By Ken Downey, 9 March, 2013
iOS and iPadOS Gaming
I found a new iPhone game today. Actually, it's been on the app store since 2011, but it 's news to me. The game is called Swing Tennis, by Head First Communications. Where Lolrific tennis and Blindfold tennis fall short, this picks up the slack. I hav en't figured it all out yet, which is why I haven't submitted the app formally, but... First, you can play over Game Center. No more being limited to a WiFi connection for a good game of audio tennis. Second, there are three difficulty levels, and easy is actually a bit difficult. Third, though it's strictly timing based like other audio tennis apps for the iPhone, its rules are stricter--a lot stricter, so you have to have split-second timing. Fourth, both you and your opponent have power-ups you can use. Don't get comfortable, because as soon as you think you've got the rhythm down, in comes a fast ball. I haven't exactly figured out how to use the power-ups and various swings yet. Fifth, each level has nine computer opponents on single player, each with different skills and strategies. Sixth, the game allows you to chat with your opponent. Kind of interesting, though you have to pause the game to do it. The game play itself is simple. Just swing your iPhone like a tennis racket. The weird thing is that you have to be touching your screen to do this, with Voiceover off. Even the lightest movement might be construed as a swing, so be careful! I suspect that since it's an audio game for the sighted, not tailored for the blind, there may be special places to touch if you want certain swings, power-ups and so on. I don't think this will be too hard to learn however. Yes, sighted people are learning about audio games at last. Now if we can just convince them to make them accessible... Speaking of accessibility, the tutorial isn't accessible at all, and the game starts with a bunch of unlabeled buttons. All of these, save one, are dimmed, and the undimmed one is the one to click each time. It takes about three minutes of clicking around to get through the tutorial, but once you're past that everything's accessible except whatever might be on the screen during actual game play. I'll try to get help with that aspect tonight and post about what I find. The game also has an extra game to unlock, called ball bounce, but this, sadly, is inaccessible. However, the game is definitely worth the $.99 price tag.