148Apps Network Post
Developer: Sega
Price:4.99 
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★ 
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½ 
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½ 
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆
Overall Rating: ★★★★½ 

Ah, summer. The blissful, golden warmth of sun, the briny-sweet taste of salt and coconut, the dry-hot sting of air, and the luscious, gritty sand between my toes. While the beach holds its appeal to me and always will, the advent of summer also signifies lazy days on the couch napping as the TV hums with intermittent thwocks of tennis balls, schreeches of white sneakers, and the dull roar of an audience’s staccato cheers.

Virtua Tennis Challenge by SEGA does all of this for the virtual player–and more. The game is simple and clean, easy to navigate, and there is no steep learning curve like a game of actual tennis. Virtua Tennis Challenge combines sophisticated graphics that precisely and accurately place the virtual player in the center of the action.

Choose from a clay, grass, of hardcourt. Observe ads courtside while you hand-bump your doubles partner after a winning set. Listen for the familiar European announcer to keep score as you swipe your finger, or double swipe you finger, across your iPhone screen to make solid contact with the virtual neon ball.

Choose to play as and against professional tennis players while you review their stat profile. Virtua Tennis Challenge offers various options, yet the choices are not overwhelming. Compete with other virtual players in Bluetooth or online via Wi-Fi mode. A tutorial offers straightforward assistance to maximize your potential as a virtual player, and, this too, is concise, time-limited, and easy to follow.

My first round of play has me at the center of Wimbledon. The grass court is perfectly gridded. I easily serve, return, and backhand the ball while I face my computerized opponent. I can practically taste juicy strawberries and thick cream on my tongue.

The newest generation of virtual games generally offers this sort of experience. Video games are more like theatrical experiences, rather than simple, mindless devices of distraction. For an iPhone game app, Virtua Tennis Challenge offers a similar richness. It doesn’t spare fun or action, but it is more of an experience than a temporary timesuck to while away the hedonistic hours of summer.

Entranced in the elaborate nuances of Serena Williams’ wardrobe and tirelessly marveling at Maria Sharipova’s intense rigor given her taste for dangling jewelry, I succumb to covetous ways. Tennis is a glamorous and refined sport, and Virtua Tennis Challenge serves up a VIP pass to all of the action.


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