Game Records

Top Spin 4 Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS3 Trophies 10/41
Status: New Talent
Level 11
Coaches Unlocked 7
Record 17-3
Titles 5
Consecutive Wins 15
Consecutive Points 10
Points Won/Lost 94/32
88% of points won were on a winner
81% of winners were from the baseline

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Top Spin 4 Review


It’s definitely been a little while since I played my last Tennis games. I really love playing this sport in video game format due to it being one of the few ones where you can just play 1 v 1 in almost all the modes. Win or lose, it all comes down to your skill and there are no RNG factors to take into account. It’s a little weaker than Virtua Tennis, but by the end of my playthrough I did start to really get used to how this one works. The timing mechanics may not have been my thing, but at least they were implemented well unlike the latest Mario Tennis game. It was tempting to stick around and keep playing this title, but at least for now I’ve just got to put it down. One of these days I’ll certainly be back for it.

There are a bunch of modes to play here like King of the Hill, Exhibition, Training Academy, or the full career mode. I dabbled around in all of them in order to get some trophies but the bulk of your time will definitely be spent on the career. The training mode lets you play through around 26 levels which gives you a good understanding of the game. I highly recommend playing this one before you go into the other modes. Most of the time I skip the tutorials, but in general I feel like they are extremely handy for sport games. You want to have a deep understanding of the fundamentals if you are going to succeed. Once you have cleared them all you also get a shiny trophy.

King of the Hill is a good mode when you’re playing with friends. It’s effectively a mode where you try for 3 points and it keeps switching everyone out round robin style. Whoever gets a certain amount of wins first will end up being the king. Then there’s Exhibition mode where you can just play a lot of matches for fun with friends of the A.I. With that taken care of, lets take a look at the career. Career mode is very expansive as it takes you through a list of activities month by month. At first you won’t be a high enough rank to enter the big tournaments so you can enter the small ones or train your skills at charitable events. As you win tournaments or do these events your rank, level, and fanbase will increase. All of those are important for different things. You’ve also got criteria that you need to clear in order to hit the next status. For example “Win 3 tournaments” and you’ll go from beginner to novice.

I cleared 2-3 ranks before I eventually put the game down. It’s really fun because you can feel your character improving and the difficulty of the A.I. as you go through the game. If you win a tournament without being defeated you’ll typically move up 7 spots and you start out at around 100. So you’ll be #1 before long provided that you go undefeated. I would expect you will probably lose to someone before you reach the end, but if your fundamentals are good then maybe you’ll be okay. I lost in the semi’s during my first 3 tournaments, but then I aced my last 5.

You also get EXP which you can use to level up your stats and I highly recommend doing this. Increasing your level also allows you to hire new coaches which gives you little bonuses during matches as well as extra EXP. It’s never anything major, but little by little all of these bonuses begin to add up and before you know it you’ll be a true threat in the court. That’s your end goal and it’s definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the game and try to be the best.

It’s a bit late in the review, but lets look at the gameplay for this title. Naturally the rules follow the real game of tennis so the goal is to hit the ball past the other player. You move your player to where the ball is and you can return the shot through a variety of different methods. A drop shot which is a low ball, a lob shot, or just a power move up the middle. I always went with power shots as the A.I. is great at blocking the rest, but there’s a time and a place for each one of course. You can also use control strikes to hit the ball where you want it to go.

The main difference here compared to other tennis games is in the timing. Hitting the ball early or late will increase the chance of you hitting it out of bounds. It’s a mechanic that can be pretty annoying until you get the timing down. Sometimes you’ll hit the ball and you feel like you did a good job, but it’ll sail out of bounds anyway. This is mainly if the opponent hits the ball really hard which is why I always opt for that approach as well. I’d be cool with this mechanic not being around, but it doesn’t hurt too much.

My big gameplay tip is to always go for the advanced serve. It’s almost impossible for the computer to return it without being knocked off balance so you can easily win the point on the next shot. Beyond that, just stay close to the baseline and only rush up when you see a volley that needs to be slammed. The gameplay is just a lot of fun and it’s my second favorite sport next to Football for playing at least. I could play tennis matches for hours and hours.

Sadly getting the Platinum in this game will probably be impossible since there are a bunch of online trophies. I assume the servers are down, but if they’re up perhaps you could coordinate with other trophy seekers to get them all. Even so I did try to get as many trophies as possible. There’s a ton of replay value here since the actual gameplay is so much fun and of course you can just keep doing more and more matches forever and ever. The game never really needs to stop so it’s a great bargain since you won’t need to pay a whole lot to get this game.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this game out. At first the gameplay may seem a little too intricate but as you play the game you’ll get addicted. The best way to start the game out on the right foot is to play through the tutorial. It does a really good job of explaining the various mechanics so that they make sense and seem pretty fair. After doing that you’ll be able to cruise through the first part of the career mode without issue. It’s all just so much more enjoyable once you know what to do. As long as you like the game of tennis you’ll definitely love this game. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever tennis game I end up getting next.

Overall 8/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Tennis Review


It’s time to take a look at a SNES game that actually has not aged well. So far the games have been pretty solid with good gameplay and nice artwork. Unfortunately this game breaks the streak pretty decisively. This just isn’t a fun game and it’s probably the worst SNES game I’ve played.

When you jump into the game you are able to play quick battles with the computer or jump into circuit mode. There is also a multiplayer option you can try out here. There aren’t a lot of modes but you shouldn’t be expecting a whole lot anyway since this game did come out a while back. The modes aren’t an issue since the ones that we got are the key ones. The issue here is purely the gameplay and since that is arguably the most important aspect of a game it hurts quite a lot. It’s like the game is trying to be super precise with where you hit the ball and the technology just wasn’t there yet.

The goal of the game is to hit the ball into the opponents side of the court. If they are unable to hit the ball before if bounces back then you win the point. You just can’t hit the ball too far or you lose the point, too low, or too far to the side. That really limits your options but most tennis games do a pretty good job of letting you in control without hitting the ball out of bounds the whole time. In a way it’s ambitious of the game to not put any safety into the controls. If you hold right too hard then you will hit it out. In most games you have to try really hard to hit it out of bounds. It’s just that this makes it very difficult for you to actually play for any stretch of time. The only shot that seems to work is hitting the ball to the middle of the court and the computer always seems to hit those back anyway.

I did get a few points from when he would occasionally miss but it wasn’t very often at all. Typically the computer would just come back swinging and demolish me. You’ve also got to react quickly or try to predict the next play because you can’t run to the shot fast enough if you wait to see it. The computer will drop a quick ball near the front which falls almost immediately. The key is to just run on instinct but of course that ends up backfiring if he does a normal shot. The whole thing just feels futile at times, but I’m sure there is a trick. Games aren’t made to be unwinnable and people found ways to claim victory somehow. I just wasn’t able to figure out just how to do this.

In terms of graphics the game isn’t bad. It’s pretty much par for the course and while it won’t be making a case for best looking SNES game, there are definitely worse titles than this one. The game makes sure that you can see the tennis ball at all times and the court looks pretty reasonable. All in all I’d say that the graphics are the least of this game’s problems.

Even though this game is free I just don’t see you playing it for very long. After you play a few games they’ll all basically feel the same. The lack of variety isn’t surprising but with the gameplay at this level it becomes a bigger issue. You could just go and buy a newer tennis game for a dollar or two and that would go a long way.

Overall, Super Tennis definitely fell way below expectations. It’s hard to even call it a fun Tennis game because it just didn’t have good gameplay. Solid gameplay is a must for a title like this and you never feel like you’re n control. I wasn’t able to even take a single game out of all the sets I played against the CPU. That was definitely not my best moment. There is one more Super sport coming up in this collection so I’ll definitely be trying that one soon. I assume it’ll beat this one but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Overall 4/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Review


It’s time to look at one of the new Christmas games! I’ve always been a really huge fan of Mario Power Tennis for Gamecube and in many ways it was incredibly ahead of its time. The gameplay was exceptional and there was a good array of characters to choose from. There were many modes and the replay value was off the charts. Since then the series has struggled and unfortunately Ultra Tennis does nothing to escape from this. It ends up being a vastly inferior version of Power Tennis.

Right from the start you will realize that something is off as there is no Tournament Mode. You really only have 3 options here. Vs battles with the CPU, Mega Rally, and Online battles. There are some nuances here like Simple Tennis, Standard Tennis, Mega, etc. These are just different versions of the battles though. Gone are the minigames and such. You’ll just be playing a lot of Tennis so get ready.

This game really tries to get you to play around with the new Mega options. So much so in fact that this is the default Tennis game and is used in the survival mode rumble. Get ready for this to extend every match as it is hard to lose when you are big. The only real way to stop the computers is to also turn huge and at that point it’s just a lot of back and forth. I can tell you now that I am not a fan of this mechanic. It’s a very forced gimmick. I don’t mind having it as an option, but certainly not as the default. You just can’t get around it for most of the game.

The actual gameplay aside from that is unfortunately a step down from the last game as well. You now have a bunch of different shots that you can use based on the color of the circle next to the ball. I guess this is a way to let newer players know when the proper time is to use each one. The main problem with this is that it makes the game easier and makes those shots more effective. You’re now letting the game tell you what to do. Power Tennis had it perfect so why change the setup? Nintendo really went overboard with all of the extra gimmicks during this era. I would say that the new Mario Tennis for Switch could fix it, but I played a bit of that one and it seems like a step below Ultra so that’s worrisome.

Again, if you want to have fun you should go to the Simple Tennis mode. That one plays the most similar to Power Tennis and is just a far more rewarding experience. The matches are quicker without the turning huge part and it just feels a lot more natural. Still, if you like the new additions then you’ll be able to experience that everywhere else. Not for very long though as the game is quite short.

So I mentioned that there is no tournament mode so why are you playing anyway? Well, there are 25 achievements in the game. All of them are meant to grind the experience even further. You have to beat 15 opponents in a row with a bunch of different characters to get their Star form. You also have to play 10 games of each mode, get to 100 in the Rally mode, and make it to round 40 in survival. They’re mostly fairly easy or at least achievable with time, but you can tell that they just take a really long time to do. That’s easily well over 100 games if you want to do them all. Fortunately you can buy the achievements with money that you earn from the matches. It still takes a long time and I lost count of how many matches I completed, but buying them all is definitely the best way to go about it. I finished the game with 3 hours and 39 minutes of play time so it is considerably short. That is 100% of the single player content done. At that point all there is to do is online and local multiplayer. A good multiplayer game can last with just that, but this isn’t exactly Super Smash and there is virtually no reason to play it if you still have Power Tennis. As a result, I have to give this game the thumbs down there.

Still, to give it a bad score just because it isn’t as good as a previous installment just isn’t enough of a justification for me. If Power Tennis did not exist then this game would probably be more fun. I’ll acknowledge that the game could and should have been a lot better, but at its core it is a reasonable tennis game. The gameplay is still fairly entertaining and you’ll be able to play it for a few hours at least. The price isn’t that bad nowadays either. I recommend playing the Mega Ball rally a bit just because it’s at least a slightly different way to play here. It’s the only minigame that survived but what wrecks this one as well is the fact that you can lose if you beat your opponent. You have to keep the ball going back and forth so if you or the CPU loses then it’s all over.

Then there are the graphics which are quite good. The game still does look very modern. The colors are vibrant and the character designs are on point. That’s certainly what I like to see in a big Nintendo game. I’ll also give the soundtrack a thumbs up even if it isn’t the most original one out there. It sounds nice while you’re playing and that’s the important part. Even if the replay value isn’t high, the technicals are on point. It’ll be a fun game for a while even if the time is limited.

Overall, Mario Ultra Tennis is not the game changer that you would hope it could be, but it’s not a bad title. I do think the developers spent a reasonable amount of time with it. They just tried to be too inventive with the controls. It’s a Tennis game, they really don’t need to be doing anything too fancy with it. Just nail the fundamentals and the rest would come into place just fine. If you haven’t played the other Tennis games then this is a reasonable pick. If you still have a Gamecube/Wii though then I would recommend picking up Power Tennis instead. Trust me, I’ve put in over 100 hours on that game and it is legendary. You would not be disappointed in the slightest.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Tennis Open Review


It’s time to take a look at a Mario Tennis game that was pretty much overshadowed the instant it came out. That’s because it’s basically the same as playing the Gamecube game except with no cutscenes and less games. As a result, there is little reason to buy this game unless you desperately want to play it on the go. Nonetheless, it was only 10 dollars so I figured..why not? It was basically free thanks to a coupon and I’m glad I got it. The game doesn’t do anything unique, but it still has good tennis fundamentals.

There is no story mode of course and so the closest thing is the traditional Tournaments. There are 8 tournaments and each tournament has 3 rounds. Complete the first 4 to unlock the star version of the character you are playing. The battles never actually get too tough. One thing I noticed about the AI is that if you let them get to the ball then you are unlikely to win a rally against them. Fortunately they can’t seem to handle your serve on any level so you can easily score with your return. If you don’t then you will most likely have lost the point. That adds a little extra tension to the rounds I would say.

You can complete all of the tournaments in a little under 2 hours. To help with the replay value, you can do that with every character in order to get all of their Star Forms and some more items for the shop. Every time you win a match a random item is unlocked for purchase. The annoying thing is that the tournaments don’t get you any money though. To earn money you have to play the minigames. They are surprisingly difficult though so clearing all of them could take some time. This way at least you are earning money and accomplishing at the same time. That’s a plus right? Before talking about the minigames, I suppose I should mention that we also have Doubles tournaments. I was never the biggest fan of doubles and didn’t really go into that mode, but it’s sure to add more length to the game. As per always with sport games, the true replay value occurs if you have someone to play with. Otherwise you likely won’t end up sticking with the game for very long. I find it telling that the game is only 10 dollars when Nintendo games rarely go down in price until a very long time has passed.

There are 4 minigames. One has you relive some of the old 2D Mario levels as you try to keep a rally going while going through the level. It’s a fun concept, but a little too slow for my liking. The level goes by incredibly slowly so it’s more tedious than difficult. Ideally you want to have a good mix of both. It’s probably my least favorite minigame. Then we have Coin Mode. You have to shoot through the rings and gain as many coins as possible. This one is probably the most rigged as it will largely depend on your opponent. As a result I actually lost the Silver version of this game. It’s a decent concept, but I don’t care for the execution.

Time for the 2 best minigames. One is a Rally where you have to keep returning the ball without letting the computer touch it. This one’s actually pretty fun and it’ll definitely test your reaction times as the plants fire the ball at you. You won’t know which one is shooting until the very end. Finally, the best minigame is the rally one. You have to keep hitting a ball back and forth as parts of the stage vanish. This game is taken directly from the Gamecube one and so you can probably see why it is the best. It was just thought through very well and is the right blend of challenging and length. The time goes by slowly at first, but by the end you’ll barely notice. These minigames may not be much, but at least they give the game a little more content.

I haven’t talked much about the actual gameplay, but that’s mainly because there isn’t a lot to be said. It’s a very standard tennis game. You feel the power behind each hit and have different options on how to strike the ball. You fire off a high one, a low one, or a standard shot. You do seem to have special attacks, but I couldn’t figure out how to use them and didn’t even need them in the end so that’s why I didn’t try very hard. Perhaps I would have needed it against Ace level opponents at some point. The game has a dynamic camera view option, but I recommend turning it off. It’s distracting to suddenly have the game zoom in when you head to the net. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea, but it was probably the same person who doesn’t give the game the option to remember your choice. As such, you have to turn it off again after each match. It seemed really random though so at least you don’t have to worry about it happening after every match. Otherwise, I have no qualms with the actual gameplay, it’s what you would expect from a Tennis title.

The graphics look really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the effort went here although perhaps the character models were just grabbed from somewhere. As there aren’t any real cutscenes it probably wasn’t too hard to just focus on the models. Every character looks to be on point and the stages look sharp as well. The game delivers on this front. When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s fairly decent but forgettable as far as Mario games go. You likely won’t remember it all that well by the time you finish the game.

Overall, Mario Tennis Open is a good game. The Tennis gameplay is solid and that’s really what counts. There just isn’t any extra content to keep you busy. Your attention will only stay on this game for as long as you enjoy playing tennis. I suppose collecting all of the items could help if you’re really a serious collector, but there isn’t a whole lot of point to getting it all otherwise. If you see it in stores for a fair price then I recommend checking it out. I can’t imagine grabbing it at full price though. No matter how fun Tennis is, it just wouldn’t have been worth it.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Sega Superstars Tennis Review

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It’s time to review a PS3 game that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while now. This is a game that I got for 5 dollars at Gamestop and that’s always a pretty good bargain for a game. We can’t underestimate how good a PS3 Sonic game can be after the big one in 2006. So, I stepped into the game world and witnessed some great gameplay, but a story mode that left much to be desired.

See, the “story mode” in this game is called Superstar Mode. Instead of making it your typical career mode like in most tennis games, this one was totally made up of minigames. That’s strange right? It may be appealing for a little while, but there are so many levels in Superstar mode that it can get tedious. There is the occasional match or tournament, but mostly your tasks include things like: Shoot the balls into the portal, Shoot the moving objects, Shoot the ground to alter the path, etc. Minigames can be fun because they are short and sweet as they distract you from the tough story mode. The point is lost when there is no main mode. There is a separate tournament mode in the game, but it’s more like Super Smash Bros’ tournament mode.

So, Superstars mode wasn’t really that enjoyable for me. It definitely could have been handled a lot better. The cast of characters isn’t very impressive either. There are around 20 characters in the game and you typically expect a little more than that. Mario Power Tennis had a similar amount and that came out many years ago. (Of course, it was on the Gamecube so that could explain why it was so great) The cast isn’t terribly important since everyone will want to be Shadow or Sonic, (Or at least, I always want to play as them) but more options would have been preferable. I guess Sega didn’t want this to be thought of as Sonic tennis in the end so they quickly stopped themselves from adding more of them. Otherwise, Metal Sonic would have been a pretty great addition to the cast.

The gameplay for the main games is essentially the same as Virtua Tennis. (Which is a very good thing) I assume that you are familiar with the rules of tennis. After that, you really have a good understanding of the gameplay. Each character has a super move that can be used once in a while. Sonic’s allows you to transform into Super Sonic. You gain a lot of speed and all of the balls that you hit will gain a pretty mean spin. It’s important to lunge for those balls right away since they can be impossible to hit once they really get going. Sonic’s super attack is pretty cool, but I’m not familiar with most of the others. I typically finished off my opponents before they could use theirs. I definitely find the gameplay to be pretty enjoyable. It’s a lot more technical than Mario Power Tennis and that can be a good or bad thing. There are definitely pros and cons to both styles. This one is more realistic, but you could really feel the power behind the blows in Mario Tennis. I’m a pretty big fan of both types of gameplay so I’m fine either way. Tennis is likely second to Football when it comes to sport gameplay.

The graphics are decently good. The character models look pretty great and almost as if they were ripped from the 2006 game. They were definitely very well done..at least for the Sonic characters. Others like Alex The Kidd and Nights didn’t look quite as good, but they were good enough. The backgrounds and effects were pretty standard. Not bad though and you could still tell that you were playing a PS3 game. I suppose that’s all I can ask for from a sports spinoff anyway.

The themes in the game are decently catchy. I found them to be a little limited, but it sounds pretty good when you’re actually engaged in the matches. Again, I would say that it was pretty standard. Perhaps I’d give it a 6/10 at the most. The soundtrack gets you in the mood to play tennis and that is the main goal for the soundtrack.

In terms of replay value, Sega Tennis does a fine job. It’s mostly be default since it is a tennis game and it has a multiplayer option. Playing against someone else will always be fun in this style, which is why I say that this game has replay value. Otherwise, there really isn’t much to do once you beat Superstar mode. The computers will become pretty easy for you at that point and there is nothing else to unlock. If you don’t have anyone to play with, then I would consider this game to be more of a 6. (Or a high 5) It should also be noted that this is one of the games that came out before the Playstation 3 began to add trophies to every game. That also takes away a chunk out of the replay value.

Overall, This game is not going to last you for a very long time. The counter says that it only took me 2h:30m to beat the game. It definitely took me longer than that, but I guess the loading times really add up. The only way that this game will help you in the long run is if you take the game up on its multiplayer option. Superstars mode can only last for so long after all and it’s not very enjoyable. The rest of the game is pretty solid though and the gameplay is the important part. The game is currently going for less than 5 dollars so that’s also a good reason to go for it. I would recommend Mario Power Tennis more than this one so I have to give Nintendo the win this time. There’s no reason why Sega cannot improve though so I’m looking forward to their next tennis game. It’ll be fun to compare the racing title to Mario Kart as well someday.

Overall 7/10