Matchpoint – Tennis Championships takes a clean sweep into the world of sports games – hands-on impressions

As far as tennis-based video games go, there hasn’t been a title that has risen into the ranks of Madden, NBA 2K, or FIFA. Several tennis games have emerged in recent years, such as the AO Tennis and Tennis World Tour franchises, but none have been able to catch on and become the undisputed leader of the genre. A new competitor Matchpoint – Tennis Championships has recently come to the fore. This new tennis game from Torus Games and Kalypso Media aims to break through with a unique gameplay engine, a career mode and authentic tennis players that fans would see in real-life competitive tennis. We’ve spent some time on this and can help you decide if the team was successful or not.

Matchpoint – Tennis Championships comes with a ton of hype highlighted by the inclusion of over a dozen professional athletes including Daniil Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios and Madison Keys. In addition, the gameplay system includes a variety of different serve and shot options, as well as several different and unique motion-based animations. At a press event earlier this year, Kalypso team Gamepur shared that Matchpoint had hundreds of different animations added as part of its development.

However, don’t expect to see the ATP or WTA branding in-game. Neither league is part of Matchpoint – Tennis Championships, although Kalypso stated in the aforementioned press event that there have been some discussions between the game and the major tennis tours about a possible branding deal. That could come in the future, but nothing concrete is known yet.

Gameplay that’s a simple, clean take

Gamepur screenshot

As far as gameplay goes, Kalypso Media and Torus Games have put together a pretty decent product. The player’s movement is solid and fluid, and there don’t seem to be any broken running animations. Also, tennis players who have to run from one side of the court to the other to track down the ball won’t just shuffle there. Running requires preparation and you need to be in good position to cover the space. So it’s important not to get too lazy on this front.

The second key aspect of the gameplay is the shooting system, and this is where things can get a little quirky. Matchpoint – Tennis Championships uses a shooting system where users press and hold one of the four buttons, which then fills a meter to determine performance. That’s not the confusing part, but it’s easy to get bogged down because even the slightest bit of power on normal, flat shots can lead to an out and a point loss with relative ease. Balancing this issue should be a priority in my opinion, especially as tennis really is a game that requires the right balance of power and accuracy. Not being able to muster even a little strength doesn’t feel right.

That being said, the shooting system is easy to grasp, with nothing in the way of complex combos to learn other than one or two button combinations. Matchpoint – Tennis Championships also features an aim function that uses the left stick. While it took a few minutes to get used to, it never felt overly complicated.

Not much lightning, just tennis

Image via Kalypso Games

Matchpoint – Tennis Championships offers a number of different game modes, but not too wild a choice. Users can participate in a quick match against the CPU or compete against other players online. Kalypso Media’s tennis game also includes training sessions and a tutorial feature, as well as a career mode. Here players can create their own custom avatar and try to climb the world rankings and become a tennis superstar.

Matchpoint – Tennis Championships career mode is not flashy. All that can really be done is do training sessions to improve your player before games and then play those events. Career mode is, by and large, a “meat and potatoes” feature. Nothing too extravagant, but more of a focus on actual gameplay and the sport than trying to wow with flashy off-court tasks.

The judgment

Gamepur screenshot

Kalypso Media is keeping it short and simple with Matchpoint – Tennis Championships, and that’s probably not a bad thing since this is their maiden voyage with this franchise. The focus of this game is really on the gameplay itself, rather than trying to garner attention with an official license from the ATP and WTA or a large pool of real tennis players. Matchpoint – Tennis Championships gameplay isn’t too difficult, but the controls are pretty easy to grasp. Instead, it’s more of a game of trying to estimate where the shot will fall and react, which is what tennis is really about.

While Matchpoint doesn’t have amazing graphics, it is serviceable and the gameplay is more than passable. The engine is actually quite smooth and fun once you get the hang of the game’s nuances. It’ll be interesting to see where Kalypso goes with Matchpoint, as this feels more like a good, solid first step into the world of tennis gaming. There is a small gap in this genre and Kalypso seems well positioned to fill it. Matchpoint – Tennis Championships takes a clean sweep into the world of sports games – hands-on impressions

Curtis Crabtree

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