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Tiebreak could go down as the biggest, best tennis game ever made

Tiebreak could go down as the biggest, best tennis game ever made

What a racket

I'm not what you'd call a huge sports fan. What I know about tennis pretty much starts and ends with Luca Guadagnino's Challengers, so I at least know it's an incredibly sexy sport.

As someone with a general apathy towards tennis, I wasn't sure what I'd get out of Tiebreak: Official game of the ATP and WTA (yes, that is its full and proper name). But after a few hours chatting with Big Ant Studios about the latest version of their sports sim, even a dummy like me can see it has the potential to be an absolute hit among tennis lovers everywhere.

Tiebreak has been available on Steam Early Access since the start of the year, and Big Ant Studios has slowly been adding new features, quality of life improvements, and general tweaks to balance and gameplay.

What really sets Tiebreak apart from the competition is in its commitment to giving fans the most authentic possible experience. That means including the largest ever roster of real-life tennis pros and stadiums. There are going to be more than 100 pro players in the game, from Andy Murray to Alexander Zverev.

You'll also be able to build your own custom player and rise through the ranks in a special single-player campaign mode. Big Ant Studios is pretty enthusiastic about the fact we'll be able to come across the real-life pros throughout the course of this mode, helping us to really feel like we're taking part in history.

As if that wasn't enough, you can even recreate your favourite stadiums thanks to a surprisingly detailed suite of editing tools. That means you be as ambitious as you like and build the mega stadium of your dreams, or simply recreate your local park and see what it would be like if Novak Djokovic showed up one day for a quick game.

Of course all of these bells and whistles would be absolutely meaningless if the game itself was no fun to play, but I'm delighted to report Tiebreak is an absolute blast.

I want to hammer home my lack of tennis knowledge again: not because I want you to think I don't care, but because even someone like me can pick up Tiebreak and have a genuinely good time.

Big Ant Studios have designed a system that's easy to pick up and play, and devilishly tricky to master. What could have been a game in which you mindlessly press buttons to return serves is in fact a tense gauntlet of mind games as you attempt to manoeuvre your opponent into a certain spot before smashing the ball somewhere completely unexpected.

Playing with another journalist whose love of tennis probably wasn't much greater than my own, it wasn't long before we had some incredibly nail-biting rallies going. Tiebreak manages to tap into that raw, undiluted feeling of frenetic competition that the very best games of FIFA can bring out in a group of friends.

I really don't know how they did it, but Tiebreak is probably one of my favourite surprises of 2024, and deserves a spot in any lineup of games for local multiplayer nights.

The latest version of the game was released as of 7 June, and while Big Ant Studios stresses they have no intention of treating Tiebreak as a live-service title, it's a game they intend to support for as long as they can. Here's hoping it sticks around, because I genuinely believe what we have here is a tennis game that will be a massive hit with fans and novices alike.

Featured Image Credit: Nacon

Topics: Steam, Esports