Tennis in the Face isn’t a tennis game. How could it be when its star Pete Pagassi’s tennis career lies in tatters thanks to the corrupt energy drink manufacturer Explodz Inc. Instead, Pagassi is on a rampage. There’s only one thing he can do to stop the evil corporation: smash clowns in the face with his rampant balls. Tennis in the Face is a physics puzzler along the same lines as Angry Birds or Gravity Badgers, and it’s really rather excellent.
Angry Birds clones are all over the place, and some are better than others. Do we need yet another? Yeah, why not, especially when it’s as good as Tennis in the Face. Bounce your balls and exploding energy drinks through a legion of bright and colourful levels, taking out the crazy clowns, corrupt riot police, mad scientists and, best of all, trendy tosspots. Trigger helpful traps such a box of explosives or an exploding tube of tennis balls but watch out for glass and spiky things that will stop your balls in their tracks. Some characters are more challenging than others to take out. The mad scientists need one shot to knock off their hazmat suits and one more to finish the job, and the riot police need either a headshot or a ball from behind to avoid their shields.
I know we’ve seen it all before, but that doesn’t stop this game from being a fine example of a ball-bouncing puzzler. This is a family friendly budget title that looks really nice on the PS4. It isn’t a difficult game and for just a few pounds it will keep kids, grandmothers and yourself out of mischief for several hours, much longer if you go back to improve your score and win each level’s crown. Ideally you want to clear each round with as few serves as possible and you’ll want to chain hit to maximise score. Vandalising vending machines will help with that and you’ll win a juicy little trophy for destroying three in a single serve. Also win trophies for a hundred bounces from a single ball, nailing five headshots in one go, or destroying ten pieces of glass in a single level. Collect a total of twelve trophies in all, most of which can be won with relative ease and the rest adding to the game’s replayability factor.
This is an addictive little game. I certainly had a wonderful stress-free afternoon with my racket, ball and DualShock. I understand the developer 10Tons is bringing Tennis in the Face to Vita and they are also working on a couple of new games. Hurrah and celebrations. These guys clearly know how to make a good game. I look forward to getting my hands on their next offering and I pray it contains the same whacky humour I’ve seen here. There’s no substitute for a pro tennis player’s balls right in your face.
Tennis in the Face is a damn fine little physics puzzler. I know we’ve seen a ton of these games on our phones and tablets, but there aren’t too many on the PS4. It’s a great addition to the console’s family friendly library. Bright, colourful and funny, the developer 10Tons has served up a bouncing gem.
S J Hollis Rating – 8/10