Games are usually focused in challenging and entertaining players. Be it playing alone or with friends. Some people still struggle to accept that games can be much more than that. Sometimes a piece of art. Some other times, a beautiful message that makes you rethink your life. And this is the case of Tennis Story, a title from Gersh Games LLC published through Xbox Live Creators Program. In this game, you play as the new kid of the tennis team and will live a true story, the story of Gersh Payzer, developer of this game. Shall we?
- The Story: It’s hard to tell you about the story of this game without giving any spoilers. Especially since it’s one of the best parts about it. Let’s just say it’s a story about “tennis, loss and forgiveness”, so I can make you curious enough without compromising your interest for the game.
- Music: Some tracks of the game are really good, giving the perfect tone to what’s going on the screen. I can testify the selection of music used in this game is very, very good. One of them in special, a rock’n’roll track that contrasts with the calmer ones of the game, has already found a place in my Spotify list (from Ashamaluev. You can listen to this specific song at YouTube through the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhd9yGftpL8).
- Free: Yeah, that’s right. The game is absolutely free for you to try it. Where I live, we have a saying that goes for something like ‘for free, even a wrong bus’. So how can it be a bad thing? Well, I’m afraid we will find it out soon.
- Visuals: I understand that, for a one-man project like this, bashing the game for not having the most beautiful graphics would be unfair. But the visuals of the game should have more polishing and maybe more details. Even though the developer opted for a simpler graphic style (kinda like Wii Sports), like many other games do and excel at it, seeing how rough Tennis Story become took a lot of the charming of the game.
- Broken gameplay: Tennis Story is all about the story being told, like in those walking simulators or graphic novels. But it tries to add some variety to the formula with some minigames and tennis matches. The problem is that the gameplay in each one of these segments is broken. I believe it’s the result of the porting process from the PC version, with commands not working properly. Sometimes you don’t even need to act at all and the story will continue, without doing anything. Or while in tennis matches, you can just hold the button to hit the ball and your character will do the rest. Sigh =(
- And broken animations: The animations of the game are very poor. You will notice characters acting very strange, going through solid objects (what I personally call ‘The Crew’ effect). While walking, sometimes they will run without leaving the place, while in others they will just slide until the destination. You will see NPCs disappear or showing up where they weren’t supposed to be.
- Con.ver.sa.tions: If you don’t like games with long conversations, you better stay away from Tennis Story. But the ones who enjoy a good story will have some trouble too because. The. Text. Speed. Is. Very. Sloo. oow. This isn’t a problem when you have an option to adjust the text speed. But since this isn’t the case, it becomes an annoying issue.
- Short duration: The game is overly short and will be finished in less than two hours. It’s hard to criticize a game for its duration when it can tell you its story in less than a couple hours, but do you sometimes feel you are not receiving enough content for what you’re paying? This is one of these cases. Even though you didn’t actually pay for it in this case.
- Where are the voices? The trailer for the game shows some voice acting for its characters, but apparently it didn’t make to the final version of the game. That’s a pity =(
Score: 26% There’s a beautiful story message hidden in this game, there’s no doubt of it. But it’s hidden so deep under bad mechanics and presentation that’s hard for me to indicate you to try the game. But knowing this is a single-man project done by a young boy (!), I want to congratulate him for what he achieved with this project, wishing this is going to be only the first of many games he develops.
Developer: Gersh Games LLC. Publisher: Gersh Games LLC.
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PC
Time to beat: Less than 2 hours
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: No Gamerscore available in this title.
Perfect for: Those who enjoy a good story
Xbox Game Store link: Click here
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.