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Tennis in the Face Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With a funny name and charming art direction, Tennis in the Face makes a great first impression. Unfortunately, it's held back by repetitive gameplay and levels that are too similar. This is a step in the right direction for 10tons Ltd., but this quirky puzzler is not an essential purchase. Rating: 64%
Tennis in the Face
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
When it comes to social trends, I'll confess that I'm sometimes late to the party. I held on to my old flip phone for way too long, I have yet to see Titanic and I still don't care what color that dress was. Despite having been downloaded billions of times, I have somehow missed out on the Angry Birds phenomenon. That ends today, thanks to a charming little clone named Tennis in the Face.

Clearly inspired by Rovio's hugely popular mobile franchise, Tennis in the Face is a game built around the notion that it's fun to hit tennis balls at people. You play Pete Pagassi, a world champion tennis player whose career was cut short due to a crippling addiction to energy drinks. Actually, it was only one energy drink he had a problem with -- Explodz. After battling his demons and getting off the sauce, Pete has made it his mission to free the citizens from this evil beverage.

Unfortunately, Pete isn't very good at coming up with missions. If he were smarter, he would have gathered together a group of like-minded thinkers to tackle this epidemic in a sober and responsible manner. But Pete is only good at one thing, and that's hitting tennis balls at people. So that's exactly what he does.

The concept is appealing enough; Pete will have a limited amount of turns to injure every person in the level. Each level offers a unique puzzle, where players attempt to find an object or character that triggers a chain reaction that takes out multiple people in a single turn. There are explosive energy drinks scattered throughout the stages, as well as rolling barrels, vending machines, ice blocks and other innocent items that can be used to crush the opposition.

The cast of Tennis in the Face is every bit as loathsome as the energy drink manufacturer. Sure, they may be victims of an unregulated industry run amok, but they are still presented as terrible people who deserve a tennis ball square in the mouth. You'll go up against clowns, hipsters and a force of militarized police officers. And just when you think you've seen the worst, most despicable characters, the game introduces players to the Explodz PR team.

All this is cute, but ultimately repetitive. Although the game tries its hardest to come up with new obstacles, it's not enough to keep the experience engaging from start to finish. It also doesn't have some of the hooks that would bring players back for more, such as online leaderboards. Some die-hard fans may want to earn a gold crown in every stage, but there wasn't much to keep me coming back after the initial tour.

Tennis in the Face (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

There are times when the game hints at a much deeper experience. Some levels feature items on the street that award players with bonus money. There are also mini-games that involve picking up coins and earning cash. Unfortunately, there's nothing to spend this money on. It's a shame they didn't flesh this out and create a way to upgrade the tennis star.

Tennis in the Face was originally released a few months ago on the PlayStation 4, but I would argue that it's a better fit on the PS Vita. The levels are bite-sized and it's the kind of thing you pick up and play for only a few minutes at a time. The Vita version also offers touchscreen support, making it a carbon copy of the game iPhone owners have been enjoying for years.

This quirky puzzler comes from 10tons Ltd., the company responsible for last year's disappointing Crimsonland. Tennis in the Face is a step in the right direction, though far from being an essential must-buy. I never realized that hitting tennis balls at hipsters could be so satisfying, and that alone may be worth the five dollar asking price.
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