Everybody's Tennis is fun 'spin' on the game of tennis and approaches things in a light hearted and simple way. You pick one of the various characters available and take on opponents of ever increasing difficulty as you climb up the ladder to world tennis domination. As you progress more characters become available and additional courts, outfits and umpires are unlocked.
The graphics are very anime/cartoony in style however this really fits with the overall mood and feel of the game. Characters are well drawn in the big head/huge eye style and the surroundings of the various courts are all pleasant ranging from a Hawaii beach to an inner city court.
Unlike the Virtua Tennis series no real life players are included - they follow the generic mix of character you tend to find in computer games. All are suitably different and I imagine everyone will be able to pick a character fitting their tastes and style of play.
When playing the action is smooth and quick with lots of nice touches - light trails on fast shots, interactive backgrounds and player animations all add to the game.
The sound, like the graphics is very lighthearted and inoffensive. Tennis sound effects are well done with good shots give off a satisfying 'PONK'.
Each of the character have their own set stock of phrases and while fun the first few times do tend to get a little irritating in the fifth set of a hard fought match.
Controls in the game are thankfully kept simple - X for topspin, O for slice and Triangle lobs. The variety and direction of shots you play depends on you timing and positioning relative to the ball. This may sound overly simple but it is very intuitive and results in lots of exciting rallies.
The game lets you know how well you time a shot by flashing a symbol above your player head after each shot - a hare means you were too early, a tortoise too late and a note just right - a double note means you hit the sweetspot and results in a more powerful shot.
The main game mode is the challenge mode where you select a character and work your way through various challengers until you beat enough to move up a level. By beating people extra content is unlocked and new, more difficult challenges open. Challenges can be either singles or doubles and vary in game length and surface.
The actual tennis mechanics in the game are very well implemented and make for a fast and furious game with a sprinkling of strategy thrown in. The first few levels are a breeze letting you settle in nicely to the game - however as you progress opponents become increasingly more consistent and accurate and eventually are a struggle to beat.
Aside from the Challenge mode is the training mode which lets you work on your various court skills and achieve high scores/ranks. While a nice aside it won't keep you from the main mode for long.
My only problem with the gameplay is that it does get repetitive; there isn't really much variation in terms of modes/challenges.
Once you have managed to unlock every character and outfit I don't think you will go back to playing computer opponents. Luckily the multiplayer is a lot of fun if you have friend of the same level and should extend the life of the game.
I really enjoyed playing Everybody's Tennis and it is probably the best tennis game out there for the PS2 - it is easy to get into but also fairly deep with a decent level of difficulty when you reach the latter stages of the Challenge Mode. It is a really fun game to play with friends in either singles or doubles with a multi-tap.
My main criticism of the game is the lack of variety in game modes; Challenge Mode is fun but just a lot of the same and the training modes will only keep you interested for so long. This is a bit of an unfair criticism as it does the basics well however doesn't really bring anything particularly new or innovative to the table.
All in all a fun game for everybody!
Overall Everybody's Tennis gets..
7 out of 10