Tennis Manager 2021 Review
Review Context: I’m a casual fan of tennis and recently found myself addicted to the Out of the Park Baseball franchise. I’m rather new playing sports simulators.
Date of Playthrough: September 2021
PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9700F CPU @ 3.00GHz
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER
Disclosure: This review is based off of a review copy provided for free.
As a rather new player of sports simulation games and a fan of tennis, I became interested in Tennis Manager 2021 because I wanted to see how a simulation experience would work for tennis. Recently I became addicted to Out of the Park Baseball 2021 and 2022, so I have a frame of reference of how a simulation experience might be. As someone who is a fan of tennis but not a hardcore fan, I have a casual knowledge of how the sport is set up and I do feel the sport lends itself to a possibly interesting experience of ranking up a player or team of players from scratch. With no other games on record besides a mobile version of Tennis Manager that lead to this more in depth version, Rebound CG chose to take on the tall task of developing the first successful tennis management simulator for PC, Tennis Manager 2021.
One of the main things about a simulation experience that needs to be top notch to be successful and fun is a good user interface. Remarkably, although not flawless, the user interface in Tennis Manager 2021 is actually very easy to understand and I have few issues with it. The overall interface is very easy to figure out, but the tutorial relies on pop-up windows. For an experience like this I prefer a walkthrough type of tutorial, where the player moves through the flow as tooltips appear. Regardless of my preference of type of tutorial, the actual tutorial is easily accessible if you forget what to do. The two glaring issues are the main menu needs to be better signified than initials like “TM” at the top, and the side tabs within the team management need to be eliminated because they can easily be overlooked.
The actual game flow of Tennis Manager 2021 is you coach a player and you also run a tennis academy. At the start of the game you have the choice to play in an academy already created or you can start from scratch and create your own. The defining characteristics of a tennis academy in Tennis Manager are staff, infrastructure, and team. The staff consists of trainers, physios, coaches, scouts, agents, and analysts, while the infrastructure has financial upgrades that help increase the cap number of staff members, as well as the publicity of your academy. The team is the group of tennis players within your academy, but at the start of the game you pick your starting player. There is a long list of people you can sign to your academy in whichever role you need and they all have various statistics for different strengths of playing tennis or their coaching abilities. The one thing that may be disappointing for some is that they don’t have the official license for names of real tennis players, so some letters are switched around and the Grand Slam tournaments are named generically. Good luck going up against Rafael Nabal, Novak Djorovic, and Naomi Okasa!
The game flow of the game is also relatively easy to figure out, but it’s not the best either. Unfortunately, you’ll be spending most of the time in your e-mail box where people connected to your academy message you with decisions on everything including contract offers, upcoming tournaments, and suggestions for the training regimen for the week. It’s not the most fun to be bogged down in your e-mail box most of the time, but that’s what the most of the flow is. A major positive about the game flow is that the academy objectives are very clearly found and are something that you can always work towards if you are confused what to do. Players have their own objectives, but they are unfortunately hidden away in a side tab within the contract menu so they are easy to miss. One of the more interesting aspects of the game is the training of your tennis player because you can control every aspect of their training. The game selects training exercises by default, but you can switch and move most of them around. It’s a bit tedious if you decide to micromanage all the training, but that option is there and might be up some simulator player’s alley. A disappointing aspect of the game flow is the calendar because it goes one week at a time and can’t be changed.,
The simulation of actual matches is very interesting because you can select specific game strategies for different matches and simulate without watching the matches. The other option that surprised me in a good way is the live animated simulation of matches. The quality is relatively decent and feels like I’m watching a real tennis match. During the live animation simulation you can pause and change strategies in the middle of the match to help your player. You even have dialogue options to talk to your player to lift up their confidence. The dialogue options in Tennis Manager 2021 stand out as one of the more unique things because you can also talk to the media in press conferences both before and after tournaments with the options to talk up your player or criticize them. Talking to the media is something that even Out of the Park Baseball doesn’t have.
In conclusion, Tennis Manager 2021 leaves me with feeling more positive than negative because I respect what Rebound CG is trying to develop here. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a phenomenal foundation that will only get better. With no other tennis management simulator game to compete with them, they have a huge opportunity here. The most impressive thing about Tennis Manager 2021 is that the game is very easy to understand and get into, and far easier than a game like Out of the Park Baseball. The experience also feels very RPG-like because you can see stats going up and down for your players. With some refinement of moving most of the flow of the game away from the e-mail screen a bit more and calendar simulation changes, then I can recommend the game a lot easier. The one wildcard about Tennis Manager is that it supports modding, so if a mod comes out that really spices it up, then I can see this game take off in big ways. Aside from that caveat, management simulator fans who are also tennis fans should check this out.
Similar Games Liked:
Out of the Park Baseball 22 (PC)