- 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.
- Controls can be awkward.
- Once equipped and used, you have to re-buy power-ups.
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.
DescriptionTNNS (pronounced “Tennis”) is a game about bouncing and bending balls. It’s a game about keeping your eyes on balls.
Sometimes there are a lot of balls. Too bad you only have two eyes.
Your psychic paddle zips to your finger. Wiggle to bend ball paths once (or twice) to make tricky shots in two hot modes.
✔ TNNS For One: It’s you and a never-ending sequence of progressively trickier levels. Collect star coins; smash star boxes to proceed. Survive as long as you can. Spend money to buy power-ups to boost your scores. Brag to your friends on Facebook or Game Center.
✔ TNNS For Two: If you play TNNS with a friend, they might become your best friend . . . or your worst enemy. Bring the skills you’ve sharpened in single-player to a multi-ball challenge. Bend and swerve. Stage crazy fake-outs. Sink epic shots. Scream when you win; scream when you lose.
We plan to submit TNNS to the Pulitzer Prize committee. (*As of this writing, the Pulitzer Prize committee does not have a category for games. We expect them to make one.)
We also plan to submit TNNS to the Nobel Prize committee, in the “physics” category. (*As of this writing, the Nobel Prize does not accept games as submissions. We expect them to make an exception.)
Those last two paragraphs were jokes.
✔ You will never see the whole game: Each trip into the single-player endless mode of TNNS sees you through a path of levels randomly selected from over 500 hand-crafted layouts. The probability of your seeing everything in this game is about as high as the probability of your climbing Mount Everest with one hand tied behind your back. And: spoiler alert -- some of the harder layouts are just plain weird.
✔ That’s right -- Hand-Crafted: The levels aren’t random arrangements; they’re premeditated first-degree obstacle gauntlets designed to always surprise you. Some blocks you break; some blocks you bump; some blocks stay put. Black holes teleport your balls. Sometimes, everything is spinning. And sometimes, it's a chaos freak-out. TNNS is like a pinball machine married a jazz band and had a million weird babies.
✔ Your iOS Device is now a portable party: Anywhere you bring your iPad or iPhone is a place where people are going to like you unconditionally. Experience the shrieking joy of Party Mode -- where players compete for goals . . . or for stars. Or for both! It’s your party: just keep your eyes on the balls. Bend; be tricky. Out-think your opponent. One thing you won’t have to think about is Having Fun: we’ve already done that thinking for you.
✔ Power up, get down: Spend the stars you’ve earned in single-player or multiplayer to buy power-ups at the in-game shop. Make your paddle bigger. Double the coins you’ll earn. Start your next game with an extra ball (or three). Equip boosters to three slots that you can activate when you want: pop a multi-ball to triple your fun, or launch a fireball to tear a stage apart -- if you can control its awesome power.
✔ Customize: Maybe you’d prefer the background look like a football field. Maybe you want the ball to look like a basketball. We like you, so we want you to be happy. Head to the customize shop and go nuts.
✔ Play how you want: It’s your iOS device. So play how you want. TNNS is a landmark first* in iOS app Design: the game does not rotate as you rotate your device. The scoreboard, however, does. Play right handed -- or left-handed. Play with the screen held upright and the paddle at the bottom. Or play with the paddle at the top, if you’re feeling feisty. (*Note: Statistic refers only to the 148 apps we have evaluated out of millions available.)
✔ You’ll want more: So we’ll give you more. There are more levels in this game than you can ever see. And we’re making more. Downloading TNNS today is just the beginning -- we’re going to keep pumping it full of new levels. We’ve already made a game you literally won’t be able to get enough of; now watch us keep making too much of it.
What's New in Version 1.2✔ Updated for iOS 6.1: Improved stability and more
✔ Reduced download size for over-the-air updates!