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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Palm OS and Pocket PC games

Tennis Addict, by Hexacto Games $19.95-$29.95, for Palm OS PDAs with OS 3.5 and above, Pocket PCs
Reviewed July 2002

From the very first time you lay eyes on this game, you want to like it. Tennis Addict, developed by Hexacto Games, simply looks gorgeous: from the beautiful title screens to the various court images, from the smooth movements of players and shadows of the ball as it moves across the court, everything in Tennis Addict screams Top Seed. But if you want to get number one ranking, you must learn the stylus controls.

There are two types of games you can play in Tennis Addict: Quick Match and Tournament. Quick Match is a battle between you and the Pocket PC. This is set for best of 3 or 5 games, and you can choose your player (from a selection of 4) and your opponent (from a selection of 16 players), all with different speeds, stamina, forehand/backhand precision and forehand/backhand strength. You can also pick the rackets based on how much they enhance the players' stats. Tournament mode has three levels: Amateur, Professional and All-Star. You need to win matches to gain levels as well as experience points. At higher levels and experience points, you will be rewarded with better rackets, more speed, stamina and strength.

Tennis Addict also gives you four choices in court selection: indoor carpet, outdoor clay, outdoor grass and outdoor hard court. You will experience some difference in speed between the clay court and the hard court, but not as much as in real life. Serving and return of serve are the only time you can tell the difference in court speed; the speed of baseline strokes is almost identical on all courts to me.

Before you start your tourney, you should go through the Training courses. Tennis Addict uses Hexacto's unique Precise Stylus Input technology that allows you control the game play with your stylus. It took me a surprisingly long time to get used to this type of control, because I made a mistake by thinking that I could just pick up this game and play after mastering a couple of tennis games on PS2 and in the arcade. The lesson I learned is to go through the Training courses where the game shows where the ball will land when you draw a stroke with your stylus. In the real matches you don't see the indicator where the ball will land, you only see where you draw the stroke lines. Repeat the stroke lines you used during training to perform the strokes in real matches. Once you've gotten this down, start to really enjoying this game and trying all sorts of moves.

The visuals in this game are a treat. The game displays in landscape mode. The court images are sharp; the player movements are precise and smooth. You can see the trace of ball moving from your racket to the other side of the net. And when you play the real matches, you will see a few front rows of audience as well. The sound effects of the audience and umpire are realistic and clear. The game keeps your scores in money and match winnings; and if you think you are real good, you can sync your scores online at the Tennis Addict Web Lobby.

Other than the learning curve in the game control, Tennis Addict has the best visuals, great depth and fun game play. It plays better on Toshiba e740 (XScale) than iPAQ 3835 for some reason. So if you like it when you play it on ARM Pocket PCs, you should have no problem playing it on an XScale Pocket PC.

Playing Hints and Tips

Go through the training programs, every one of them. And remember where the lines are in your court that correspond to where the ball lands. You will need to re-draw these lines in the real matches, but you won't see the indicator shows where the balls will land. So remember and practice.

Tennis Addict screen shot

Above are Tennis Addict for Pocket PC. Below on Palm.

Tennis Addict Palm

Pocket PC $29.95
Palm $19.95


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Stunning visuals, period.
Sound Clear and realistic sound effects, from the applauding to the umpires. Some people didn't like the fact that there is no music while you are playing. Well, get this: you can even whisper while players are playing at the All England Club!
Fun Meter You must be patient and get over the learning curve of using the stylus if you are naturally used to the button controls. It's a tough game to play if you don't pass this step. But once you get it, the game play is pure fun.
Addictivity With the Quick Match and Tournament design, this game has a great depth. The number of players, rackets and courts you can choose from, the possibilities are abundant.

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