With the likes of Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Kart and Mario Knitting (OK, that last one was made up) surrounding us, it was no surprise to discover that Sega finally were entering the fray with a game that collects many of their major, iconic characters together. Recently, Sega characters shared the limelight with Nintendo in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, but the release of Sega Superstar Tennis sees Sonic Team and friends on their own for the first time in this type of game.
This is an attempt to bring Sega characters from games both past and present (Gillian from Golden Axe up to Ai Ai from Monkeyball) and throw them all into a fun, family game. To play requires no knowledge of the character backgrounds as it’s simply a tennis game. Although the game is on several formats, I’ll be discussing the Wii version where you pick up the Wiimote (nunchuk controlling is optional) and start hitting balls over nets.
It’s remarkably similar to Wii Sports Tennis if you just want to grab three friends or family members and serve a few sets of tennis. In addition though, Sega Superstar Tennis has a variety of minigames which, depending on which of the themed courts you’re playing on, takes that theme and produces a minigame. For example, Sonic has a minigame where he needs to collect rings whilst dodging spiky balls which are being served at him by big robots. Ai Ai has a minigame where he needs to serve the tennis balls at big monkey-balls to knock them into a goal. There’s even a House of the Dead court where the mini games involve hitting balls into zombies! No blood though – slashes and bites are ‘green’ and you don’t see anything gross taking place at all. The game is totally child safe.
This character-familiar concept makes for a fun game for those familiar with the characters and games of the past, yet you can enjoy them equally simply if you’ve never touched a Sega game in your life. Mum can join in with little super-geek Johnny, but watch out for Grandma as she’ll want in on the action as well.
The game features unlockable music tracks from Sega games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Jet Set Radio Future, Space Channel Five, Monkey Ball, House of the Dead and more, as well as unlockable characters from similar games. There’s stuff to earn and achieve throughout the game for those players who like to gain something for their time. If that isn’t a concern for you, there’s also a ‘quickstart’ option which will launch you into a tennis game with the selected number of players. You can choose to be a Sega geek, in other words, or just plug n’ play.
It’s a fun game for all the family much similar to Wii Sports’ Tennis, but with added unlockables and familiar Sega faces for those who like a bit more depth. The game is presented graphically well, with decent sound and music. Odd glitches seems to have slipped through the testing stages (you may suddenly fail at the very start for a game without touching anything), but they don’t seem to be repeatable. The learning curve is fairly gentle and all in all, this is a well presented, lovely game that offers plenty to do and doesn’t force anyone out of the living room. A truly good game that anyone can play – more like this, please!