|System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Are you looking for the next party game? This might be the one! Sega Superstars tennis is a cool sports video game for those who don't need a serious tennis experience in their living room. It's all about having fun.
The game features 16 Sega characters, most of which you will recognize at first glance. Sonic, of course, is the center of the party, but many others have joined him, like Tails, Amy, Shadow, Dr. Eggman, and characters from other popular Sega franchises like NiGHTS and Reala (from NiGHTS into Dreams and NiGHTS Journey of Dreams), Alex Kidd, Amigo (from Samba de Amigo), Beat and Gum (from Jet Set Radio), Ulala and Pudding (from Space Channel 5), Gilius Thunderhead (from Golden Axe), and Ai Ai and Meemee (from Super Monkey Ball). With this complete lineup, the game is sure to please Sega fans more than anyone! Luckily, the gameplay is fun enough that it will please many others as well.
Sega Superstars Tennis will have you play tennis as you know it, but not without a twist: each character has special abilities and a Superstar State. By performing well, a star symbol beneath your character will fill up and start glowing. That's your time to shine! Activate the Superstar State and surprise your opponents with amazing powers like throwing bananas to the other side of the court, sending a bunch of aliens their way to cause distraction, hitting the ball with "Super Sonic" effect, firing spiked eggs or dazing them by dancing around or flirting with heart shapes. Although this game formula has been used in Mario Power Tennis, I don't think having a Sega version is that bad. It's important to have options! I can't say the game turned out as good and sharp as Mario Power Tennis, but it's still fun and it's available for Wii.
The game has a few game modes that will keep you entertained. First of all, you can play a match at any time, singles or doubles, against computer opponents, against friends or with friends against the CPU. That means you can jump right into the action, and up to four people can play at the same time. There's also a Tournament mode. Here you'll face five different adversaries in order to achieve the Tournament Cup. It's funny how they show a cup at the beginning, but then there's no celebration when you win! Where's my Cup? There are indeed a few problems with the game presentation, but we'll talk about that later. There's also a Games mode that contains eight Virtua Tennis-like mini-games, four of which you'll have to unlock by playing the main mode: Planet Superstars.
Planet Superstars has several different sections with diverse challenges. Each section has a different Sega game theme with cool courts like Sonic's Green Hill and Scrap Brain Zone, Carnival Park from Samba de Amigo, Super Monkey Ball, and even the Curion Mansion from House of the Death. You'll play tourneys, matches, and mini-games, unlocking new challenges as you go. The challenges are based on one of the eight mini-games and evolve into different variations of each of them. I spent a good amount of time playing in the Jet Set Radio neighborhood, picking up paint cans and trying to color graffiti with the tennis balls. At the Curion Mansion you'll encounter the undead; they'll drag themselves towards you while you try to shoot tennis balls at them to take them out. The mini-games are not that clever, but can become addictive if played for long. The more you play and win in Planet Superstars, the more bonus stuff you'll unlock, including new challenges, game tunes, characters, etc.
Technically, the game is not top of the line. It plays, in fact, better than Wii Sports Tennis; but that's easy enough to do, as Wii Sports was basically a "test" title. In Sega Superstars Tennis you have the option to attach the Nunchuk to the Wii remote and use the control stick to move the character around the court easily. You'll use the Wii remote to perform the actual tennis moves, as if it were a racket. The instructions included in the game manual are pretty terrible and don't explain the motion controls very well, and there's not an actual tutorial within the game, so I didn't quite figure out the technicalities on how to perform a slice or a lob, although I did know how to do a drop shot, which was a good strategy against the computer once in a while.