Everybody's Tennis

Key events

15th July 2010

Everybody's Tennis

12th April 2007

Everybody's Tennis

Everybody's Tennis

Everybody's Tennis

Love all.

The RPG-ification of mainstream videogame genres has been the defining design trend of the past three years, with experience points and levelling a key feature of everything from Modern Warfare to Borderlands. Everybody's Tennis is no different, doling out experience points on a per shot basis, rewarding you in endorphin micropayments for every ace served and on-the-baseline lob successfully landed.

As you level your character, so you unlock new items of clothing in the shop which boost your attributes in subtle ways: for example, giving your budding young tennis star a buff to his backhand while cross-dressing in a Japanese schoolgirl's uniform.

Not only that, but the developer subscribes fully to the RPG's wider tropes as you roam the grounds of tennis clubs or the hallways of a high school solving simple puzzles and challenging opponents to throw-downs on the court. The snappy dialogue and bold characters supply what is one of the most entertaining, if unlikely, stories to be found in a sports game, adding both sharp flavour and context to each match.

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Everybody's Tennis

Everybody's Tennis

Presumably everybody except me.

More than five years ago, Clap Hanz finished the game design for Everybody's Tennis, and then promptly put it on the back burner while it turned its attention to its cute, hugely playable golf titles on PS2 and PSP. It's perhaps hardly surprising, then, that this charming but lightweight effort bears all the hallmarks of an early PS2 title stuck in its own sweet time warp.

On the plus side, Everybody's Tennis is an instantly playable game full of cute touches - just like its under-rated golfing brother, in fact. Borrowing Everybody's Golf's big-headed animé graphical styling, this isn't a game that tries too hard to simulate the finer points of the racket sport, but instead exaggerates the key mechanics and attributes in a way that puts it somewhere between Mario Power Tennis' and, say, Virtua Tennis.

In a broad sense, Everybody's Tennis feels like a comedy version of Virtua Tennis, complete with silly animations and onomatopoeic comic touches whenever, say, a player gets smacked in the face by the ball. It's likeable for this and many other slightly slapstick reasons, but is held together at its core by a the same control system that makes VT such a charm to play.

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