Good tennis games are hard to find these days. Most of the popular game franchises such as EA Sports’s Grand Slam Tennis, Sega’s Virtua Tennis and 2K Inc.’s Top Spin have not been updated in years. Big Ant’s AO Tennis marks the return of big game developers in the tennis genre again.
The game will be available on Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 for console gamers, and on Android and iOS for mobile gamers. The console version is not available in India yet, but the mobile variant is up for download on Google Play Store and App store.
AO Tennis is free to download and doesn’t involve in-app purchases at any point in the game.
Developed in collaboration with Tennis Australia, the governing body for Australian Open, the game uses real names of players participating in the first grand slam tournament of the year.
AO Tennis works offline, takes up just 134MB of space to install and doesn’t require a high-end smartphone to run smoothly. It starts with a tutorial session designed to make users familiar with the controls from the start. The gameplay is limited to Australian Open and players participating in it this year. So there are no ATP, WTA or other Grand Slam tournaments to play.
In terms of visuals and graphics, it is nowhere near Sega’s Virtua Tennis Challenge, which offers more camera angles, replays and more realistic looking players. Controls are limited to swipe gestures. Though they are smooth and easy to remember, the lack of alternative control such as a virtual game pad feels a bit restricting. There is a slight lag between the swipe gesture and when the player actually hits the ball. This makes it a little confusing at first.
The gameplay is challenging and opponents are unyielding, resulting in long matches. One can keep the matches short by reducing the number of sets and games at the start of the tournament. Overall, the AO Tennis lacks the visual flair of Virtua Tennis Challenge, but is a lot more challenging to play.