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[CES2012] Hands-on preview of Virtua Tennis Challenge for the Xperia Play

Sega will be continuing their push into the Android Market soon with a new game, exclusive to the Xperia Play for now, called Virtua Tennis Challenge. We got a chance to meet up with Mike from Sega who is the Brand Manager for Virtua Tennis on mobile platforms and had some fun playing this upcoming game.

When Virtua Tennis Challenge launches it will be exclusively for the Xperia Play although it will most likely land on other Android devices after the standard 30 day exclusivity period most games have when they come to the Xperia Play first. The game itself was actually quite fun and will actually be a pretty in-depth game. Sega has also done a good job bringing lots of replay value to Virtua Tennis Challenge as well which I will get into below.

Graphically the game looked pretty good already and we were told that it would be getting a little more refinement in that department before the game launches. There will be a total of 25 characters you can choose from, ease with their own strengths and weakness as well as play style. Some are more tactical while others focus on power shots and so on. There will also be three game modes to choose from, the standard single player game mode (Career mode), Multiplayer via Bluetooth, and a Tournament mode where you will be competing against other players in ranked gameplay. There are also exhibition matches if you just want to jump into a single game and you can play either solo or paired up with a computer AI partner.

The Tournament mode is one of the more interesting features of the game. Every day there will be three tournaments you can sign-up for with their own player rankings. There will be one easy tournament, one intermediate skill tournament, and one hard tournament for expert players. On certain days there will be a forth tournament available as well for ultra skilled players. Each tournament has a buy-in price which you will use the cash you earn in-game to enter.

Also with the cash you earn in-game you will be able to customize your player(s) with new clothing, gear and other items to make it more personalized. If you want to just jump right into tournaments without having earned enough cash, you will have the option to purchase extra in-game money but that is completely optional and for those people who think they are awesome at tennis already and don’t want to just build up their cash in-game normally.

While the controls have been optimized to take advantage of the control pad the Xperia Play comes with, Sega has also optimized the game already for touchscreens as well, part of the reason why we think it won’t take much longer to come to the rest of the Android world after the Xperia Play release. The touch controls do not use a virtual joystick and buttons but instead have you using gesture-based actions on the touchscreen to control your guy and the different types of shots he can do. For example doing a lob shot is done by making an “N” shape gesture swipe on the screen.

Overall it seemed as though Sega has done a pretty solid job already with bringing the Virtua Tennis franchise to Android with Virtua Tennis Challenge. It was easy to pick up and play but also requires a bit of skill in actually playing the game, especially if you use the touchscreen controls. Virtua Tennis Challenge is due for release on the Xperia Play sometime in the first half of this year. No word just yet on what the pricing will be.

We were also told that we can expect more titles from Sega in the near future to land on Android as well from their franchises.

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