Once in a while, it takes games like Tennis in the Face to remind me that gaming should be fun for everybody. While millions of fans love games with serious storylines and photorealistic graphics, there will always be room for simple, silly games that anyone can pick up and play. If you are familiar with developer and publisher 10tons recent works, then Tennis in the Face will immediately probe a response from you. It is a physics based game at its core like Angry Birds, where the goal is to knock out your enemies, usually causing incredible destruction in the process. It wouldn’t be a 10tons game without some hilarious art and an outlandish storyline, so let’s serve up the details.
You play as Pete Pagassi, a former tennis star now tasked with saving his city from Explodz, an evil energy drink company. Armed with your tennis racket and evil eye, it’s up to Pete to destroy caffeinated clowns, corrupt police, skittish scientists and others. There are more than 100 stages to master in addition to dozens of bonus levels. If you are familiar with the game Baseball Riot, then Tennis in the Face is nearly the exact same type of game.
Pete has three tennis balls at the beginning of every level that he can fire in almost any direction he wants. The player controls the crosshair which is used to aim at the bad guys, thankfully there’s a helpful dotted line which will tell where the throw is going to end up. Since these are tennis balls they will bounce a lot, which is helpful since it has more chances to knock over enemies or hit special items for more points. If you destroy enough items with a single tennis ball you will earn a bonus ball. At the end of the level the remaining balls and score are tallied up and you can earn a crown if you did well enough. Adding to the frenzy are exploding energy drink cans and boxes, containers filled with tennis balls and glass panels that stop the ball dead in its tracks. Occasionally instead of serving a tennis ball you will serve an Explodz can that can penetrate the glass and explode after it lands.
Players who are content with just finishing a level should be able to make their way through the entire game with a little persistence. The real challenge is for those trying to earn a crown in every level. Much like Angry Birds there is a sweet spot in almost every level where all enemies can be wipes out in 1 or 2 balls. Tennis in the Face is great to pick up for a few minutes at a time or have the whole family share a save file and use their skills to try and earn crowns.
Tennis in the Face has a silly cartoon style that we’re used to from 10tons. Backgrounds are drawn nicely with plenty of color, and each enemy type provides a different approach. The hazmat enemies must be hit twice before they go down. The businessmen drop their briefcases which can then be hit for extra points and riot police have a shield that will reflect any tennis balls. Thankfully loading times are brief and the music fits in nicely with each level.
Tennis in the Face is affordable, approachable and fun. Like King Oddball or Baseball Riot, it didn’t take long for my son to commandeer the controller and try his hand at saving the world. It has that charm that made similar games like Angry Birds such a success. The game is priced perfectly at $4.99 in America and there is even a 10% preorder discount for those who want to get in early. My kids and I will keep going back to Tennis in the Face for a long time, now how about a basketball game, 10tons?