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Ace Gals Tennis (Xbox 360) artwork

Ace Gals Tennis (Xbox 360) review


"80 MSP may not be much to spend on a casual tennis game, but the fact still remains that there are much better indie titles out there for the same price."



How would you like to score with girls from around the world?

...

I mean at tennis, you pervs!

Ace Gals Tennis (XLI) assetAce Gals Tennis amasses eight ladies from various countries to battle it out on the tennis court. It's an onslaught of hand drawn babes with large (and sometimes misshapen) knockers, showing off their talents and cleavage. Sure, you have the conservatively dressed Elise wearing a secretary skirt, but then you have USA's very own Sarah, whose shorts barely constitute a bottom.

Even if you suck at tennis, Ace Gals Tennis is simple to pick up and learn. You only need the analog stick to control the direction of the ball and the A button to send it flying. The game rates your every shot--”too bad”, “okay”, or “amazing”--all depending on how late or early you hit the ball as it reaches prime whacking range. As the game's credo states: timing is everything. Hit a “too bad” and the game will often punish you by sending the ball out of bounds or allowing your opponent to hit a near-perfect shot. It'll take a bit of practice to get the timing down. The game makes great use of an easy difficulty, as it trains you on when to hit the ball by having it pulsate at the right time.

There is no need to control your character, represented by your Xbox Live avatar. He'll automatically run towards the ball a la Wii Sports tennis. This makes for a fast-paced engagement and puts the emphasis on ball control and timing.

You would think that a game that emphasizes timing wouldn't cheat you, and that every blunder would be your fault. There are some slight hiccups, though few they be, that have come as a result of questionable testing and development. “Too bad” is meant to punish players, yet I find that the computer often profits from it. There've been a few times where the computer scored a “too bad” and the ball landed in an area that I couldn't reach. The end result was the computer scoring on me by sucking. I know that sounds sexual, but believe me when I say it wasn't pleasurable in the slightest.

“Too bad” has also resulted in game glitching a few times. One lady returned one of my “too bad” shots and the ball flew straight up into the sky and never came back down. Its shadow moved backwards and eventually past the spectators. The camera zoomed past the crowd and into an in-game N-Zone where the tennis demons live; a completely gray screen with no scenery that we aren't meant to see. And who scored the point on that one? The computer. It seems there is a hidden rule that any time the game glitches, the computer gets the point. This has only happened a few times, thankfully.

It's funny how a rating based on poor timing can cause a wide range of phenomena. Just remember, timing is everything.

Though Ace Gals Tennis is simple to pick up, it will break your neck when you first play it. Getting the coordination down can be tricky at first, but once you pick it up the game becomes pretty addictive. You could even look past the uncommon glitchy flaws after a while.

With my confidence built up I entered Career mode, which consists of twelve tournaments for each of the three difficulties. That's thirty-six tournaments! While this does add a lot of content to a $1 game, it's a very daunting process to undertake. Only the easy tournaments start out unlocked, and the only way to access normal is to complete all twelve easy tournaments. With three matches per tournament, that's thirty-six matches you have to complete on easy mode. By the time I had completed my fifth tournament, I was bored of Career mode and almost couldn't continue on to normal.

Let's do some math: three matches with twelve tournaments is thirty-six matches per difficulty. Multiply that by three and you get 108 matches of the same gameplay in a variety of only three difficulties.

There's not much to differentiate one tournament from the next apart from the turf and location. You usually play against the same girls and can easily defeat them with the same strategy. All you need to do is hit the ball towards the front of their side to draw them forward, then send it towards the back where they're vulnerable. You'll score almost every time. The only thing somewhat challenging is playing the unlockable vampire chick Klaudya. She'll return your hits most of the time, but the same cheap strategy I mentioned earlier can be applied to her as well. The only difference is that you'll have to return the ball a few times before scoring. All this takes is a little practice and timing and you're golden. More irritating than that is that almost every tournament ends with playing her.

Complete all of the easy tournaments without falling asleep and you'll move on to normal. The difficulty hasn't raised that much, the first two girls can still be pretty easily taken out with the cheap strategy, and the only real change is that the timing is more stringent. The payoff isn't worth the time spent trudging through the easy tournaments. Career mode might have been more effective if the tournaments had been cut in half.

At this point I wanted to mention that the repetitive single player mode doesn't demean the gameplay, and that multiplayer mode saves the day. Alas, there is no multiplayer, neither Live nor local. Ace Gals Tennis is single player only.

Ace Gals Tennis is a mixed bag highlighted by simple and addictive gameplay, but soured by a repetitive single player mode, uncommon glitches, and the lack of multiplayer. This is the kind of game that's meant for casual play, but the Career mode and two unlockable players suggest otherwise. The game might have been more effective if left in a more casual domain with less tournaments and more emphasis on multiplayer. Getting the friends together or slaughtering people online would have been the bee's knees. 80 MSP may not be much to spend on a casual tennis game, but the fact still remains that there are much better indie titles out there for the same price.

Rating: 6/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Freelance review by Joseph Shaffer (August 01, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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Feedback

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Masters posted August 01, 2011:

Nice job, Joe. I am ashamed to admit that I also checked this game out, because I wanted to check out what looked like an appealing... tennis game. >_> Does the game really label your crap shots, "too bad"? Weird.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 01, 2011:

Thanks, Marc!

Yeah, the appeal didn't go much further than some character screens. XBL avatars aren't exactly sexy, either.

And yes, the game rates your crap shots as "too bad". I think something more offensive like "you suck" would have been better. That might have spurred me to play better.

EDIT:

Sam:
You can actually play normal and hard on a kind of free mode, but you can only access the normal tournaments by completing all of the easy tournaments. Still makes the task feel daunting.
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SamildanachEmrys posted August 01, 2011:

Good review. You sell the game's strong points very well, but also give a good representation of its damning flaws. I approve.

For 80 MSP I might give it a go (I don't own even one tennis game) but the lack of any multiplayer component could be an issue. I also don't relish the idea of slogging through 36 Easy tournaments against the same small selection of opponents just to get to Normal. I think really Normal should have been unlocked after, say, half the Easy tournaments are done. That way the game doesn't diminish its content, but it also doesn't require a gruelling slog.
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Masters posted August 01, 2011:

Wait... who the hell is Joseph Shaffer, and what's he done with JOE THE DESTROYER?
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 01, 2011:

Mwahahaha! I've eaten his soul.
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SamildanachEmrys posted August 15, 2011:

I just played this myself, since I was curious and it was cheap. Your review is a very fair one. The game is tough until you work out the timing, then it's frustrating that your opponent returns every single shot, until you work out the key (which I'd forgotten about from your review - the short-short/long-shot combo). At that point it became kind of fun, if not particularly satisfying. I reckon it's probably good for the odd couple of matches here and there.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 15, 2011:

Yeah, it's not a bad game. I might play it once in a while, but it's not the best download I've had on XBI. I do recommend Acid Rain and Akane the Kunoichi, though.

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