Tennis in the Face is a game about hitting people in the face with tennis balls. It’s a simple premise for a game that knows exactly what it is. Having previously released on PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita, Windows, Android and iOS - just to name a few - developers 10Tons LTD. most recently ported the title to the Nintendo Switch.
Straight off the bat (or racket) Tennis in the Face plays much like other physics-based 2D puzzle games. Players must fire projectiles at a host of different enemies, correctly judging the projection of their swing.
There’s a loose story going on between each level as an evil corporation has taken over the world with its dangerous energy drink, Exsplodz. Taking control of Pete Pegassi, players must defeat all those who stand before them using only a tennis racket and a multitude of projectiles. It’s not a complicated story, but it’s one that plays into the simplicity of the title by providing a motivation for all the ball to face action.
Puzzle design starts off fairly easy, with many levels providing a simple puzzle designed to slowly introduce players to some of the game’s more challenging concepts. Later levels feature glass, wood and bricks and many other materials which all add diversity to the level design, forcing players to think outside the box about how each of those items acts depending on their weight. An extra difficulty curve is introduced via the clothes and equipment that enemies wear: some may hold a shield meaning they can only be attacked from behind, whilst others may wear a suit that requires multiple hits to destroy.
Outside of the main challenge levels, there are a number of bonus levels that require players to complete challenges that slightly differ to killing all of the enemies on screen. They add little variety to the title and often feel like minor distractions above all else.
Tennis in the Face’s presentation is serviceable at the best of times with visuals and sound design that are neither going to amaze nor disappoint players. It’s a shame because the game’s somewhat quirky story and aesthetic would have fit a unique visual design.
It’s a game that really fits with the pick up and play design ethos of the Nintendo Switch. Most levels only take a few minutes to complete, which is why it’s a title that feels right at home on the console. Add to that a series of mini-games alongside the main story mode and you’ve got a title that’s perfectly apt for a quick session whilst on your morning commute.
Given Nintendo’s focus on multiplayer for the Switch, it would have made sense for 10Tons LTD. to implement a multiplayer mode for the title, elevating it above more than a simple port. Considering how basic the game’s mechanics and controls are, the addition of a multiplayer mode using the individual Joycons could have worked in the title’s favour.
Tennis in the Face isn’t a particularly long game, but with over 100 levels there’s likely enough to keep players entertained for a few hours at most. There is a rating system in place that measures the player’s success across each level. The more efficiently a player defeats enemies, the better their rating will be at the end. This adds a certain amount of replayability for those players that really enjoy Tennis in the Face, but it fails to provide any real deviation from the core gameplay.
Tennis in the Face is not going to amaze or disappoint players, it’s a serviceable physics-based puzzle game designed to provide a short, but challenging experience. The title does feel like a great fit for the Switch considering it’s best played in short bursts, rather than prolonged sessions. If you’re interested in a quick throwaway challenge on the Switch, Tennis in the Face will not let you down, just don’t expect it to blow you away either.
Tennis in the Face (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Tennis in the Face is not going to amaze or disappoint players, it’s a serviceable physics-based puzzle game designed to provide a short, but challenging experience.