It’s time for another classic NES game. The original Tennis title is one that likely resonated with a lot of people back in the day. It’s a popular sport after all so getting to play it virtually is a pretty cool concept. Unfortunately what ended up holding it back quite a bit here is the fact that the controls aren’t great. It feels like there is always the chance you are just going to hit the ball out of bounds even if it was a clean hit. This just felt pretty fishy to me. Nintendo made the same mistake with their latest Mario Tennis game. Ideally it should be more like Virtua Tennis. The ball only goes out when you know that you hit it the wrong way.
As with most classic NES sport games really the only option here is to jump into a game and test your skills. I played a full best of 5 set with 6 games a piece so it was pretty long. I think one game took around a full 30 minutes which was pretty intense. I managed to get around 6 games I believe, but ultimately I was pretty badly outmatched. The opponent just kept winning point after point while my balls would just end up falling out of bounds pretty quickly. It was at that point that I knew this would be tough to mount a comeback in.
The idea of Tennis is to hit the ball past the opponent. The ball does have to touch the ground though. If you just hit it straight then that’s out of bounds. Each point you win gives you 15 points and every 60 wins you a game. After 6 games you win a set and after 3 sets you win a match. It can still be pretty short if you dominate your opponent but that’s easier said than done. You’ll start to get the hang of when to swing for the ball as the game goes on but it can still be tricky. If you hit the ball a little too hard it’ll end up going out of bounds. It may also depend a bit on where you’re pointing the control stick although I can’t say I’m certain of that point. All I know is that sometimes the ball just doesn’t get the right bounce for me.
Whenever the ball goes out of bounds it just doesn’t feel quite right. It’s fine to lose points because you made a mistake, but it feels like RNG at times. It’s almost like no matter what the ball is going to go out of bounds. Perhaps someone who has played the game more would understand why it is doing that, but to me it just feels like I’m losing out on points for no real reason. Then when I lose it’s less satisfying and more like I gotta give the game the side glance. The graphics aren’t bad. They’ve got that classic NES sprite look that is always nostalgic so I’ll give the game some props there. The ref also looks like Mario so it’s always nice to see that guy participating in all of the sports.
Overall, Tennis was a pretty fun game until it went on. There was a good amount of back and forth for the points and it was all pretty intense. The problem is when the ball would suddenly go out and it would wreck all of the momentum. Now you’re just thinking that the CPU is pulling some strings. If you really like Tennis then you should still check this game out because it is free as long as you have the Switch Online. That’s a pretty big incentive. That said, this is one of the weaker sport titles in the NES online. You would do better with playing almost any of the others that you could find here.