Tennis Manager 2023: An Engaging Yet Familiar Tennis Sim – PC Review
Tennis Manager 2023 is the third game in the annual series developed and published by Rebound CG. As someone who eagerly sank countless hours into the original game when it first launched on Steam Early Access, I was excited to experience the enhanced features and advancements in this new iteration. However, my enthusiasm gradually waned as I discovered that Tennis Manager 2023 offered minimal changes, ultimately leaving me feeling let down.
With echoing similarities to Football Manager, Tennis Manager puts you in the pole position of managing a tennis academy, and competing against other academies to rise to the top. As the owner, you must complete all tasks that you would expect from running an institution, including managing finances, improving infrastructure, and guiding players’ growth and performance in tournaments.
Tennis Manager’s Attention to Detail is Incredible
As is the case in previous iterations of the game, one of the standout features of Tennis Manager 2023 is its attention to detail. From checking ranking statistics for various categories to registering for tournaments and managing training and contracts, players have numerous activities to immerse themselves in. The game offers an incredible amount of replayability as you strive to improve your academy’s rank and infrastructure.
This critical element of Tennis Manager 2023 is where the game flourishes. The gameplay loop coupled with incredible depth is a perfect combination that many games strive to achieve, yet only a few can attain. It’s easy to be sucked into a dark hole, wanting to play one more match on repeat until the early morning. Fortunately, in this regard, Tennis Manager 2023 never gets old, and you will find yourself coming back for more time and time again.
“Some elements of the menus were unreasonably blurry.”
A great User Interface (UI) is imperative in any simulation game, and while there are plenty of great aspects in Tennis Manager’s menu, it does lack some key quality-of-life features. Most notably, in the screen connectivity and navigation links. In Football Manager, any mention of a person’s name is linked directly to their profile, irrespective of what menu you are reading. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Tennis Manager 2023, and I constantly found myself having to exit what I was doing and navigate to where the stats were.
This was especially frustrating when negotiating contracts with new staff, as I’d usually want to cross-reference their stats with the amount of money they were requesting. In addition, some elements of the menus were unreasonably blurry. While it’s not the end of the world, the stars being blurry in the staff training section seems like a simple fix that should have been fixed ahead of release. Despite this, Tennis Manager 2023 still managed to hold my unwavering focus, at least until I started participating in tournaments.
“These details can detract from the overall experience as they undermine the realism.”
While Tennis Manager 2023 offers an addicting gameplay loop and a high level of immersion in its menu aspects, the level of detail in the match simulation did impact me over time. In Tennis Manager 2023, part of managing an academy means you have the ability to watch matches that your academy player is a part of. Therefore, you can provide match talks, change player intensity, and shout phrases that affect how your player is feeling in the match. While this is not groundbreaking by any means, the attention to detail in the game’s mechanics and the simplicity of the controls make it accessible to both newcomers and experienced players.
Although, the in-game matches can feel awkward at times. Players, sometimes, don’t hit the ball but still return it, and serving animations don’t match the actual action, with a ball being delayed when thrown. These details can detract from the overall experience, as they undermine the realism. Therefore, once the novelty of the matches wore off, I started to simulate the matches as I couldn’t completely enjoy watching them, as a result.
Despite the strengths in its detailed mechanics, Tennis Manager 2023 feels more like an update than a distinct improvement over its predecessor. The game lacks significant changes and fails to deliver a fresh experience, which may disappoint fans looking for something new.
With a fake database of player names, the game lacks authenticity and fails to provide the feeling of a truly new instalment. I understand that licensing can be an issue, but it doesn’t make sense for a game to be updated with a fresh database each year if the players’ names aren’t real.
Despite all this, Tennis Manager 2023 continues to prove that its neverending formula of endless content is the secret to its success. Starting a new game as a small budding Tennis Academy will provide hundreds of hours of gameplay, and for newcomers to the series, this would be the perfect game for you to experience a detailed tennis sim. Although, returning players might find it hard to justify the high price of AUD$60 if it just means you are playing the same game, all over again.
Tennis Manager 2023 Review
Tennis Manager 2023 is an engaging tennis simulation game that offers a detailed and immersive experience for tennis enthusiasts. While it may not bring substantial improvements compared to its predecessor, it still provides an addicting gameplay loop and countless hours of replayability. Although, returning players to the series might be disappointed with the lack of changes to the overall game.