Summer is on its way, and that means the French Open and Wimbledon will be beamed to your TV whether you like it or not. If you’re so inclined, you can now participate in the sport without getting off your couch, because Chop Chop Tennis just hit the App Store. The game stars characters drawn in the bobble-head style of the Chop Chop series, but this time there’s not a ninja to be found.
The first thing everyone considering buying this game should be aware of is that there’s no tutorial in Chop Chop Tennis. How to play the game is far from obvious, and many gamers will give up on it before realizing that there’s fun to be had. The only information you’re given on how to play the game is two screens’ worth of control inputs that illustrate the various swipes you can use. If you’re not all that familiar with tennis, however, these might not be all that helpful. We’re sure Roger Federer knows what drop shots, top spins, and slices are, but we had to figure them out for ourselves.
Like in Wii Sports Tennis, your character moves automatically on the court, so the only thing you’re responsible for is swinging the racket. Since there’s no tutorial, however, we spent our first match slowly discovering this fact. Something else that dawned on us way too late is that the speed of your swipe determines the power behind your character’s swing. Once we figured that out, our game improved substantially. Again, this is basic information that is necessary to play the game, but it’s never explained to the player.
However, if you struggle through and figure out the basics of the gameplay, you’ll find that it’s actually kind of fun. You can play single or doubles matches, or you can progress through three different tournaments that are all more or less the same. A few practice modes are available to help you get acclimated to the controls, but you won’t come back to these once you get the basics down.
Because doubles is twice as fun.
Most sports games benefit from a multiplayer mode, but there’s none to be found in Chop Chop Tennis. We would love to be able to slug it out against real opponents, either locally or online, but no such option is available. So it’s just you against the computer, with four difficulty modes available. You can play as eight different characters, but they all play the same, and their looks don’t vary drastically either.
But despite those sizable drawbacks, we had a pretty good time with the game. Getting into long back and forth volleys against the computer becomes increasingly intense as they go on. You know one of you is going to slip up, but you don’t know when. And there’s nothing quite like being down by several points and making a glorious comeback to win the game.
Until they include a tutorial, however, we simply can’t recommend Chop Chop Tennis. The controls are too deep and unintuitive to be able to leave players on their own to figure out. We’re not even sure we discovered all the ins and outs, and we played the game for hours. But if you don’t mind a big learning curve and can’t get enough of the Chop Chop art style, you may enjoy this game. Just know that you’ll be on your own to figure it out.