Lace Mamba Global made a name for itself through the delivery of retail packaged point-n’-click adventures that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day in many countries. From that respectable foundation, the publisher’s catalogue has developed into a much more varied collection of platform titles, real-time strategy (RTS) videogames and RPGs, culminating in this, Full Ace Tennis Simulator, their first sports title.
As Lace Mamba Global have become famous for delivering strict, compulsion driven videogame experiences, expecting their first foray into sports to parallel the light-hearted flavours of FIFA or 2K Sports’ collection of NBA and NHL titles would be nothing short of foolhardy. Full Ace Tennis Simulator is exactly what the title suggests: a simulation of the sport. Full Ace Tennis Simulator covers every aspect of tennis, from creating a character to developing your skills over a life-long career, there’s very little that isn’t touched upon by this strict, compulsion driven videogame adaptation of tennis.
The character creation process is unlike any other seen in modern sports titles, but this is mainly due to the user interface. As opposed to a step-by-step process that gently guides the player through looks, name and attributes, Full Ace Tennis Simulator features a structure more closely related to an editing suite for video and audio productions. Everything is navigated by the tip of the mouse pointer rather than virtual boxes or ‘OK’ buttons, and the degree of control the player has over the resulting character is simply remarkable. And this customisation effort is also transferable to the custom courts and events, offering a rather comprehensive suite for player created content.
In-game it’s more of the same. Full Ace Tennis Simulator recommends you play with an analogue controller, as the degree of accuracy demanded is almost unparalleled in the genre. The physics applied to the ball on impact with rackets and the ground surfaces is far ahead of the competition, arguably aligning Full Ace Tennis Simulator with some of the best examples of real world properties that gaming has yet offered. Again, this is where the ‘simulation’ factor of Full Ace Tennis Simulator comes into play: the speed and direction of the ball is entirely predictable if you have some pre-established knowledge of such behaviours.
Full Ace Tennis Simulator features the usual assortment of exhibition and career matches, customisable to the nth degree, and also features online multiplayer gameplay. Tournaments and one-off matches are available online, and are enjoyable in their barebones presentation. An unusual turn of events for a modern videogame production: Full Ace Tennis Simulator is a videogame plentiful every respect, bar the immediacy of online matchmaking and game chat.
Many videogames claim to be simulators, but in an industry of growing costs and shrinking margins, more niche products are becoming far harder to come by. Full Ace Tennis Simulator does exactly what it claims to: there’s simply very little to draw comparison between the likes of Full Ace Tennis Simulator and Smash Court Tennis or Virtua Tennis, and the likes of Wii Sports’ tennis aren’t even on the same planet. Full Ace Tennis Simulator is designed for tennis fans rather than gaming fans who like tennis videogames, and as such the barrier for entry is very high. Overcome this and Full Ace Tennis Simulator is a very rewarding experience, but in order to do so there’s got to be a significant investment in the sport prior to even beginning.