Pete Pagassi was a world champion of professional tennis. Everything was going splendidly for him when his life came crashing down around him. The reason for this: the Explodz energy drink. A scandal erupts, and Mr. Pagassi suffers a fall from grace of epic proportions. Now, as a vigilant but disgraced hero, he sees the Explodz epidemic befalling his city, and he takes it upon himself to free the citizens from the spell of this heinous drink.
There are few songs in Tennis in the Face, and most of them sound very similar to one another. Most of the songs have a consistent beat from snare drums and melodic strumming from electric guitars. The music has a sort of hip feel to it that fits the style of the game. It is music that you can tap your foot to. The main menu song was particularly catchy. There is nothing wrong with the music, but it isn’t particularly memorable and some greater variety would have been appreciated.
This game has clean and crisp visuals. There are seven kinds of characters in total including the hero, and each one is distinctly different from the others. When they get hit by the tennis ball, they have good facial animations reacting to it. They land in all sorts of humorous bodily contortions depending one where they were upon being hot and how they were hit.
Tennis in the Face can be controlled almost entirely by touch. Because this is very much a smartphone type of game, this is a natural fit to it. It can also be controlled entirely with buttons, so it is really just up to the player to choose whichever means of controls suit their preferences. For me, I preferred using the buttons while playing the stages but would use the touch screen to navigate the maps and menus. I also found aiming with the touchscreen to be far faster than using the analog sticks.
The game seems to be mostly stable. There weren’t any issues I came across of slowdown, and the resolution appears to be crisp. There was one crash I did encounter, and it was one which I could replicate. If you wipe of the screen while in the game for longer than a few seconds, the rapid motion causes the game to crash. This happens every time, so if you need to wipe of the screen, enter the system menu or put your Switch into sleep mode first.
Tennis in the Face will immediately remind you of games like Angry Birds and the title we recently reviewed on Switchwatch called King Oddball.
You control a stationary tennis player and hit tennis balls at Explodz-crazed people to try and knock them back to their senses. The tennis balls travel hard and fast. Initially, you will hit it in a straight line, but then it will ricochet around the stage until it’s momentum comes to an end or it hits a stage hazard. These include glass panes and large, colorful rocks. Another kind of weapon you can use is a can of Explodz which you lob in a large arch, and it explodes after bouncing around for a short time.
Each stage is sort of a puzzle which you will need to try and take out every enemy on the stage while aiming your shots around the various stage hazards and angled walls. Simply completing each stage is fairly easy due to how much the tennis ball bounces around. There was a time where I accidentally hit the ball while not even remotely aiming, and I still cleared it in that one shot simply because of how the ball bounced. There are some later stages which require some specific solutions to complete, but most of them can be easily passed with minimal strategy.
Simply completing all 98 stages will only take you about an hour, but getting a high score on each stage will take much longer. While you can easily get past each stage by randomly hitting the ball, most of the stages require you to carefully line up your shots to take out the enemies in the smallest number of hits possible. Doing this will earn you a far higher score, and you will earn a crown for that stage. The real goal of this game isn’t simply completing all of the stages. It is to get that crown on each one. I think they made an excellent design decision by doing that. By making the stages easily accessible and simple to complete, the game is appealing to players of all ages and experience levels. Even young children will not be challenged to complete this game. However, playing for the high scores is targets older gamers, and it will make you work for it.
You will come across a few special icons on the maps. Some look like medals, and these will inform you of a series of achievements which you can complete the entire sets for special rewards. Another special icon allows you to play 30 additional stages which are generally much more difficult than the stages from the main game. Finally, there are also a tournament stage with leaderboards attached to it, so play for that top score!
At only $5 on the eShop, this game sits right in that budget title range. Not much could really be expected of it for that price. Completing all of the stages will only require a little more than an hour, but a game like this is best experienced in small doses. That hour of gameplay might end up being stretched out among several days. You will be able to play for quite a lot longer moving up through the leaderboards, getting crowns on all the stages, completing the challenge stages and getting the achievements.