Tennis in the Face – Review

Title   Tennis in the Face
Developer  10tons Ltd
Publisher  10tons Ltd
Platform  PlayStation 4
Genre  Arcade, platformer/puzzler
Release Date  November 12, 2014

When you purchased your shiny PS4, games like Tennis in the Face weren’t what you were picturing. The gameplay and visuals wouldn’t make a PS1 break a sweat, but with the big full-retail releases taking longer and longer to make, it’s up to little indie developers like 10tons to maintain the pace with games like this.

Tennis in the Face is a physics-based tennis-’em-up puzzler that puts you in the tennis shoes of Pete Pagassi, an angry ex-pro tennis player whose career was cut short thanks to his addiction to Explodz energy drinks. Rather than stewing about it for too long, Pete dons his playing gear and goes out to bring down Explodz and the local population that have also become addicts.

Revenge comes in the form of fifty or so levels of single-screen puzzles where you have to aim tennis balls at the enemies in each area and take them out in as few shots as possible. So when you hit a ball it will bounce until it runs out of inertia or hits certain types of objects. Knock out all your enemies before you run out of balls and you’re onto the next stage. The game is viewed side-on and in 2D, so you’re really just aiming shots almost as if you were playing pool.

As the levels progress, more elements are added from different types of enemy, who start getting extra protection to items in the levels that can help you such as extra balls and explosives. Getting through the game itself isn’t too difficult, I managed it in just a few hours, but perfectionists will want to replay levels in order to earn medals for being especially clever or lucky (depending on your point of view).

The game looks and plays like a mobile game, and that’s no surprise given that Tennis in the Face has previously appeared as a browser-based game and on tablets and phones. Also, it is something of a clone of a game I played on my first Android phone years ago called Stupid Zombies. So with a lack of originality, arguably not enough content, and presentation that wouldn’t particularly impress on a tablet, it would be easy to write off Tennis in the Face as a bit of a failure.

Luckily for both us, and the makers, the game is fun enough that you can overlook some of its shortcomings. The gameplay may have a Peggle-esque blend of luck, skill, and sheer trial and error to it, but when you solve a tough puzzle, it’s pretty satisfying. For the short time it took me to beat the game, and nab all the trophies, I did enjoy it and at no point did it feel like a chore, and that’s more than I can say for some games.

With its basic presentation, Tennis in the Face is sure to be ignored by the gaming masses and while I can’t recommend it too highly, I did enjoy this game’s simple charms. If you don’t mind dumbing down your PS4, and can’t be bothered just playing the web version of this, then there’s something about Tennis in the Face that’s kind of alright.

  • Simple, satisfying gameplay
  • Good for trophy whores
  • Shortlived
  • Not very original
  • Very basic presentation
  • A bit too easy

Tennis in the Face isn't exactly a smash, but if you're after a game that's not set on changing the world but is simple, honest and fun then this will be a good match. Tennis yeah?

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One Comment

  1. Keegan says:

    I feel like there should be bonus points for what is clearly the best named Tennis game in the world.

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