As you can probably tell by the number of posts I've published about the game in the last week or two, I'm a bit obsessed with Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip at the moment.
I'd be lying if I said that surprised me; after all, I've always loved a good tennis title. Of course, most, if not all, of the tennis games I've loved over the years--such as Final Match Tennis for the PC Engine, Super Tennis for the SNES and Virtua Tennis for the Dreamcast--have been fairly straightforward approximations of the sport.
One of the few exceptions to that rule: Nintendo's Mario Tennis titles, which tend to eschew both tradition and seriousness in favor of good old-fashioned fun.
Although I'd definitely call the fun that can be had in Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip "good," I wouldn't call it "old-fashioned"--as I'm sure you'll see after you read the following list of four things I love about this crazy, Clap Hanz-developed title.
1. Crazy costumes--I mentioned in a previous post about Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip that I wore some sort of Elizabethan or Victorian gown during a recent match. Well, that crazy "costume" is just the tip of the iceberg in this wackadoodle game. Other head-scratching outfits currently taking up space in my characters' lockers include a grass skirt, a kimono, a panda suit (barely visible in the screenshot above) and a tutu.
2. An even crazier cast of opponents--I seem to be about half-way through the game at this point, and already I've competed against a chef, a cheerleader, a farmer, a Helghast (from the Killzone series), an "island dancer," a maid, a movie star, a ninja, a sumo wrestler and a surfer.
3. Loonier-than-the-Looney-Tunes story--Really, it's like a modern counterpart to the silly, strange story that supports the TurboGrafx-16 "classic," World Court Tennis. The goal in that much-maligned (although not by me) game: To bring peace to a place called Tennis Kingdom. The goal in Hot Shots Tennis: To bring the joy of tennis to, among other folks, the aforementioned cheerleader and movie star.
4. Wide variety of wacky settings--Most tennis titles give you a choice of three or four courts--clay, grass, hard (cement) and, sometimes, indoor--and that's it. Boring! All of them can be found in Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip, of course, but the crazy locales that surround those courts--including a mountaintop dojo, a TV studio set and a wooden pier--help separate this game from its yawn-inducing competitors.
See also: Previous Hot Shots Tennis posts