Veteran mobile games developer Handheld Games Corp. has recently released TouchSports Tennis '09 [App Store] for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Right off, we want to indicate that TouchSports Tennis really is a "console quality" sports title.  It looks and feels much more like something you'd expect to see on a Sony PSP than most of the sports titles in the App Store.  The 3D court environment and players move smoothly and fluidly in a manner reminiscent of Wii Sports' tennis, but with realistic rather than cartoonish graphics.

TouchSports Tennis features a combination of touchscreen and accelerometer controls that takes a little bit of getting used to, but ultimately offers a solid interface to the on-screen action. The player always controls the near-side, on-screen character.  Serving involves a single tap which brings up a power bar that increases in strength until it's tapped a second time, triggering a serve.  A tap anywhere on the player's side of the court sends the character running to that location.  The on-screen character automatically swings when a ball passes within her vicinity.  Tilting the iPhone left or right at the moment of swing determines the shot angle.  The control system works very well but my main criticism is that regardless of how hard the iPhone is tilted, the ball won't land out of bounds.  That's a little too much of a "gimme."  Eurocenter's more recent release, Ace Tennis Online [App Store], offers similar gameplay but with the potential for out of bounds shots, albeit in cartoonish, 2D graphics.

TouchSports Tennis offers two play modes: Quick Play and Tournament.  Quick Play, as named, places you directly in a game with a pre-chosen character.  Tournament mode lets you examine the various players' attributes and choose your character as well as your opponent for the match.

We have spoken with CEO Thomas Fessler regarding complaints from certain users that the game will not launch on their devices.  He informs us that TouchSports Tennis will not, in its current version, function properly on jailbroken iPhones.  A number of App Store reviewers have panned the game on these grounds.  We feel that, as it is an official App Store release, one really can't legitimately take the developer to task for issues on jailbroken devices.  As such, we do not consider the current jailbreak incompatibility to be a shortcoming.

The combination of solid controls, impressive 3D visuals, and atmospheric court and crowd sounds makes for a very enjoyable game of mobile tennis.  It's a fun game that's engaging to play.  Tennis fans would do well to have a look at $4.99 TouchSports Tennis '09.  We are anxious to see what other sports titles are in store from Handheld Games Corp.

The developer is readying an updated version that will debut shortly and feature:

  • Increased frame rate on older hardware
  • Improvements to ball physics
  • Enhanced Player A/I
  • BugFixes to handling of message events
  • Interface adjustment and tweaks
  • Game announcer localized to French

Handheld Games Corp's development team has created games for a vast array of mobile devices dating all the way back to the Atari Lynx, Gameboy Color, Sega GameGear, and GAME.COM.  They are no strangers to tackling the limitations of pocketable game devices.

Our engineers embrace Assembly language, our artists think and dream in limited palettes, our musicians can perform awesome compilations in less than two channels of audio, and our designers enjoy pushing the envelopes of game play in the environment defined by the platforms we develop for.

We're glad to see that, as evidenced by TouchSports Tennis, even on a modern device as capable as the iPhone, they're still pushing the limits.

Game Details
Name: TouchSports Tennis (v1.0) Price: $4.99 [Buy]
Developer: Handheld Games Corp. Size: 6.1 MB
TouchSports Tennis is one of the most realistic sports titles available in the App Store.  It has impressive 3D visuals and solid, though rather simplistic, control system.

TouchArcade Rating

  • SalsaMD

    This game is great and has serious potential!

    From the developer yesterday

    Hey everyone!

    It been a long week! The product had issues with compatibility on JailBroken phones - which has been resolved along with some initial frame rate increases by offloading most of the character bone movements onto the GPU. The unfortunate Jailbreak comptabiity oversight has cost us sales in international stores where Jailbreak is more common. That version was released last night.

    Second off - we have a new beta that will be going out to select users from TouchArcade and our Support contacts later today that provides a revamped hitting system that is very close to what was described earlier. Players now have an ability to control exactly where the ball is hit:

    • Tilting forward moves the hit towards the front of the court
    • Tilting back moves he hit towards the back of the net.
    • Based on your position on the court and your opponents position, the type of return shot is auto selected, lobb / slam / etc.

    AI has also been revamped, providing a more dynamic opponent to play against the net.

    Framerate on slower devices, such as the iPod touch, looks and feels equal to that of the iPhone 3G! However, we have to slow gameplay down now on the 3G and Touch 2G to accomodate this massive speed increase.

    • den

      thanks alot

  • SalsaMD

    This game is great and has serious potential!

    From the developer yesterday

    Hey everyone!

    It been a long week! The product had issues with compatibility on JailBroken phones - which has been resolved along with some initial frame rate increases by offloading most of the character bone movements onto the GPU. The unfortunate Jailbreak comptabiity oversight has cost us sales in international stores where Jailbreak is more common. That version was released last night.

    Second off - we have a new beta that will be going out to select users from TouchArcade and our Support contacts later today that provides a revamped hitting system that is very close to what was described earlier. Players now have an ability to control exactly where the ball is hit:

    • Tilting forward moves the hit towards the front of the court
    • Tilting back moves he hit towards the back of the net.
    • Based on your position on the court and your opponents position, the type of return shot is auto selected, lobb / slam / etc.

    AI has also been revamped, providing a more dynamic opponent to play against the net.

    Framerate on slower devices, such as the iPod touch, looks and feels equal to that of the iPhone 3G! However, we have to slow gameplay down now on the 3G and Touch 2G to accomodate this massive speed increase.

    • den

      thanks alot

  • http://wastedyuthe.wordpress.com/ Barry Ward (aka wastedyuthe)

    "We feel that, as it is an official App Store release, one really can’t legitimately take the developer to task for issues on jailbroken devices. As such, we do not consider the current jailbreak incompatibility to be a valid complaint"

    Completely agree! It's ok to mention it to the developer so they can try and fix it, but to give negative reviews for this is wrong.

  • http://wastedyuthe.wordpress.com/ Barry Ward (aka wastedyuthe)

    "We feel that, as it is an official App Store release, one really can’t legitimately take the developer to task for issues on jailbroken devices. As such, we do not consider the current jailbreak incompatibility to be a valid complaint"

    Completely agree! It's ok to mention it to the developer so they can try and fix it, but to give negative reviews for this is wrong.

  • Brian

    I want to buy this game. Really, I do. However, I'm divided. Why? The fake reviews.

    Yeah, you read that right. The real shame in "TouchSports Tennis" is not the gameplay or game itself, but the shameless fake reviews that populate their title's page on the iTunes store. I'm not pointing fingers, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which "team" the reviewers conveniently "bat" for. Simply read their previous reviews. One reviewer had the audacity to flat-out rip the other tennis titles while boasting the rating of his own. Come on! I mean, really, guys. We're not that dim. At least make it hard to figure out that you work for the company!

    Look, I'm going to buy TouchSports Tennis. You should, too. Why? Because it looks like a very solid game with a lot of fantastic potential. But here's a tip for developers who want to get people to buy their titles. Ready? Make your game unbelievably outstanding. Don't settle. Be a genre breaker. Then make your title EVEN BETTER. You don't think people bought "Quake" and "Doom" because of the advertising, do you? Quality titles attract the dollars. It's that easy.

  • Brian

    I want to buy this game. Really, I do. However, I'm divided. Why? The fake reviews.

    Yeah, you read that right. The real shame in "TouchSports Tennis" is not the gameplay or game itself, but the shameless fake reviews that populate their title's page on the iTunes store. I'm not pointing fingers, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which "team" the reviewers conveniently "bat" for. Simply read their previous reviews. One reviewer had the audacity to flat-out rip the other tennis titles while boasting the rating of his own. Come on! I mean, really, guys. We're not that dim. At least make it hard to figure out that you work for the company!

    Look, I'm going to buy TouchSports Tennis. You should, too. Why? Because it looks like a very solid game with a lot of fantastic potential. But here's a tip for developers who want to get people to buy their titles. Ready? Make your game unbelievably outstanding. Don't settle. Be a genre breaker. Then make your title EVEN BETTER. You don't think people bought "Quake" and "Doom" because of the advertising, do you? Quality titles attract the dollars. It's that easy.

  • diesel

    Brian........ummmm what are you talking about. on the game's app store title page, they quote from pocket gamer, TUAW, Tom's Guide.........i know of pocketgamer and TUAW. you make it seem like they are all in the pockets of the developer which it's safe to say is not the case.

    Now if you are actually referring to the user reviews, you get a alot of mixed reviews with great reviews as well as really dismal reviews due to crashing or not working app as discussed in the article. I don't see any specific competitor tennis apps mentioned but only generalities about other tennis apps (amateurish was a term used), which if you were to actually look at the other tennis app screenshots, they don't compare to this game's screenshots. so i'm at a loss as to your implication.....well not implication but accusation that the dev is grossly pumping the app. i for one have not yet bought the game but am on the fence about it, and well you can accuse me of being in the pockets of the dev as well but i will say i'm in no way affiliated.

  • diesel

    Brian........ummmm what are you talking about. on the game's app store title page, they quote from pocket gamer, TUAW, Tom's Guide.........i know of pocketgamer and TUAW. you make it seem like they are all in the pockets of the developer which it's safe to say is not the case.

    Now if you are actually referring to the user reviews, you get a alot of mixed reviews with great reviews as well as really dismal reviews due to crashing or not working app as discussed in the article. I don't see any specific competitor tennis apps mentioned but only generalities about other tennis apps (amateurish was a term used), which if you were to actually look at the other tennis app screenshots, they don't compare to this game's screenshots. so i'm at a loss as to your implication.....well not implication but accusation that the dev is grossly pumping the app. i for one have not yet bought the game but am on the fence about it, and well you can accuse me of being in the pockets of the dev as well but i will say i'm in no way affiliated.

  • Handheld Games

    I guess this review from TouchArcade is out of line with most of the reviews on iTunes? Hmmm. Doesn't sound like it. Well except for the people with 1 star - purposefully trashing the title because it crashes on their modded iPhone. And regarding comparative reviews - its the nature of the beast. I can't say we posted any "Fake Reviews" as you mention. We're working hard on the title, the next release, supporting our customers AND marketing the product. We reach out to our reader base and encourage as many people as possible to post reviews if they like the game.

    I hope you buy TouchSports Tennis '09 - you shouldn't be disappointed And if you do... As O ask all our customers - Please review it! WE LOVE FEEDBACK!!! It can only make the game better.

  • Handheld Games

    I guess this review from TouchArcade is out of line with most of the reviews on iTunes? Hmmm. Doesn't sound like it. Well except for the people with 1 star - purposefully trashing the title because it crashes on their modded iPhone. And regarding comparative reviews - its the nature of the beast. I can't say we posted any "Fake Reviews" as you mention. We're working hard on the title, the next release, supporting our customers AND marketing the product. We reach out to our reader base and encourage as many people as possible to post reviews if they like the game.

    I hope you buy TouchSports Tennis '09 - you shouldn't be disappointed And if you do... As O ask all our customers - Please review it! WE LOVE FEEDBACK!!! It can only make the game better.

  • Nagromme

    I wasn't aware that the devices differed in speed. Interesting to know, if that's true.

  • Nagromme

    I wasn't aware that the devices differed in speed. Interesting to know, if that's true.

  • Noah

    I just watched the first minute of the video... the ball seems to be traveling very slow across the court. Is that intentional?

  • Noah

    I just watched the first minute of the video... the ball seems to be traveling very slow across the court. Is that intentional?

  • http://pcwizcomputer.com pcwiz

    Works fine on my iPod Touch 1G 2.1 Jailbroken. I found the game hard :P

  • http://pcwizcomputer.com pcwiz

    Works fine on my iPod Touch 1G 2.1 Jailbroken. I found the game hard :P

  • HHG

    What type of jailbreak on what device? We are interested to find out what works for our users.

    THX!
    HHG

  • HHG

    What type of jailbreak on what device? We are interested to find out what works for our users.

    THX!
    HHG

  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    really love this game
    pick up & play
    console graphics
    one of the best on ipod touch

  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    really love this game
    pick up & play
    console graphics
    one of the best on ipod touch

  • Marcus

    @pcwiz,

    I'm also currently using an iPod Touch 1st gen that's jailbroken, but it doesn't work for me!!! I'm not going to leave a bad review yet though, i'll give it a couple more days. Support's been really good though.

  • Marcus

    @pcwiz,

    I'm also currently using an iPod Touch 1st gen that's jailbroken, but it doesn't work for me!!! I'm not going to leave a bad review yet though, i'll give it a couple more days. Support's been really good though.

  • xenol

    Game not worth buy now at current version. I bought it, played for 10 mins and deleted it. It's very easy and primitive, every serve can be played for 5 mins because it's impossible to miss the ball even at hard level. You can manage every hit just to go left or right and that's all you can do within this game... No man players, no stats, no real tournaments.

    Pros: Graphic is almost perfect.
    So let's wait what developers can do to gameplay in future updates.

  • xenol

    Game not worth buy now at current version. I bought it, played for 10 mins and deleted it. It's very easy and primitive, every serve can be played for 5 mins because it's impossible to miss the ball even at hard level. You can manage every hit just to go left or right and that's all you can do within this game... No man players, no stats, no real tournaments.

    Pros: Graphic is almost perfect.
    So let's wait what developers can do to gameplay in future updates.

  • HHG

    With the submission of an update tomorrow, with or without the fix for Jailbroke phones, game play on TouchSports Tennis should exceed everyone's expectations. It's a great game to buy today and something that is going to continue to evolve and get better with every update!

    We've really amped up ball control - ball hit style - hitting the ball out of bounds - player AI - making easy difficulty a bit more challenging!

  • HHG

    With the submission of an update tomorrow, with or without the fix for Jailbroke phones, game play on TouchSports Tennis should exceed everyone's expectations. It's a great game to buy today and something that is going to continue to evolve and get better with every update!

    We've really amped up ball control - ball hit style - hitting the ball out of bounds - player AI - making easy difficulty a bit more challenging!

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  • Travis

    The game looks great! The "squeaks" from the players shoes on the court are so high-pitched that it hurts... like running fingers down a chalkboard, making it hard for me to play without wincing from the sound. :( Otherwise impressive job!

  • Travis

    The game looks great! The "squeaks" from the players shoes on the court are so high-pitched that it hurts... like running fingers down a chalkboard, making it hard for me to play without wincing from the sound. :( Otherwise impressive job!

  • HHG

    LOL!!!! And here i thought the explosive sounds of the ball hitting the court was too loud. Thanks for the feedback - We are planning taking a look a leveling off some of the sounds tomorrow - optimized for headset play! Thanks for the feeback! PLEASE - post a review on the iTunes store. We recommend all our users to do so.

    Thx!
    HHG

  • HHG

    LOL!!!! And here i thought the explosive sounds of the ball hitting the court was too loud. Thanks for the feedback - We are planning taking a look a leveling off some of the sounds tomorrow - optimized for headset play! Thanks for the feeback! PLEASE - post a review on the iTunes store. We recommend all our users to do so.

    Thx!
    HHG

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  • risc1

    Hey HHG! I bought this game in appreciation and support for all the hard work and dedication you have shown in ensuring you have good quality product for your consumers. :) I know there are some improvement opportunities but I bought it regardless of that because of how cool you've been about putting in the people's suggestions. I hope all devs are as open and as responsive as you are! Looking forward to more releases from HHG. More power! :)

  • risc1

    Hey HHG! I bought this game in appreciation and support for all the hard work and dedication you have shown in ensuring you have good quality product for your consumers. :) I know there are some improvement opportunities but I bought it regardless of that because of how cool you've been about putting in the people's suggestions. I hope all devs are as open and as responsive as you are! Looking forward to more releases from HHG. More power! :)

  • Zenja

    Hey, a competitor to a Tennis game I'm also developing for the iPhone. Competition is good for consumers, and I must admit I'm impressed with the graphics. This means that I have to polish my version even more, since now I have a true competitor. Best of luck, and look out for ZenTennis coming soon (well, a bit later since I've realised that the goalposts have just moved thanks to TS Tennis).

  • Zenja

    Hey, a competitor to a Tennis game I'm also developing for the iPhone. Competition is good for consumers, and I must admit I'm impressed with the graphics. This means that I have to polish my version even more, since now I have a true competitor. Best of luck, and look out for ZenTennis coming soon (well, a bit later since I've realised that the goalposts have just moved thanks to TS Tennis).

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  • SalsaMD

    @Zenja

    Bring it on!! Move the frontier of excellence and quality ever forward!! If you've got good game with your goods, you're gonna get paid!

  • SalsaMD

    @Zenja

    Bring it on!! Move the frontier of excellence and quality ever forward!! If you've got good game with your goods, you're gonna get paid!

  • HHG

    Heck - I look forward to playing the game!! I could get "upset" because Zen is tooting his horn - Nahhhhh!

    The marketplace is huge and great teams can make games! The TouchSports Tennis '09 Tennis team has and continues to put their best forward on this title. We're just having a difficulty time figuring out the Jailbreak issue.

  • HHG

    Heck - I look forward to playing the game!! I could get "upset" because Zen is tooting his horn - Nahhhhh!

    The marketplace is huge and great teams can make games! The TouchSports Tennis '09 Tennis team has and continues to put their best forward on this title. We're just having a difficulty time figuring out the Jailbreak issue.

  • jay santos

    Brian,

    Even if what you say is true, I guess presidential candidates shouldn't vote for themselves? For the love of God! ... of course fans of the company and maybe some developers did a review on the game to give it support. The truth will come out in the public reviewing of the game anyways (unless 100,000 people worked on it LOL). Either way, 6 months from now you will probably call the rating fake anyways if its 4-5 stars. Are you going to call it fake if it has ONE STAR in 6 months? Probably not. Get a grip.

  • jay santos

    Brian,

    Even if what you say is true, I guess presidential candidates shouldn't vote for themselves? For the love of God! ... of course fans of the company and maybe some developers did a review on the game to give it support. The truth will come out in the public reviewing of the game anyways (unless 100,000 people worked on it LOL). Either way, 6 months from now you will probably call the rating fake anyways if its 4-5 stars. Are you going to call it fake if it has ONE STAR in 6 months? Probably not. Get a grip.

  • Marcus

    FINALLY! The game freaking works at last. It's a bit buggy but the graphics are amazing, and i prefer this waaaaaaay more than Ace Tennis Online.

    Suggestions:

    Male Characters
    Better control system (refer to that long thread)
    Reduced sounds

  • Marcus

    FINALLY! The game freaking works at last. It's a bit buggy but the graphics are amazing, and i prefer this waaaaaaay more than Ace Tennis Online.

    Suggestions:

    Male Characters
    Better control system (refer to that long thread)
    Reduced sounds

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  • SalsaMD

    From the Developer:

    From the product update page at TouchSports.com:

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    In version 1.0.2, were improving ball control, ratcheting up the AI and to a lot of polish and optimization!

    We’re down to one last issue of our first update and we hope to have it locked soon.

    From the prioritized feedback we received from our users, we are announcing the 1.0.2 update to TouchSports™ Tennis ‘09!

    Gamers will be happy to find:

    -Improved frame rates on all Hardware by offloading additional process to GPU.
    -Improved frame rate on iPod touch, iPhone & iPhone 3G with platform specific Levels of detail.
    -Hit return targeting system, allowing precise hit returns.
    -Improved ball physics.
    -Improved opponent AI.
    -Save/Resume current game on game exit and startup.
    -In-Game options now accessible through Settings Panel.
    -Level off sound effects.
    -Fixes to system notification related issues.
    -A bunch of small adjustments/improvements to menus and UI.

    Regarding Jailbreak: If you increase the RAM requirements of the iPhone OS with applications that modify/skin the look and feel of the iphone, thus modifying memory requirements, TouchSports™ Tennis ’09 will not work on your device. Loading these applications with no changes also result in TouchSports™ Tennis ‘09 failing to run.

    Thx!
    HHG
    __________________
    Developers of TouchSports Tennis '09
    And about 80+ other games on many portable entertainment platforms.

    Visit the TouchSports Tennis site

  • SalsaMD

    From the Developer:

    From the product update page at TouchSports.com:

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    In version 1.0.2, were improving ball control, ratcheting up the AI and to a lot of polish and optimization!

    We’re down to one last issue of our first update and we hope to have it locked soon.

    From the prioritized feedback we received from our users, we are announcing the 1.0.2 update to TouchSports™ Tennis ‘09!

    Gamers will be happy to find:

    -Improved frame rates on all Hardware by offloading additional process to GPU.
    -Improved frame rate on iPod touch, iPhone & iPhone 3G with platform specific Levels of detail.
    -Hit return targeting system, allowing precise hit returns.
    -Improved ball physics.
    -Improved opponent AI.
    -Save/Resume current game on game exit and startup.
    -In-Game options now accessible through Settings Panel.
    -Level off sound effects.
    -Fixes to system notification related issues.
    -A bunch of small adjustments/improvements to menus and UI.

    Regarding Jailbreak: If you increase the RAM requirements of the iPhone OS with applications that modify/skin the look and feel of the iphone, thus modifying memory requirements, TouchSports™ Tennis ’09 will not work on your device. Loading these applications with no changes also result in TouchSports™ Tennis ‘09 failing to run.

    Thx!
    HHG
    __________________
    Developers of TouchSports Tennis '09
    And about 80+ other games on many portable entertainment platforms.

    Visit the TouchSports Tennis site

  • Tom

    I thought Jailbroken iPhones were made illegal by Apple now.

  • Tom

    I thought Jailbroken iPhones were made illegal by Apple now.

  • http://www.irenelim.com/fashion Irenelim

    This looks like an awesome game for iPhone users! Great to get a copy now as Paris Open is hot now!

  • http://www.irenelim.com/fashion Irenelim

    This looks like an awesome game for iPhone users! Great to get a copy now as Paris Open is hot now!

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  • Vern

    Bought the app and found out it would not load on my 2nd Gen Touch without buying a softeware upgrade. My Touch was bought only 2 months ago. I guess my beef is with Itunes for not telling me it would not work and the developer for the incompatability.

  • Vern

    Bought the app and found out it would not load on my 2nd Gen Touch without buying a softeware upgrade. My Touch was bought only 2 months ago. I guess my beef is with Itunes for not telling me it would not work and the developer for the incompatability.

  • http://www.fd.com air

    softeware upgrade. My Touch was bought only 2 months ago. I guess my beef is with Itunes for not telling me it would not work and the developer for the incompatability.
    Reply

  • http://www.fd.com air

    softeware upgrade. My Touch was bought only 2 months ago. I guess my beef is with Itunes for not telling me it would not work and the developer for the incompatability.
    Reply