Game Reviews

Tennis in the Face

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| Tennis in the Face
Tennis in the Face
| Tennis in the Face

If a game's title had any major bearing on its final score, we'd probably be looking at a rare PG Platinum Award for Tennis in the Face.

Alas, it doesn't, so we're not. But don't let that disappoint you too much, because Tennis in the Face is a pleasantly accomplished - if slightly generic - casual physics-puzzler.

Advantage Pagassi

Perhaps surprisingly, Tennis in the Face has very little to do with tennis.

While the protagonist is one Pete Pagassi, a disgraced tennis champ with a mean serve, the game plays more like Angry Birds than Virtua Tennis Challenge.

Each obstacle-strewn stage presents you with a series of enemies to take out with your monster serve. You only have a limited number of balls with which to bring them down, though.

Due to their superior numbers and awkward placement, you have to work angles and exploit level furniture to cause maximum damage to your many opponents. You might need to bounce your serve off several surfaces, hit a box of dynamite to set off a chain reaction, or knock over an obstructing pillar to free up a subsequent shot.

Solid ground strokes

It's very much typical physics-puzzler fare, then, but Tennis in the Face still pulls such well-worn mechanics off with a fair amount of panache.

Level design has been expertly judged. While some levels have a pretty obvious and restrictive solution - usually to teach you about a new mechanic - there's generally scope to complete each level in a number of different ways.

Of course, there's also a large dash of luck involved in some of the more complex levels, which can be exasperating and exhilarating in almost equal measure.

In your face

As you'd expect from a game called Tennis in the Face, the sense of humour here is brash and silly, and perfectly in keeping with the knockabout gameplay.

On the downside, we found the level-select system, with its confusing tube map and perplexing assortment of medal screens, a little messy and poorly defined, but at least you get the option to try each section in any order you wish.

Overall, Tennis in the Face is as silly, fun, and throwaway as its name suggests. Don't come here looking for an involved sports sim or an original puzzler. Come for the well-honed physics-puzzler gameplay, and the chance to smash a hipster in the face with a tennis ball.

Tennis in the Face

A delightfully silly physics-puzzler that's slightly derivative but highly entertaining
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.