There has been a glut of games lately, particularly for iOS, that really push the definition of “casual game.” Fire Emblem Heroes, Chroma Squad, and Faraway: Puzzle Escape apply a level of depth to the iOS market that is typically reserved for PC or console release: in-depth strategy games, narrative adventure experiences, and so on. While these games are all fantastic, sometimes the heart yearns for a more simple experience; a game that lets you simply shut off your mind and react to what’s put before you. And for a game such as that, the newly released Timber Tennis is a fantastic option.
Don’t let the title fool you: Timber Tennis has more in common with old-school hits such as Breakout or Arkanoid, or even Pong, than it does any modern Tennis simulation. This free-to-play game is something of an “endless tennis” experience. Your opponent will lob balls at you over the net and you must simply tap the left or right sides of the screen to move your avatar to intercept them. Once you build up your “Super Shot” by sucessfully returning a given number of balls, time will stop and you’ll be able to line up your perfect finishing blow. Two super shots, one per side of the net, and you win. It’s as simple as that!
However, where the game gets interesting is the sheer hypnotic speed at which you’ll be expected to return these shots, particularly as the game ramps up in difficulty. It’s incredibly easy to completely lose yourself returning ball after ball, falling into a tennis-induced trance as you try to perfect your play style. And the game manages to provide just enough interest by the way of the occasional special shot your opponent will send your way: perhaps you’ll need to get out of the way of a bomb thrown across the net, only to swiftly scurry over in time to where the real ball is headed; or perhaps your opponent will send a multi-shot your way, requiring you to lobby back several balls in quick succession. Either way, you’ll be kept on your toes, ever chasing that high score!
Timber Tennis is, at its heart, a score-chasing game. Every ball you manage to return will net you a single point, along with points for collecting coins that occasionally appear on the court. These points carry over from opponent to opponent, the end goal being to accumulate as many points as you can before you eventually lose.
A fairly robust customization system rounds the whole thing out perfectly. The points you earn can buy new characters (most of whom you’ll have already bested) and new balls; both of which can imbue you with subtle advantages for your next score-chasing run!
It’s not the most complex or thought-provoking game on the iOS market, but Timber Tennis is a fantastic distraction for those of us looking to kill a few minutes here and there. For what it is, it’s perfect.
Timber Tennis is available for free for iOS and Android devices.