For more that 10 years, Japanese developer Clap Hanz has been synonymous with over-the-top, sugary happy sports games on Sony’s PlayStation gaming machines. Mostly responsible for golf games, the company tried their luck at tennis back in 2006 on the PS2. Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip has now finally made it over to Sony’s PSP in a handheld incarnation perfectly suited to tennis fans on the move.
Bring joy through… tennis?
Clap Hanz has taken the games campaign in a slightly different direction from what we are normally used too in sports games. The sizeable story section has been spiked with a bit of RPG elements, as you take the part of a young tennis ace, charged with travelling the world to help raise happiness through the noble sport of tennis. You’ll get to see everything from universities tennis clubs in Japan to L.A. film studios, where you’ll meet new friends and solve their problems by beating them on the courts. You build your character’s skills through successful matches, and along the way you’ll gain access to new accessories, better rackets, and clothing.
Want realism? No need to come here
If you’re looking for accuracy in your sports games, you better stay well clear of Hot Shots Tennis. Simulation is put on the back seat, and is replaced by a fast and furious action filled game of tennis. Clap Hanz once more has shown themselves as some of the masters in designing sports games, that are easy to pick up, a joy to play combined with just enough depth to provide a satisfactory feel of the sport.
Controls are easily understood, the stroke library chosen with great care and the game provides gentle assistance. Opponents are a bit on the weak side, but to advance in the game you’ll have to defeat some decent players, that is sure to challenge action fans.
Second server please
The lengthy story mode will provide hours of highly satisfying tennis fun. If you want to avoid the RPG trimmings, exhibition matches will take you into action in express speed. Hot Shots Tennis only supports ad hoc multiplayer; a bitter step down from Clap Hanz’ PSP golf games, that previously offered the ability to battle against players from all over the world online.
Hot Shot games are invariably colourful, anime affairs – populated with starry eyed kids performing great sporting deed on bright, attractive playing fields, supported by chirpy tunes and cute sound effects. Get a Grip is no exception, and the PSP hardware is put to good use, resulting in an attractive looking and sounding game, that’s rich in charm.
Time for Centre court
Get a Grip is a brilliant addition to the PSP offerings, and fans of Clap Hanz’ previous handheld sports games and newcomers both will be very pleased with this fine tuned portable title. Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip is instant likeable and engaging – easily one of 2010’s best PSP games so far!
Verdict: Borrow (Verdict list: ‘Get it!’, ‘Borrow’ or ‘Never mind’)
For in-game screenshots and additional portable game reviews, please check: Hot Shots Tennis review [http://www.burningthumbs.com/?p=666].
More reviews and news from the handheld video game scene at Burning Thumbs [http://www.burningthumbs.com/].