Review: Tennis in the Face (PSV)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Tennis in the Face
Format: PlayStation Network Download (37.9 MB)
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: 10tons Ltd.
Developer: 10tons Ltd.
Original MSRP: $4.99 (US), €4.99 (EU), £3.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 7
Tennis in the Face is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
Portions of this review also appear in our PS4 coverage of Tennis in the Face.

In 1981, a young frizzy-haired John McEnroe was so enraged at the Wimbledon tennis umpire’s refusal to rule his serve as ‘in’ that he got angry and uttered the famous line “you cannot be serious” and then swore at tournament referee. His anger was noticed by the British tabloids and continued to make matters worse. To this day many people remember his outbursts more than his many victories. We also have another extremely talented tennis player, Andre Agassi, with apparent anger and jealousy issues off court. What do these two examples tell us? Some tennis players get angry and are a good excuse to parody in this little downloadable title which has an ex-tennis-pro star Pete Pagassi in a quest to save the city from the grasp of an evil energy drink, Explodz!

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Gameplay:
How do you do save the city from an energy drink you may ask? By defeating creepy clowns, evil riot police, consultants and other Explodz-addicted maniacs with, as the name suggests, a tennis ball in the face. It isn’t just the fluorescent yellow and white felt-covered spherical objects that you’ll use as a deadly weapon but also precariously placed objects around the single screen stage.

Working with the philosophy that less is more, you are awarded more points and even a crown if you hit every enemy in the least amount of goes possible. Also, with a few exceptions depending on enemy type, hitting them in the face gives a bonus which goes toward getting a high score.

There are a total of one hundred levels split over several districts and each one unlocks when you achieve a certain amount of wins for the preceding area. You can also try to win Championship Medals dotted around the map to unlock special prizes, like the Junior Medals for instance. One requires you to earn at least one extra ball from every level in the first district, while another requires a score of 25,000 with a single serve.

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Tennis in the Face comes from the same developers that made the very unique King Oddball (also on PS4 and Vita), which is also a physics based puzzle game. It even shares a similar map layout. Tennis in the Face has some humor and can be entertaining. From the slow motion action when you strike the final enemy on the stage to the little comments by enemies before each game. Even the make of the TV shown if you decide to replay any match made me smile.

Controls are just like this game, simple and easy to get the hang of. You either aim with the analog stick and serve with the X button or use the touch screen to aim and release it to serve. At any time you can press the triangle button to instantly restart the stage which is a welcome feature in this kind of game. After each serve you can see a faint dotted line where the projectile left the racket and a few ricochets after. It’s another nice feature which makes perfecting your aim that little bit easier. I’m happy to note that this game is compatible with the PlayStation TV with the obvious lack of touch controls.

It can be quite addictive and I could easily tear through many of these quick stages that require some skill and I’m sorry to say a little bit of luck. Due to the fact that one of its good points can also be a frustrating annoyance: the visual effects.

Visuals:
Each character has a few things about their person that come flying off when they’re hit. These little projectiles, be it a take-away coffee cup or a mobile phone, can get in the way of the already slightly unpredictable flailing bodies. All of these seem to react differently each time, even if I perform the exact same hit. This in turn causes some mouse-trap-esque setups to fail because a certain object didn’t quite go where it should have. In some situations this can also work in your favor and you luckily clear the stage in even less turns.

Everything has a simple and brightly colored cartoon look. Each district has its own style and characters populating it. You can tell this was a mobile phone game originally as it doesn’t push the hardware in any way. Tennis in the Face on the Vita looks identical to the other PlayStation systems and translates well to the smaller screen.

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Audio:
The audio consists of a few simple tunes and effects that also remind me of a mobile phone game. They are adequate and didn’t cause me to turn it down so that could be classed as a plus I suppose.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only but it does feature global and friends leaderboards.

Conclusion:
I always struggle with scoring a game ported from the mobile platforms, usually because of the price difference and the change in controls. I am happy that Tennis in the Face became a Cross-Buy title and is now available on all the PlayStation platforms for one more justifiable price, you definitely get more bang for your buck.

10tons has given us another unique and enjoyable game that requires a degree of skill but also a pinch of luck, both good and bad. If you like flinging things around the screen and causing some cartoon havoc then you’ll like this family friendly game with a bit of humor.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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