While it’d be easy to dismiss King of Tennis as a fun but brief distraction – play it once then confine it to the dark recesses of one of your iPhone’s many Games folders – it is in fact a work of simple genius.
So what’s the dealio? You’d be forgiven for assuming that King of Tennis sees you take control of a plucky young upstart who claws his way up from the dirt to play in Grand Slam finals.
You might also imagine an RPG element, in which you spend time training in order to gain skill points, gradually evolving until you become an unstoppable acing machine and, as the title suggests, the King of Tennis.
Well, on both counts, you’d be miles out.
In King of Tennis, you don’t play tennis at all. No siree. Obviously – *ahem* – you control the King, who happens to be sitting front and centre at a tennis match. The aim is to follow the on-court action by tapping the screen, which moves the King’s head left and right. If you mess up (say the ball hits the net but you still turn your head), the action suddenly stops and the crowd becomes inexplicably incensed. Surreal.
That is literally all there is to King of Tennis, but it’s genuinely brilliant. I initially decided it was too easy and set out to ramp up a ludicrously high score, but time and time again I found myself screwing up. How bloomin’ hard can it be to tap the screen as the ball floats over the net?
King of Tennis is a true test of concentration. The moment you become nonchalant about it, it’s over. Clearly the mechanics are beyond simple, but they’re perfectly balanced so that any time you fail it’s your own damn fault.
Sound-wise, there’s not much to King of Tennis, other than the mesmerising knock of the tennis ball, a bleep when the King turns his head, and an occasional cheer from the crowd. But that’s all it needs, really.
- Challenging – tough but fair
- Easy to learn, hard to put down
- Ultimately very basic
- Highly addictive
- The Home and Retry buttons are way too small
Summary: King of Tennis was developed by Takaaki Ogiwara, who we can only assume is absolutely mental. Give King of Tennis a bash. It’s loads of fun, and entirely free.
Developer: Takaaki Ogiwara @ Poppy
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.
Price: free @ App Store