Sega Superstars Tennis may be ideal for the Wii, but there is fun to be had on all consoles!
The Sega gaming empire has built a solid following of hardcore fans with its original concepts and loveable characters that have become iconic symbols in the world of video games. And while Sega Superstars Tennis is definitely going to get the attention of dedicated fans, you don’t have to be a Sega fanatic to enjoy this lighthearted, fun game.
Keep in mind, however, that Sega Superstars Tennis is undoubtedly built around the Wii. The motion controls and elaboration on over-the-top tennis gameplay is definitely geared towards Wii Sports and Wii Tennis fans with a soft-side for the Sega gang. But the game works fine on other consoles (such as the PS2), offering lighthearted cartoon tennis for people of all ages to enjoy. While it does seem somewhat gimmicky of Sega, this is more than an attempt to rehash old characters and cash in on the current popularity of party gaming.
The game starts you off with eight playable characters – Sonic, Tails, Dr. Eggman, AiAi, Ulala, Beat, Amigo, and NiGHTS. When first starting, you can choose from playing quick-play tennis matches, a tournament mode, the Planet Superstars mode, and several mini-games. Progressing through Planet Superstars will allow you to unlock the remaining eight characters – Amy, Shadow, Reala, Alex Kidd, Gum, Pudding, Gilius Thunderhead, and Meemee, four more mini-games, and other bonuses like extra music.
The tournament mode is pretty short, as you are pinned against five opponents or teams, depending on whether you choose to play singles or doubles. It doesn’t really take long to complete the tournament in Sega Superstars Tennis, though the game is definitely geared for multiplayer, whether online or in a party setting.
Planet Superstars is the real fun for single players. Under the Planet Superstars menu, each game is set in a different Sega world, and you will have to complete unique challenges in each one to progress and unlock new levels. You will have to win single matches, short tournaments, and mini-games to move on. Unfortunately, the games become a tad redundant after a while. You will find yourself playing through repetitive challenges, and while they are time-consuming, they don’t really offer enough variety on your journey to unlock goodies.
One of the most fun mini-games is the House of the Dead themed game where you must knock down zombies with the ball as they rise from the ground on the opposite side of the court and make their way towards you. While a simple target knock-down game isn’t the most original concept, the way the ghouls rise up and lurch towards you is pretty cool. You must also avoid hitting pedestrians who jog along the court in groups, which isn’t really logical but makes the task all the trickier.
What sets Sega Superstars Tennis apart from other tennis games is it offers more unique, over-the-top gameplay, especially with the implemented Superstar move. Each character is marked with a star around their feet, which fills in color as you play on and continue to make good shots on your opponent. Once the star is filled, your character can perform his or her Superstar move to slam the ball or distract your opponent. Sonic, for example, turns into Super Sonic and puts a spin on the ball to make it change direction. Dr. Eggman throws bombs, and AiAi from Super Monkey Ball hurls bananas at his opponent. If you wish to turn this function off for a more straightforward tennis match, you can do so as well, which is a nice option. When playing for the first time, the button setup is a bit tricky. Various face buttons are assigned to hitting ground shots, fast shots, lobs, and drop shots. It takes some getting used to, though developers at Sumo Digital have done a nice job of setting up a number of ways to return the ball.
But aside from gameplay and the amount of unlockables included, where this game really stands out is with its brightly-lit, detailed playing areas. Each of the Sega worlds features its own highly-detailed court and often a majestic, colorful backdrop – notably, Sonic’s Green Hill and Super Monkey Ball. The game offers fun atmosphere with nostalgic music from classic Sega games, humorous sound effects, and cartoon-like settings. But as lighthearted this game is in nature, the tasks you will have accomplish become more challenging as the game progresses, and the button setup allows lots (take out lots) for lots of fun for the more mature gamer.
Online multiplayer is definitely one of the other high points of Sega Superstars Tennis. Mini-games and matches can be played with up to four people, and Sumo also implemented the TV function from Virtua Tennis 3 which allows online players to watch highlights and live matches from around the world in real-time.
With its extremely attractive environments and selection of great characters, Sega Superstars Tennis is definitely a fun time for those looking for an eccentric back-and-forth tennis game. While the Wii may offer the definitive Sega Superstars Tennis experience, it definitely does not disappoint.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
Bright, sharp environments and character design make this game nice to look at. 3.8 Control
While this game is definitely best played on the Wii, the control scheme is accessible to all consoles. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great atmosphere sound effects and soundtrack loaded with classic Sega music. 3.4 Play Value
This is definitely best played among friends or online. Solo, the game can become repetitive. 3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.