For a game that is supposed to be the most intuitive on a console which is all about ease of play and appealing to new gamers, Wii Tennis can be surprisingly unintuitive.
It won’t take you too long to work out that you don’t have any control over the movement of your characters but unless you are some kind of gaming savant, you’ll still find yourself mystified by the directions of your shots for quite some time after you start playing.
While simple reflexes can get you past the worst of computer (and human) opponents, if you want to rule the court you’ll have to improve your Wii Tennis chops. To help you do that, here are my top tips:
1. Learn to Direct Your Shots
In Wii Tennis you don’t control the direction of your shots freely, this is partly done by the computer. Let me explain. Your Miis choose approximately how they respond to each shot coming at them. You need to pay attention to which way the racket is pointing to work out where you can place a shot.
For example, if the ball is coming from the top right of the screen to the bottom left your Mii will most likely hit it diagonally up to the right when you go to play. However, by timing when you hit your shot you can affect the direction of the shot. If you hit early the ball will go further to the right, whereas a late shot will most likely go straight up the court.
To be clear, you waving your hand a certain way has no effect. What matters is when you hit the shot. This is what I mean by not intuitive!
Armed with this knowledge you can begin placing your shots where you want them. When the ball comes to your Mii at the rear of the court, try to hit early so as to send the ball either to the extreme right or left. This will make it more difficult for the other player to respond. Even if they do you can use your front player to smash the ball down the middle of the court to get a point.
Learning to direct your shots is the most important skill you can learn early on as it strips away the apparent ‘randomness’ of the game.
Try practicing how you return shots to see how this works. Hit shots early and see what the effect is and then try again only hitting the ball late. You will soon understand how the timing of the shot effects direction and how you can use this to beat your opponent.
2. Practice Your Power-Serve
Each time you serve, you have the opportunity to perform a ‘power serve’ which is basically a faster serve that whizzes across the screen. This is good because it is harder for your opponent to return it. Even at the highest difficulty level, the computer will sometimes fail to return the ball properly when you power serve.
So how do you do it? Every time you serve there is a little sound on your Wii Mote that kind of sounds like a tennis ball being thrown in the air (which is to say that it sounds absolutely nothing like a tennis ball being thrown in the air). You need to hit the ball at the top of the serves arc which corresponds to the highest pitch in the little tennis ball sound. Some practice will help you to get this right most of the time, making your service game a real danger to opponents.
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3. Tire Your Opponent Out
This is one is mainly for the computer but I suppose it could work with your fat cousin as well. Basically, the computer opponents get more and more tired the more shots they make and the more effort they have to make. So if you give them lots of shots that are difficult to return they will dive all over the place and tire quickly.
When the computer players are tired they respond slower and cannot move as quickly making it easier for you to score. They also tend to make more mistakes allowing you to pick up easy points. Computer opponents that are tired stay tired for a whole game (as in one ‘round’ of tennis, not the whole best of five ‘game’) so tire them out early in the game to get maximum advantage.
4. Play From the Net
This tip is especially important for the higher-skilled computer opponents. These guys are really good at putting a ball to where your back-court players aren’t, so don’t let them! Instead, use your front-court Mii to tire them out and only use your back-court Mii when you are ready to hit that killer forearm!
The only issue with this tip is you need to watch out for the quick return from your opponents front-court player as this can easily catch you out if you are not careful.
5. Buy Time by Lobbing It
If your opponent has you on the rocks hit the ball high in the air to gain time. This will allow your players to move back into a better position making it harder for them to put one past you.
Your usual tactics should be to tire your opponent using front-court returns that force your opponent to chase the ball. Once they are tired, wait for a shot to your back-court player at the bottom right and hit the ball early to send the ball to the extreme left (if you are left-handed I suppose it might be easier doing this the other way round). By doing this you will either catch your opponent out completely or set yourself up for an easy smash down the court if your opponent manages to return.
Of course, human opponents can be a lot more challenging (and in some cases, annoying) but by mastering the basics with the computer you will be able to put up a good fight against anyone who dares face you across the digital court. Enjoy!
Pseudonymous (author) on February 13, 2010:
Ranger One, thanks for your comment and correction.
Ranger-One on February 13, 2010:
The instructions above are good but not quite correct. Timing of hitting th ball is importatnt and does control where th ball goes, but the author says nothing about spin. Movement to the left or right can impart left or right spin on the ball causing it to curve instead of moving in a straing line.