When they’re done well, simple games can be fun and addictive and there is a new one on the Nintendo Switch, by Finnish developer 10tons, called Tennis in the Face. Tennis in the Face is a very simple puzzle style game that is reminiscent of Angry Birds and The Incredible Machine. Your main goal being to try and set off a chain reaction of events to take out all the characters on the screen in the least amount of shots as possible.
The story involves a disgraced tennis player named Pete Pagassi who is trying to get revenge on a corporation after they created an evil addictive energy drink called ‘Explodz’. To get out of the addiction, Pete puts himself into rehab and when he eventually is released the entire city has now been brainwashed by this energy drink, leaving Pete no choice but to equip his trusty racket and knock some sense into people. Between completing a section of the city, the story is told through a series of newspaper front pages chronicling the hero trying to save the citizens from the toxicity of the energy drink.
To rid the city of the atrocity you select specific places on a map with each section blocked off until you clear a set amount of missions. Each mission has a certain amount of citizens you have to try and knock out using a tennis ball, with new obstacles and hazards thrown into the mix as you travel. Each stage is a single screen featuring obstacles, legends, incline blocks, and other things for your tennis ball to interact with or bump off of, and your goal is to rid the screen of all the enemies. By doing so, you will successfully complete the stage and you want to try and do it in the fewest amount of shots possible to earn a golden crown.
There is a good amount of trial-and-error involved as far as lining up your shot, getting the momentum you want, and then making sure everything goes your way. It’s all about setting off chain reactions in regards to momentum, explosions, and hitting other objects so you’re able to successfully clear out the stages and there is definitely a sense of accomplishment once you finally hit that perfect shot and take out everyone.
While the stages are fun to figure out, there isn’t much left to do once Tennis in the Face is finished. It is fun to go back and try to achieve a higher score or get a golden crown in each stage, but it really doesn’t take too long to complete each stage topping out at maybe a couple hours. A few of the stages change up the gameplay mechanics and new citizens are introduced, though I do wish they would mix and match them more and have a bigger variety of levels to choose from.
As you go through the stages there are Achievements to keep a lookout for, as well as extra levels which most of the time ramp up the difficulty to extreme levels. There are plenty of obstacles, ranging from scrap and glass, that if hit will destroy your ball. You also have things like support beams and concrete blocks that can be used as surfaces to bounce the ball to make it reach the more difficult places. Cans of Explodz are also place around some levels and when hit also act as bombs, sometimes taking out enemies and other times not doing too much.
In terms of how Tennis in the Face looks, I really appreciated the brightness and amount of color in the game, as well as the clever humor present. The presentation might be too simple, but that’s understandable given it originated as a mobile title and has been through multiple iterations before landing on the Switch. Even if you had already played it, the Switch is one of the best places to play it and I liked how they implemented touch controls to provide more control options.
Overall, if you’re someone who likes the casual style gameplay of a game like Angry Birds and just want a title you can relax to, Tennis in the Face is priced low enough that it is a fun little diversion from some of the more in-depth experiences on the Switch. The barrier to entry is low and I had a good chuckle at times when the rag-doll effects of knocking people out started hilarious chain reactions. This title definitely scratches that itch when you only have a few minutes to play your Switch.