STAFF REVIEW of Matchpoint - Tennis Championships (Xbox One)


Thursday, July 7, 2022.
by Adam Dileva

Matchpoint - Tennis Championships Box art It’s been quite some time since I’ve sunk a good amount of time into an addictive Tennis game, probably not since the Top Spin series and Virtua Tennis era of early 2000 to 2010’s sometime. I’ve tried a handful of Tennis game releases here and there, but none really ever felt like an Ace or has dethroned Top Spin 4 back in 2011. So I was interested to see how Matchpoint – Tennis Championships, developed by Torus Games and published by Kalypso Media, would serve up, especially since it looks as though this may be their first foray into the genre and they generally worked on kids titles.

It’s time to hit the court, lace up those shoes, grab your racket and aim to become the world’s best tennis star champion. Focusing on positioning and aiming, Matchpoint takes the generic controls we’ve become used to over the years and tweaks them for a more realistic approach to the sport. It definitely takes time to get accustomed to but ever since being able to nail those Ace serves, I’ve had a hard time putting it down, always wanting to go one more tournament and raise my world rankings.

There’s something very satisfying when it comes to nailing the shot you exactly intend to, seeing your strategy outsmart your opponent for the point and set. The majority of your time with Matchpoint will be most likely within its deep Career Mode where you’ll rise in the world rankings with each tournament placing and win.

Before you start your career though you need to create your aspiring Tennis star, male or female. While not the most robust character creator I’ve seen, it does the job well enough to get a player you’ll most likely be content with. You even choose right or left handed as well as single or doublehanded backhand. You’ll eventually unlock new gear, clothing, rackets, shoes and more as you progress from tournament to tournament and exhibitions. There’s even some officially licensed gear from YONEX, HEAD, Babolat and more for the hardcore Tennis crowd.


Career mode then plays out how you’d expect, starting out unranked, entering tournaments and events to earn points on a unique merit-based ranking system as you try to become the best in the world, also including a handful of licensed professional players. You can expect to play as Amanda Anismova, Andrey Rublev, Benoit Paire, Heather Watson, Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios, Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud, Victoria Azarenka, Taylor Fritz, Pablo Carreno Busta, Madison Keys, Hugo Gaston, Hubert Hurkacz, Garbine Muguruza and Daniil Medvedev. Should you opt to purchase the Legends Edition, you’ll also gain access to Tommy Haas and Tim Henman. You’ve probably already noticed the glaring omissions of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Agassi and the Williams’ for female players though.

There’s over 65 different events and tournaments to take part in, allowing you to choose what you want to do on a calendar view. While these aren’t official events, they vary in player count, rounds, locales and court settings. Certain weeks also offer the opportunity for exhibition matches or even training days if you want to work on slowly leveling up your player stats permanently. As you enter and hopefully win tournaments you accumulate points that raise your world ranking, aiming to be the best in the world against the competition.

So what makes Matchpoint stand out amongst plenty of other Tennis games? For starters, you have very smooth and realistic player animations. Regardless of how your player is positioned or want to move in a certain direction, it flows quite realistically. The ball physics also seem quite realistic and combined make for a realistic flow of a Tennis match. I quite enjoyed the controls once I figured best how to use them, but more on that shortly.

What was probably the most interesting mechanic is how there’s a strength/weakness system that you can learn about your opponents. Throughout matches you might learn that your opponent isn’t good when they are near the net, or that they become better the longer a rally continues. Maybe serving them an Ace hurts their stats, it’s a really interesting mechanic that made me alter my gameplay slightly when I unveiled their strength or weakness, forcing you to adapt.


While I could look past the disparity when it comes to women and men players, a Tennis game without Doubles seems like a glaring miss. That’s right, Matchpoint only caters to one on one matches and no inclusion of doubles in any way, even online. While I’m not sure this decision was made, here’s to hoping it’s added at some point in the future, but disappointing nonetheless.

Where Matchpoint differentiates itself the most is with its unique control scheme. I will admit, it took me a handful of matches to really get the hang of, but once I did it felt completely natural and smooth, save for a few minor issues. Each button is tied to a different shot type: Top Spin, Lob, Slice or Lob, there are also modifiers with the triggers and bumpers depending on how and where you want to drop the ball. You control your player with the Left Stick but you also aim with the same Stick. How is that possible you ask? That’s where the unique controls take some getting used to, but make sense once you don’t have to think about it.

You can freely move your player around the court and once you start to hold down one of the buttons it will start to ‘charge’ that shot in a way. This doesn’t completely stop your player dead in their tracks, but does make them not move as quickly, so you need to do this once you’re relatively near to where the ball is going to land on your side of the court or else your character won’t reach it once the button starts getting held down. Once you’re holding down your shot button your Left Stick changes from your character movement to the aiming reticule of where you want to have your shot land on your opponent’s side.

I’ll admit, this took a handful of matches to get the hang of, as moving your player to one side of the court but then instantly aiming to the other feels odd at first. I promise, it eventually starts to feel quite natural, as you can directly aim the ball anywhere you want as well as the shot type you’re pressing. Practice really does make perfect here. This setup also makes the animations smooth and realistic, as actual players need to start preparing their shot once they get in range of where the ball will land and can make for some lengthy rallies once you get skilled. The only issue I had with this mechanic is that your shots are essentially 'perfect' and will land wherever your aiming reticule is the majority of the time.


That said, there are a handful of times where it’s almost as if my player gets ‘stuck’ even though they should be in range of hitting the ball once I’m preparing my shot. This caused for a few Aces against me simply because my player didn’t want to move. I found simply having them move slightly before receiving fixed this the majority of the time though and doesn’t happen nearly as often now.

You’re able to test your skills online in Ranked or Unranked matches, though due to reviewing this before launch I was unable to find anyone to play against every time I left it searching, so unfortunately I can’t comment on how the online play and progression works. There is cross-play enabled should you want, so finding a match post launch hopefully won’t be an issue.

Great controls aside, the overall presentation of Matchpoint is pretty, well, on point. It may not be officially licensed but does come across quite professional. Replays after long rallies highlight the awesome action that took place and you can even have a quick replay whenever you like after scoring points. While a small nitpick, the ball boys and girls don’t react or move when a ball ‘hits’ them and goes right through them as if they weren’t really there. They also don’t actually move or get the balls as the camera simply resets after each scoring.

While I don’t think Matchpoint will dethrone Top Spin, it’s without a doubt the best Tennis game since with its unique control scheme that allows for some serious skill play. Smooth animations and ball physics feels great and authentic, though the lack of Doubles seems like a serious miss as does not having many of the top stars of the sport. Not quite an Ace, Matchpoint is far from giving Tennis Elbow as well and a great first showing from Torus Games.

**Matchpoint - Tennis Championships (Legends Edition) was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 7.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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