Developer 10tons haven’t been shy when bringing it’s mobile style games to the PlayStation Vita. We’ve had it’s Zuma influenced Sparkle series, the rock tossing (and incredibly weird) King Oddball as well as a top down slaughter fest, Crimsonland. Tennis In The Face sees the developer return to the platform, this time with a game very much in the style of Angry Birds.
If for some reason you are unfamiliar with Angry Birds, that game tasks you attaching birds to a catapult and launching them off structures in order to destroy pigs. Tennis In The Face uses a similar tried and tested formula however you play as a Tennis player who has to serve Tennis balls in order to defeat a series of different types of enemies.
You play as a shamed Tennis star by the name of Pete Pagassi , who has recently been caught in a scandal involving an energy drink named Explodz. As the press gets hold of the scandal, Pagassi starts to go insane from the damage to his career prospects and so he decides that the best way to resolve his problem and find a suitable form of justice is to use his main skill, Tennis – in the face.
The gameplay is very simple, moving the left stick allows you to aim where you want the ball to go, and then the right stick controls the power at which you hit the ball. The aim is to destroy all the enemies on screen using as few balls as you can, though you are limited with how many balls that you have so you’ll need to plot your strategies on beating the level carefully.
Balls aren’t the only tools at your disposal however, as later levels see you throwing cans of Explodz at enemies too. In these cases, instead of launching it in a specific direction you have to work with angles in order to get the right curve on the can to explode in the enemies faces.
The game takes place across eight different stages, which are split into a grid that contains sixteen different squares. Fifteen of these squares are levels, and one of them is either a progress tracker screen or a mini game portal. Mini games include tasks like replaying stages with less amount of balls, and there’s even a stage where you get to beat the actual developers of the games by delivering Tennis to their faces.
Some of the later levels can be quite challenging, and you’ll find yourself having to try a couple of times in order to finish some of them, or jumping out of that particular level and revisiting it at a later time (which the game allows). This actually brings me to a point I liked about this game – it’s not linear, and finishing one level on the grid opens up the levels on the grid close to it, so you get to pick which one you want to do next.
There is no multiplayer component to this game, but that certainly doesn’t mean that there’s no competitive value here. Thanks to the addition of online leaderboards, you’ll be able to track your scores for some of the mini games and check where you match up against other players. If getting to the top of charts to prove your dominance is your thing, then Tennis in the Face certainly caters to you.
Tennis in the Face is actually quite a pretty game, the cel-shaded graphics add to the comedic value of the game and really give you a feel for the scenario and slapstick humour of the game. The problem with the presentation however is in regards to the soundtrack, which is generic, bland and very repetitive – so much so that I spent most of my time with my Vita’s volume turned off.
Another major problem with this game is that it’s just too short. Most people will finish the game in an afternoon, especially if you’re naturally good at these types of games. For those who are perfectionists however, finishing every level with the correct amount of leftover balls and cans should keep you busy for an extra couple of hours.
Tennis in the Face is definitely a game that appeals to a more casual audience, however it’s clear that hardcore gamers can also get quite a lot of fun out of it from the right angle. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to play (as well as cheap), this is a game worth picking up.