What do you get when a sports figure tarnished by substance use vows revenge on all of society? This game, Tennis in The Face.
Appropriately enough, the story of Tennis in The Face centers around a tennis player who falls from stardom due to using a performance boosting drug thing. After going through rehab and recovering, this disgraced tennis player makes it his mission in life to bring down the industry making this drug and everyone who is addicted to it in a roaring rampage of revenge that involves attacking everyone from hipsters to policemen by smacking balls in their faces. Sophisticated, the premise is not, but the concept is quite amusing and at least gives some actual plot to the game.
Tennis in The Face is a physics based puzzle game. Your goal is to knock down every enemy in the stage by hitting tennis balls and other projectiles like exploding drinks (yes, this is real) in different ways. Already it invites comparisons to a previously reviewed puzzle game, King Oddball, but Tennis in The Face is nowhere near as complicated. Via total defiance of physics, this tennis player can hit balls in a straight line that laugh in the face of gravity for a good while before arcing. On top of this, there’s a reticle clearly displaying where shots will land. This makes lining up the perfect blow much easier by comparison, and the aiming is nowhere near as unpredictable.
There’s some variety in level and enemy design as well. There are enemies like riot police that can stand up to a tennis ball thrown towards their shield, but fall to an explosion or a hit from the back. Levels have more scattered explosives and breakable objects to reward creative thinking, a necessity in order to use few balls and gain perfect scores. These improvements alone give Tennis in The Face a good leg to stand on compared to other puzzle games. That being said, it’s still rather simplistic by nature, as are a lot of Angry Birds derivatives. The gameplay doesn’t change substantially over it’s many levels, so nothing truly mind blowing will come out of it, but the game isn’t lacking in said aspect, at the very least. If you played King Oddball, you’ll find a game that in some aspects is easier but also harder, yet retains the same core gameplay.
In a similar vein to the plot, the best way to describe the presentation is juvenile. Cartoony but simple designs complement the hilariously silly plot and tennis induced slapstick to a T. It could pass as a Flash short on the Internet, but that’s not a bad thing either. The music, thankfully, has a much more upbeat and less boring tune overall than King Oddball, so in the presentation department the game has no true shortcomings.
Tennis in The Face is a perfectly serviceable albeit average puzzle game overall. You’ve got roughly the same amount of content as King Oddball for the same price, but with a much better foundation to stand on, making it a worthwhile buy as a quick and cheap puzzle game. Are there better puzzle games? Yes. But the simplicity might be a good reason to pick up Tennis in The Face.