Stickman Tennis is far from ambitious, and keeping it simple is not such a bad thing for such a cut-and-dry sport. Except for the silhouetted players on the court, nothing really grabs your attention as anything special, but this title isn't about all the fancy trimmings. Keeping it simple was the right move. And for gamers who love watching or even playing tennis, the real draw to this game is the action.
Hitting the ball is Stickman Tennis' greatest asset. Whether it's a lob, volley, straight up ground stroke, or a slice, this game has it covered, as three buttons on the right-hand side gives options on how to strike. The icing on the cake is the virtual joystick on the left, which you can use to point to which section of the court you're targeting for your backhand or forehand. When hitting the ball, you will be alerted if it's a good stroke or if it was hit too early or late. A tutorial is also available to help practice your strokes, so players who are a bit performance shy can hit with a tennis machine for practice.
Players have the option of starting up a quick game or joining a tour. Since Stickman Tennis isn't exactly the most challenging sports game on the block, starting off at the medium level should make things at least somewhat interesting. What is not advisable is to try the manual running feature, which is absolutely this title's Achilles heel. Using the joystick to run back and forth while attempting to perfect your stroke is absolutely impossible and frustrating. Plus, the running reaction time really doesn't mesh well with the joystick, so sticking to automatic running and using the joystick to instead control your strokes is truly the only way to go.
Another bright spot for the title is the audio, which accurately depicts the sounds of a tournament tennis match. Part of the fun of watching the sport is to hear the linesman call a fault, hear the cheers of the crowd, and even the determined grunts of the players. Stickman Tennis captures the auditory feel of tennis, and for that it should be commended. It's also a plus to have 64 different tournaments available, and since I may never visit Sao Paulo, at least its clay courts will be visited by my iPhone.
Although there is a leaderboard for Game Center, the non-existent achievements for Stickman Tennis is a downer. Why players can't earn points winning their first tournament or serving up aces is beyond my understanding.
Although there's a lack of Game Center achievements and a horrendous misstep with the manual running feature, Stickman Tennis won me over with its straightforward game play. It's the perfect title to play for a few minutes while you're either waiting for something to start or just need a moment to unwind. Simplicity is key, especially if the ball's in your court.
App Store Link: Stickman Tennis for iPhone | By Djinnworks| Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 42.6 MB | Rating 4+