’ll have to train really hard. Training in New Star Tennis is made via skill-based mini-games, divided into five categories (serve, forehand, backhand, volley and spin). Basically, you have to take that shot over and over again until you do it right – each successful training session gives you half a star and each category has 10 stars to master, so you can imagine that there’s a long road ahead of you.

Especially since you’ll have to buy stuff in order to improve your stamina and speed, you’ll need to be always happy and well rested. While resting is easily done via a resting option, happiness comes from a few other minigames: a racing minigame (and pretty well done, too), as well as others. I personally went for the darts minigame as my only happiness provider since it’s the quickest and easiest to master.

And only after you train well and get at least a few stars for each attribute, you can try to compete against the New Star Tennis AI players. It will be an almost impossible job – winning, that is – but it’s worth trying and practicing even more and eventually getting it right. It’s like in real life – you can’t expect to see any 15 years-old get on that court and beat Rafael Nadal… oops! I mean Nidal!

03-nst-gameplayHowever, even though realism is the main focus of New Star Tennis, it’s also the one and only frustrating thing: in order to be competitive, you need to practice over and over again the same and same mini-games. This tends to become very boring, even though I’m sure that tennis players practice the same shot for weeks… but it’s entertainment we’re talking about and not a complete, boring simulation of everything in the world of tennis.

Add to that the fact that the controls are rather strange – you control both your character and the place where the ball goes using the same keys – and you’ll get yourself a few headaches to start with. But once you get used to the controls (and it won’t be an easy job!) you will be able to enjoy every game or practice and, even more, you’re going to feel the complete thrill of winning matches and beating your opponents.

The sound and visuals of New Star Tennis follow the same route of top indie games – they’re not memorable, or eye candies, but they’re not things to disgust you either… I can say that things could’ve looked and sounded a bit better, but things also could’ve been a lot worse!

New Star Tennis is a challenge and is probably a game that tennis fans would love more than gamers looking for entertainment. It is a very difficult game to master, but this shouldn’t be always considered a Con… too easy games will turn us into stupid monkeys, like those in the Hollywood flick Idiocracy, and we don’t want that to happen. Therefore, we can only be happy that a challenging – yet fun and really well done – game like New Star Tennis is out there, waiting for us to purchase it. So at least try the demo and see how the game feels!

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