Game: Tennis Manager 2021
Release Date: 09/09/2021
Rating: E for Everyone
Platform: Steam, Epic, GoG, GooglePlay, Apple Store
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
Story, Setting, and Style
In Tennis Manager 2021 you are placed in the role of, you guessed it, a tennis manager!
It begins as you are hired on as the manager at a new tennis academy. You are able to take one of the best players under your tutelage and guide him or her through the start of their career. As a manager, you can also assign managers to other players and even purchase upgrades for the academy as money rolls in. You get to have interviews with the press, and pretty much everything else that a big-time manager would do.
If you've ever wanted to be a tennis manager handling the technical side of things, this sports sim is for you. Allowing you to handle almost any detail, you are able to do pretty much everything except actually playing tennis. There are tabs galore with information coming at you constantly. Research, plan, and grow the academy and help your players succeed.
If you have ever played any of the Football Manager games, this is very similar (and not at all like Strange Field Football).
Tennis Manager 2021 really stands out for just how in-depth it can get. At the start of the game, you get to choose your academy and what type of manager you will be. From there, you get emails directing you on how to use each of the tabs and giving you ideas of what you should be looking at. You really are able to get into the nitty-gritty of all aspects of management. Whether that is planning a strategy, giving pep talks to your players, spending money on upgrades, or reading emails.
There are coaches and trainers at your disposal looking for you to assign them to players. You will want to pay close attention to where each of their strengths lies and which players would be a good fit for their talents.
There is actually some tennis too!
Well, you don't get to play tennis…but there are matches. As you are managing your player you get to attend each match they are a part of. Before the match, you are able to look at an overview of the opponent so you can direct your player on what approach to take. Plan your strategy carefully. Then, watch as the game takes place. You can switch up strategies as needed if the opponent seems to be getting the upper hand, and ask to talk to your player in between sets.
I think talking to your player in between sets is supposed to allow you to help reassure them when they are getting downtrodden or congratulate them for doing well. Personally, I seemed to pick the wrong choice every single time (am I really that bad of a communicator?!) and left them generally staring blankly at me with no effect.
As if numbers to crunch and people to manage wasn't enough…you also have a board to impress! A board director and other members will give you seasonal goals to strive for, generally related to either finance or recruiting new players. I liked this aspect as it gave me some concrete goals to focus on rather than just the ubiquitous idea of making everything just be better.
Additionally, I would be remiss to not point out the clean, organized visual aspect of the UI in Tennis Manager 2021. Everything is very easy and straightforward to see and understand and really helps you to focus on the technical aspects of managing the academy.
While I can appreciate that Tennis Manager 2021 is an amazing game with the sheer depth of content provided…it is not a game for me. This is one of those hard situations where I am left reviewing a game that I know is amazing for someone else, but not me. Reading “work” emails, planning strategies for other team members to carry out, and giving “pep talks” that inevitably bounce right off someone is not my idea of fun. HOWEVER, I know that this is my personal opinion.
There are so many amazing things in this game. The never-ending amount of content is incredible alone. There is always another match, another tournament, one more thing to do. The characters are well thought out, the financial statistics are realistic while being interesting to manipulate. Really there are only two things I can think of that are missing. First is the actual ability to play tennis. However, even that makes sense. If you were the one playing tennis, who would you be managing? The second is that I wish there was some kind of soundtrack or audio aspect to the game. But, it does make it a great thing to play while listening to a podcast or playlist!
If you love sports sims and micromanaging, this game is absolutely incredible and worth your time and attention.