Remember Wii Tennis in Wii Sports? That’s pretty much INSTANT TENNIS, except with some twists on the gameplay, unlockable players and courts, and tournaments with up to 8 local players! Swing your Joy-Con, score some points, and crush the competition while secretly having an excuse to get up and move around.
Title: INSTANT TENNIS
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Game Version: Final
Review Copy: Provided by developer
Interface: Single Joy-Con with Switch connected to TV, as well as handheld with attached Joy-Cons
Available on Nintendo Switch
INSTANT TENNIS, INSTANT FUN
Easy to Pick-up with Motion Controls: Swing the Joy-Con like a Tennis Racket
I only owned a handful of games for the Wii, but the ones I loved the most made good use out of the motion control. I skipped the Wii U and returned for the Switch, but found it mostly lacking in games that had that same physicality. The Wii actually helped me lose nearly 100 lbs, and now that I’ve put it all back on, I’ve been desperate for a replacement to Wii Sports and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout. Fitness Boxing released a couple months ago, but somehow I missed INSTANT TENNIS until recently.
Like in Wii Sports, you hit the ball by merely swinging your arm. However, INSTANT TENNIS simplifies the process: you don’t have to worry about which direction you swing your arm (backhand or forehand), and the ball slows down a bit when it gets close to you to show you where you’ll hit the ball when you swing. It also shifts the focus of gameplay: characters have exhaustion meters, and the more they run the more it drops. Once it runs out, they’ll barely manage to make their way across the court to return the ball, making it way easier to score. Gone are the Wii Sports tennis points that go on for 5 minutes!
Aside from these things, everything else about the game builds upon Wii Sports: you earn experience after each game, and you unlock new characters to play as and new tennis courts with more difficult opponents. There are also three methods of play: you can just worry about timing your swings, you can use the joystick to aim your shot while swinging the Joy-Con, or you can play the game with a controller or the Joy-Cons attached by using a joystick to aim and a button press to hit the ball. All three of these work well, but the standard “just swing” was definitely my favorite since I didn’t have to worry about anything other than timing my swings.
I was worried when I first started playing that the game would be way too easy for me. In my first match, I only lost a single point, and most points were won very quickly. But then I jumped ahead and played one of the two-star courts and it was actually a challenge! I almost lost a whole round, and most of the points felt a bit more challenging. It’s a different kind of tennis game, but there’s still a real challenge if you want it.
INSTANT TENNIS comes from BreakFirst, a developer that’s entirely focused on getting people moving around. And this is exactly what INSTANT TENNIS does, it gets individuals, couples, children, or whole families up and moving around. The addition of the 3-8 player tournament is a great touch; it’s local-only but it definitely means that the whole family or a group of friends can play together.
However, I do wish that the game had something that would explain the basics of tennis to those who aren’t familiar. I’ve played lots of tennis in my life, so I didn’t need it, but kids may be confused by the scoring system of tennis. Going from 0 to 15 to 30 and then 40 is kind of crazy, after all, and “40A” being an abbreviation for advantage might need some explaining as well. Because matches are all 1v1, there’s also the double “out of bounds” area: the actual out of bounds and the doubles areas on either side of the court. I don’t remember Wii Sports doing any of this explaining either, but it would’ve been a nice touch. Also, the tutorial was a bit confusing, and it’s sadly required before you can play the game at all.
Due to the various difficulty settings, things to unlock, characters to play as, control options, and the variable number of players, INSTANT TENNIS definitely lives up to its name.
Note: all of the images in this review are from the Switch shop page because the game doesn’t allow people to take screenshots.