Tennis Manager 2021 – Review
Follow Genre: Sports, Strategy, Management
Developer: Rebound CG
Publisher: Rebound CG
Platform: PC, iPhone/iPad/Android
Tested on: PC

Tennis Manager 2021 – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Crisp and efficient UI, 3D match simulations, Variety of options
Bad: Lack of soundtrack and skip options, No personal contact with the players, Impact of the choices is hard to see
User Score
5.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

2021 has been a really good year for simulators, seeing the release of titles such as Lawn Mowing Simulator or War Truck Simulator (Of course, this doesn’t mean they were actually any good). This is not really surprising, as the pandemic caused most of us to cozy up inside while gaming. And what better way to celebrate outdoor sports while staying inside and play Tennis Manager 2021? Having taken a look at the game while it was still in Early Access here, we now look at its fully released version and what changed.

Story

Like most simulators, Tennis Manager 2021 does not really have a story. You start the game as the manager of a team academy, and you can choose between an already pre-created academy or an academy to start from scratch. Managing the academy and coaching its players is the core of this title’s gameplay, sprinkled with references to the world of tennis, ranging from strategies to real player rankings and circuits. Here you are the one looking to make history, not by playing yourself, but by betting on the right player to become the next tennis star.

Graphics

Tennis Manager 2021 has had very crisp graphics since its inception, and these have only improved since our preview. The basic UI is appealing and efficient in its simplicity. The 3D matches simulated by AI are still one of the high points of the game, resembling the feeling you get from watching a real game of tennis. Overall, the game does a really good job when it comes to its visual aspect.

Sound

Unfortunately, Tennis Manager 2021 is quite disappointing when it came to its sound design. In fact, there is no sound at all during most of the gameplay, as the game leaves you in a deadly silence while you sift through your e-mails during the core of your management chores. There are no voice lines either, and there is a ton to read, which makes the whole experience feel somewhat dry. The one redeeming aspect of the game’s sound comes from the 3D game simulations, where real-life tennis sounds are captured in a satisfying way (from the cheering of the crowd after a great play to the grunts of the players).

Gameplay

Tennis Manager 2021 is a sports management simulator, mixing personal strategy with the world of tennis. You play as the manager and coach of a tennis academy, and it is your job to choose your players and to train them in order for them to compete in official tournaments. You will have access to all kinds of relevant information: the ranking statistics of your players and their strengths and weaknesses on the field, the specifications of their sponsors and contracts, the financial and infrastructure development of the academy; including staff choices. Of course, you’ll also be able to keep track of which tournaments are happening when, and who is participating in them.

This immersive experience as a tennis manager is completed with watching the actual matches of your players in a 3D simulated game played by the AI. During these games, you can influence your player’s behavior, giving them pep talks before and after important match-ups, and even new instructions mid-game. You will also be able to interact with the media covering the games.

As far as a sports management game goes, there is hardly any element missing. There is a great UI, and the game’s tutorial has improved since its Early Access phase, making it even easier to navigate. Only navigating towards shutting down the game proved to be somewhat of a hassle. The current main options menu is somewhat hidden behind the tiny TM logo on the top right, not easy to spot. Of course, this is just us nitpicking, but it feels like an oversight for a game that has spent so much attention to its UI and menu design.

Unfortunately, running your own tennis academy can be more boring than not, as you will spend most of the time reading through your load of in-game e-mails while clicking “Continue”. Tennis Manager 2021 does not offer any quick way of skipping the days of the training or the simulated games, so waiting for these to load can be tedious.

If you are a big fan of tennis, you will appreciate the abundance of choices available to you, and can even find little details funny – such as the names of the real tennis players scrambled to avoid copyright issues (who does not want to play against Rafael Nabal?). Sadly, the same issues we pointed out in our preview remain in this fully released version of the game: it feels like most of the game could be played on an auto-pilot mode, despite having so many technical choices to make. In the end, Tennis Manager 2021 is a very efficient and organized game, but it can also feel like it lacks the soul and spark to make it a memorable experience.

Conclusion

If you are only a casual fan of tennis, chances are Tennis Manager 2021 is not for you. But, if you know the ins and outs of the sport, there’s plenty to do in this title, and most of it is fun. Rebound CG, albeit a small indie studio, managed to deliver an experience that has the feel of a AAA game, and for that we commend them. However, this title is still a bit too dry for us, lacking in details that would make it a more lively and memorable experience. We found the core to be very polished, and we hope that if there’s a sequel, that it receives that final layer of polish that would make it a truly memorable experience.

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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Tennis Manager 2021 – Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
ChiChi


Freelance writer and translator who likes to feed in her free time. If you'd like to chat, send me an e-mail to ritajbp@gmail.com!

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