|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|
The game has a learning curve, and at first you'll feel like things are not working. After a while, you'll get the hang of it and start destroying the CPU player with ease. To return the ball, simply hold the Wii-mote flat over your hand and swing it left to right or right to left. Moving the Nunchuk's directional stick just after hitting the ball (almost simultaneously), will send the ball in the desired direction. This doesn't seem to always work, but I think it's part of the learning process. The drop shot is executed by holding the B trigger while hitting the ball.
If your mind is not open to motion controls, you can just use the Wii remote as a classic controller. You can either hold it horizontally or vertically once you select it on the controller options screen; the D-pad will move the character and help you aim the ball. You can hit 1 or 2 to return the ball, and by pressing one after another (first 1 then 2 or vice versa) you'll achieve the useful slice and lob shots. Serving is also very important, just like in real tennis. There's a star gauge that fills up while the ball is in the air. If you hit the ball when the gauge is at its max, your opponent will have a hard time returning that excellent serve!
The menu interface is not very good-looking, and switching between Wii remote and Nunchuk to just Wii remote to move through the menus it's rather dull. I have seen this in other Wii games, and it's kind of frustrating.
I also wished the game was more visually appealing, but it's not. Even though it's basically the same game you'll see on the Xbox 360 or the PS3, the textures are very blurry and just plain ugly on the Wii. The characters look pretty good from far away, but also a little fuzzy, and same with everything else in the game. The design of the stages is nice and colorful, and a good reminder of those old and newer games. However, they look too blurry on the Wii. Also, not enough detail was thrown into the different courts. I especially noticed how bad the NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams stage looks compared to the actual NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams game, even though it's the same exact environments. I'm not sure why the graphics turned out this way, but it's not attractive at all, although I'm sure kids won't have a problem with that. Adults will though; we don't want our party attendants to laugh at us and make comments about the tacky graphics on Nintendo Wii!
The soundtrack is packed with popular Sega tunes you've heard in the different games showcased in the title. From Super Monkey Ball to Sonic or Samba de Amigo, there's music for everyone. They're mostly lighthearted tunes, although levels like those from Jet Set Radio and Space Channel 5 have a much more alternative feel. You can unlock new songs as you play though the Planet Superstars mode. The sound effects are typical of tennis games: the ball drops, the ball is hit by the racket, the audience cheers, etc.; nothing too special in that department. As for the characters' voices, you have to remember it's a cartoonish game with cartoon characters and cheesy cartoon voices that complain when they lose and celebrate when they're kicking butt. They do get repetitive, as it's to be expected from this kind of game.
So what's the final judgment for Sega Superstars Tennis on Wii? It's a fun and more complete alternative to Wii Sports tennis. Being able to move the character with the control stick is huge. The presentation is not great, but it doesn't detract from fun and engaging gameplay, and if you love Sega characters, you'll enjoy having them as part of the game and playing in their environments. There's a learning curve for the motion controls, but it's worth learning how to play with them. However, please keep in mind that if you play too many hours at a time (don't play more than two!!!) you'll become the perfect candidate for "Wii-elbow syndrome." I can tell you from personal experience it wasn't easy to type this review with terrible pains shooting all through my arms. Still, I had to do it before one of you makes the same mistake!
CCC Site Director