Virtua Tennis Challenge review: SEGA's classic court game arrives on the iPad

When people think of SEGA, they often think of Sonic The Hedgehog. But the company has a wide range of classic titles that have consistently been top of their game. With its amazing visuals, fast-paced gameplay, and high level of interaction, Virtua Tennis is up with the best of SEGA’s games.

So we were delighted to see it being ported to the iPad. Currently on sale for £2.99 the game is a great example of just how amazing the iPad (especially the new iPad) is for gaming, and how much better value gaming is on the iOS platform than other consoles.

See also: PlayStation Vita (vs iPad) review

What we didn’t expect quite so much is just how much better it is on the iPad than on other consoles. SEGA has clearly put a lot of thought into implementing Virtua Tennis to the multi-touch display and it has a completely innovative interface. Rather than simply recreating the console version complete with a virtual joystick and buttons, you now play the game via taps and swipes.

Virtua Tennis

As soon as your opponent has hit the ball, you swipe the screen to automatically run towards it, and hit the ball in the direction of the swipe (swiping backwards slices the ball). After hitting the ball you can then tap the screen to run that part of the court.

Serving is a matter of dragging your playing to the part of the line you want to serve, letting go to throw the ball in the air and swiping in the direction you want to serve.

It’s a very intuitive system, although Virtual Tennis purists will be keen to note that traditional stick and button modes are available (in both console and original arcade machine varieties).

You can play an SPT World Tour or exhibition match, and there are a variety of players to choose from (all male though, girls are out of luck for some reason). And both Singles and Doubles matches are available. You can even play a quick single point match by tapping on the random player that appears in the main window, which will be good for those quick blasts when you have a spare moment.

And multiplayer is catered for with both Bluetooth local and Wi-Fi online gaming.

All-in-all it’s a pretty neat rendition of a classic arcade and console sports game. And the fact that it’s available for just £3 is a testament to how good a deal gaming is on the iPad.

OUR VERDICT

Buying advice Virtua Tennis is one of the best renditions of tennis around, and we’re impressed with the iPad version. The controls scheme is well thought out, and it’s both visually impressive and fun to play. There’s a lot of depth to the gameplay, both in terms of technique to develop, and tournaments to play through.

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