As the name suggests, Fantasy Tennis
is another screen adaption of the world-famous ball sport, but this time designed for multiple players around the world connecting over the Internet, and with all the bells and whistles added that can make RPG's and social networks so addictive.
Basically, the core tennis gameplay takes place in differently-themed colorful courts which are shown in the typical TV perspective, and where the player's avatar always uses the lower half of the court to allow for better vision and gameplay. Technically, the game engine simulates service hits, drive and slice, lob and smash, and volleys, where every hit but the service, naturally, can be played as either fore- or backhand. The serving player can place his avatar everywhere on the allowed half of the base line and choose the direction and speed of the service by pressing left or right short or longer (direction), and by hitting the right spot at a fast moving power bar (power). When hitting the sweet spot the player's avatar will perform a smash service that will leave the returner unconscious for a short amount of time. The same goes for every performed smash: When the opposition fires a lob at the player, a target marker will appear where the lob is supposed to hit the court. This marker must be chased down in short time to enable the smash. If a player anticipates the opponent's balls well, he can power up all his strokes by pressing the respective button longer than usual, thus firing a so-called charged shot over the net. On the other hand if a player is late in reaching a ball, his avatar will, if not too far away, perform an automatic save dive to return the ball. This will leave him vulnerable for a tiny, but often deadly bit of time, though. Last but not least, magic animals can be called to perform so-called skill shots that can be played as a very dangerous offensive shot, or to reach previously unreachable defensive shots. These super moves require special rackets to be bought or earned, and a certain amount of normal shots to be played beforehand.
So much for the basics, the game features three different modes to choose from: First is the "Basic Mode" that resembles the traditional tennis rules and can be played as a singles or doubles match, with best of three ("Short Match") or best of five games ("Tie Match") available. Second is the "Battle Mode" where the player is supposed to drain as much hit points from his opponent as possible. This can be done by winning the rally or collecting and executing magical spells that come in different flavors. There is offensive magic such as the classic fireball, defensive spells like shield, or supportive like a healing vial. If the ball leaves play the service isn't performed by the players themselves, but a supernatural creature known as the Guardian who will bring the ball back in at changing sides without actually interrupting gameplay, a feature which gives this mode an arcade feeling. Both the Basic Mode and the Battle Mode can also be played with the support of so-called "Battlemons" which are fantasy animals that can be made friends with and trained. These animals basically replace a missing player then. As of this writing the third and last game mode of Fantasy Tennis
is called "Guardian Battle" and is the only cooperative gameplay mode besides two players joining for doubles play. Here, four players will use the same half of the court to engage a strong monster in a "Battle Mode" game using the rules outlined above.
All these gameplay features are glued together by a colorful anime-like game world that offers several places to go to. There's the very necessary tutorial stage, a place for single players where one's abilities can be trained against various computer-controlled opponents in different unlockable levels, a place for tournaments, the multi-play arrangement, or your house (see below), and others. Upon arrival, the player creates a male or female character that can be dressed in many imaginable and unimaginable ways and equipped with a myriad of different rackets and other goodies. These characters own RPG-like abilities like hit points, strength, dexterity, that can be raised by collecting experience points throughout the tennis matches, or by fulfilling quests and achievements, or buying or earning special clothing. The players can even buy new character models that are generally stronger or better looking than the starting characters. Furthermore, from the beginning every player owns a small house with garden that can be furnished and upgraded, too, and where friends can be invited to for a chat. All this, together with the ability to make friends with other players, send "parcels" with items around, buy or sell stuff, gives the game a strong feel of a social network.
- "Fanta Tennis" -- Asian releases
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This entry to the MobyGames database was contributed by MZ per X (2940)
on Oct 22, 2009.