Tennis In The Face
Release Date: 8 December 2017
Price: $4.99 / £4.49
Reviewed by Phil Myth
The Nintendo Switch represents a marriage of two game types. The epic home-console adventures and the portable pick-up-and-play fare that Nintendo have mastered since the days of the GameBoy. However, there is a third game type that has started cropping up on the eShop quite a lot: mobile games.
Tennis in the Face is one such game. It began its life on smartphones, and it actually takes a lot cues from the king of mobile titles, Angry Birds. You play Pete Pagassi (there’s a lot of subtly amusing nods like that throughout the game), a disgraced
former tennis pro who blames his downfall on his addiction to Explodz energy drinks. He then sets about exacting his revenge on the Explodz addicted population, taking down riot police, clowns and hipsters by, well, smashing them in the face with a tennis ball.
It is a ridiculous premise, and the bright art style does positively evoke Saturday morning cartoon violence as well. While this set-up never really raised any actual belly laughs, the presentation is entertaining enough so as not to be completely dull. The gameplay on the other hand, is kind of a mixed bag.
Very little challenge
There’s over 100 levels here, so there’s plenty of content, but none of them were really particularly challenging. They’re all single screen puzzles in which you have to fire off a limited number of tennis balls and cans of Explodz to take out all of the
enemies on screen. Despite the large amount of levels, only 2 or 3 offered any real challenge and I managed to get through every single one in the space of a couple of hours. You can aim for higher scores by using fewer shots to take everyone out
(and by scoring headshots in the process), but I wasn't invested enough to go back and replay levels I'd already done with that goal in mind.
There is, admittedly, a certain satisfaction to be gleaned from setting off chain reactions as your tennis ball activates traps and explosions to take out everyone in one move, but it’s a rather shallow satisfaction and is ultimately short lived. What’s more, the ragdoll physics aren’t quite as over the top as you’d like to really make some of the effects as hilarious as they could be. Like the game in general, they’re ok, but nothing to write home about.
This sense of ‘meh’ ultimately speaks to the game’s origins as a mobile title. Whilst the presentation is very solid, and everything works the way it should, it’s software designed for a quick two minute game whilst you’re waiting for the bus to turn up, not whilst you're sat at home on the couch.
While Tennis In The Face is a competent port and solid if shallow puzzler, there’s something about having this type of game on a dedicated game console that just doesn’t feel right and is ultimately underwhelming. Consoles should offer deeper experiences than this. Even portable ones.
Pros & Cons
+ Nice presentation
+ Well built physics
- Very little challenge
- Minimal variety