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TNNS Review

By Dave Flodine, on January 16, 2013


TNNS
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Easy to learn, hard to master.
  • The game really gets going once you buy your first power-up.
  • The sound design greatly enhances the experience.

CONS

  • Controls can be awkward.
  • Once equipped and used, you have to re-buy power-ups.

VERDICT

This is one of those games where you'll see the game over screen a lot, but it's also one of those games you'll be pressing that 'again' button every time you see it.


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After Ziggurat, it was going to be interesting to see what Action Button Entertainment came up with next. We're a little late to the party on this one, but with the release of TNNS (which is pronounced tennis), they seem to have cemented themselves as a maker of games with simple mechanics and premises, that reward an increase of skill from the player, while having very engaging low-fi presentation. TNNS is a variation on both Pong and Breakout, with a subtle change of control, and a random selection of levels that play like a kitchen sink of game ideas, meaning that you're always going to see something new.

The game starts. You have a paddle controlled by your finger and a ball that bounces off it. Your goal is to hit the box which will take you to the next level, while collecting as many stars as you can along the way (they're needed to buy things in the shop after all). Here's the trick. Upon the ball ricocheting off the paddle, sliding your finger to the left or right will curve the ball in that direction, either gently or sharply depending on the distance and speed you move away from where you started. This allows you to angle the ball to amazing places, but also presents trouble when the ball comes back, speeding at a sharp angle. It's much harder to judge control over this mechanic when you're not dealing in straight lines. After purchasing your first power-up, barriers and multi-ball will appear in the game world. A barrier gives you a free pass, and of course multi-ball splits your single ball into three. If you've played pinball, you know that it won't take long to return to a single ball, but at least the game enables a neat little sharp second of pause every time your paddle rebounds the ball during these segments. It takes the pressure off... kinda.

So what of these levels? Well there are arrows to guide the ball's path, there are breakable blocks and unbreakable blocks. There are black holes, blocks that fall or get pushed away when hit. There are even spinning prisons taken straight out of the chaos emerald bonus stage from Sonic the Hedgehog. Many of the hundreds of levels you will play more than once, but the sheer glut of content makes it so that even after hundreds of plays, the possibility of experiencing a new level is there, and that's always exciting. Oh, and there's a two player mode that is basically Pong with obstacles if you have a friend and are looking for something fun to pass the time.

With groovy chiptune music and a simplistic yet pleasing use of color amongst simple shapes and effects, TNNS wraps itself around its gameplay, and delivers an arcade experience that would be eating your quarters if this was playable in a cabinet. Yes the game is unashamed with how unforgiving it can be. Yes the controls can take some time to get used to. Yes, having to re-buy power-ups after they're equipped and used is quite annoying, but for a short burst of game filled enjoyment, TNNS hits in all the right places and easily earns our recommendation.

Screenshots

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Comments

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nickroberts80000 1 year, 3 months ago

Bought this, great game. well deserve 5