Review: Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip (PSP)

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Title: Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip (PSP)
Format: UMD / PlayStation Network Download
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Clap Hanz
Price: $19.99

Gameplay:
It’s Tennis! The End…

Sorry, couldn’t resist. HST plays quite well in fact, with easy to understand controls, and support for both the d-pad and analog nub (I use the d-pad.) X is a normal hit, Circle is a Slice, and Triangle is a flat shot. If you’ve played a Tennis game on a games console before, this will make you feel right at home.

First off, this is not a clone of the PS2 game, and in fact, there are a lot of differences. The PS2 game was pretty limited by only offering a Quick Match and a thin progression mode. The PSP version expands in almost every way, and is a much more robust experience than what was offered on the PS2 (I know, it’s kinda surprising.)

Instead of just offering a simple progression system, Clap Hanz has fleshed-out a full story mode, which breaks the monotony up a bit, but quite frankly can be cumbersome occasionally. It’s a linear story that you follow, as you wander the world to ring the happiness of Tennis to all that you come in contact with, or something like that. At each locale, you’ll talk to characters throughout the area, and challenge most of them to a game of Tennis. Your opponents will range from regular Tennis players to Football Players, to a thinly-veiled clone of the Tennis version of American Idol (complete with a Judge named Simon.) The story can be funny at times, especially with the obvious fact that the localization team added a bit of flair on their own.

Each time, you win a match, you’ll unlock new items such as costumes or accessories, and this is where the similarities with the Hot Shots Golf titles really becomes apparent and quite welcome. The progression through the story is actually really good, and never seems too tough. Each locale is basically setup like a standard “level,” so you’ll fight through some minions to get to the “boss” of each locale. Defeat that boss, and he/she will join your group and become a playable character, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. You’ll even be challenged to Doubles matches occasionally, so you’ll pick one of your friends to play with you (controlled by the CPU.)

Also included is an Exhibition mode, so that you can play through different opponents and locales in quick, single matches up to multiple sets. Like Hot Shots Golf’s caddies, you now get the choice of umpires, and many are actually from HSG. Everything about this game says “Hot Shots,” and the fact that they’ve made this feel like my favorite Golf series is incredibly welcome. Another piece of that similarity is the fact that you can dress your character(s) in some pretty wild costumes, and you’re afforded a couple of slots to save different configurations in.

Visuals:
Especially when compared to the PS2 game, this one has been changed somewhat, but obviously those changes were made for the smaller screen of the PSP. Framerate is solid throughout, and the color palette is bright and smooth. Texture are crisp (unless you play on your TV,) and the animation is good enough for Tennis. The different locales are pleasing to look at, and each court has a unique flair to set each one apart. They’ve also included indicators on the court as to where the ball may hit when you’re aiming, which can really help see that small Tennis ball on the PSP’s smaller screen (especially since I’m playing on the PSPGo.)

Audio:
If you ever played any of the Hot Shots Golf games, you’ll recognize everything in the audio suite in this game. One nice addition they’ve included is the option to turn the music off during matches, as it can get a bit repetitive after a few hours. Voices are well done when you hear them, and all of the requisite Tennis sounds are present and well done.

Online/Multiplayer
Hot Shots Tennis allows 4-player Ad-Hoc wireless play along with Game Sharing, so only one of you needs to own the game to play. When I played 4-player Ad-Hoc at the PlayStation Blog meetup at E3 this year, it played extremely well. The game not out at the time that I’m writing this, so I don’t know if it will work with the PS3’s Ad-Hoc Party app.

Conclusion
At first, I wrote this game off as a throwaway, then I realized that I killed the battery on my PSP by playing it that much. I’m having a blast in the story mode, and the fact that most matches only last 5-6 minutes makes it a great title for sneaking-in a couple of quick games during a break. For 20 bucks, there’s a lot of fun to be had, and especially if you’ve liked other Tennis titles on the SNES and Turbgrafx, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. I’m just wondering if “Tennis King” is the final boss in this one too 😉

Score:
8.5

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  • This will be a day 1 purchase for me, along with the Fat Princess DLC. I am playing the demo way too much, and at $20 it is a steal.

  • Yousuke Fullbuster Uzumaki

    Awesome review but, consistency in bolding headers?

  • Sorry, uploaded at work, and I must've gotten distracted.

  • I really am interested in this game, but after subscribing to PS+ I feel like I should take a wait and see approach on anything that is not a “must have”. My PSP backlog (yes there is such a thing!) would punch me in the face anyway, lol.

  • I really am interested in this game, but after subscribing to PS+ I feel like I should take a wait and see approach on anything that is not a “must have”. My PSP backlog (yes there is such a thing!) would punch me in the face anyway, lol.

  • Keep posting stuff like this i really like it