Control remains the final frontier for wireless gaming, and it's a tough issue for developers to contend with. At its core, Wimbledon 2005 is a decent tennis game that doesn't completely triumph over the limitations of its platform.
- Very fast gameplay, especially on the higher speed settings
- Good sound.
- Camera is too far from the action
- It's tough to see the ball
- Impractical control necessitates the use of the automatic swing feature.
Tennis is all about control, and mobile, well, isn't. It's therefore tough to make rallying on a phone feel markedly more sophisticated than Pong. A four-directional digital control pad is simply inadequate for orchestrating movement over an isometric plane. Wimbledon 2005 sidesteps these inherent difficulties by automating basic swing motions, hoping you'll figure out the rest. For some reason, though, Pixiem decided to set the camera about 40 feet above the players' heads. This makes it really tough to see the ball, especially since its green-yellow hue doesn't always stand out from the court's same color. If you can work beyond these issues, you'll find a decent tennis game in Wimbledon 2005.
The game actually lets you manually execute four distinct shots using the number pad. However, it's unlikely you'll have the time and forethought to do so, except on the slowest speed setting, which is pretty unbearable to watch. You can crank up the action faster than the default if you prefer, but only a pod racer would be able to play at that speed. The medium pace corresponds well to the rate of real rallies.
In Wimbledon 2005, you can select one of several fictitious Wimbledon hopefuls, and then guide him to success. As you play, your character will gain renown, along with skill points to be added to his accuracy, power, or speed statistics. The accrual of higher levels of fame will unlock new difficulty settings, including the final "Wimbledon Championship" option. Strangely enough, a victory in any mode will cause the "[Character X] is the 2005 Wimbledon Champion" screen to appear.
Your accuracy statistic is probably the most important, as it determines shot placement. Since you'll usually be relying on the game's automatic shots, you're at the mercy of your character's skill. It's your job to move him into place, and after that, it's up to the game's artificial intelligence to find an opening on the court and exploit it. It's pretty unnerving to be so reliant on inconsistent CPU assistance, but the alternative is even less attractive.
While Wimbledon 2005 moves remarkably quickly on the LG VX7000, especially on its nigh-unplayable highest speed setting, it doesn't look all that great. The camera is pulled way back in order to give you a view of the stadium and audience. Unfortunately, this means that the ball is only a few pixels wide and is therefore difficult to follow. Furthermore, the court and the ball are similarly colored, which further reduces the ball's visibility.
Wimbledon's sound is just fine. Some music plays over the menu screens, but it cuts out during play. Instead, you'll hear the hollow pop of the ball, along with score announcements from a French monotone.
Control remains the final frontier for wireless gaming, and it's a tough issue for developers to contend with. At its core, Wimbledon 2005 is a decent tennis game that doesn't completely triumph over the limitations of its platform. Your performance will improve greatly as you play, but you'll still be cheap for using the automatic swing mechanic. Maria Sharapova Tennis is a superior choice all the way around.