Happiness is a magical feeling that is unique to every person, but in the world of Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip, you bring smiles wherever you venture by whacking a felt ball past slow swingers. It's a silly premise, but the delight you dole out with your trusty racket isn't trapped in this fictional world. The fast-paced action on the court exudes joy, ensuring you are enveloped in the same good cheer as your competitors after a well-fought match. It takes awhile before you reach competition worthy of your lofty skills, but even when you're taking down ninjas or tribal villagers in straight sets, the responsive controls and charming atmosphere keep you invested in the lively proceedings. Everything isn't peaches and candy in Hot Shots Tennis, though. The cluttered on-court interface can serve as a distraction and the meandering story between matches drags on for too long. But the light always shines through the darkness, and there are so many unlockables to strive for that you'll be sucked into this happy world for hours.
6268044The natives didn't have a chance.None
Your quest to bring happiness to the world starts at a small tennis club. One member thinks he's a real hot shot on the court, and you have to teach him some humility before he understands the cheering potential of his favorite sport. Once you ensnare this young man in your strings of joy, you travel to other places in the world, besting everyone on the court with your bliss-giving racket. Creating a trail of elation wherever you walk is certainly a noble cause, but the story only gets in the way of the frantic tennis action. You have to wander around each new map you visit, talking to people about their boring problems and challenging anyone who's up for a game until you finally reach the boss of that area. Aside from a few simple puzzles, there isn't anything else to do in these places, either. Instead, you dutifully scroll through waves of forgettable text until you mercifully find your way back on the court.
Thankfully, once you're on the court, most of the problems fade away, though it's not quite perfect. When the story mode starts out, you have only a few different shot types, which means you have to focus on positioning and timing rather than trying to figure out which button you should push when the ball is flying toward your head. This serves as an easy tutorial, although early on, the many icons that attempt to guide you can be distracting. Depending on when you hit the ball, you either have a musical note (for a perfect hit), a rabbit (early), or a turtle (late) pop up above your head, along with a number telling you just how off you were with your timing. These symbols are helpful once you learn to quickly identify them, but in the beginning, they just complicate the simple action. Also, after a successful hit, the tennis ball is adorned with a circle, triangle, or X over it to indicate which button was used to return the shot, but this, too, gets in the way of just smashing that green ball right back at your opponent.