17
Nov
12

TNNS

TNNS is a curiosity.  Upon starting it up, I promptly lost in the single-player mode and felt terrible at video games.  The game just keeps flowing though.  The music doesn’t stop and failure is just a footnote, so I just keep playing and playing.  What is TNNS though?

Verbs

TNNS consists of equal parts pong, breakout, and pinball.  The player drags their finger across the bottom or side of the screen (depending on how you orient your mobile device) to slide a paddle around the screen to ricochet a ball across the screen.  Dragging the paddle after hitting the ball will cause it to curve in the direction you drag.

The player’s goals aren’t explicitly defined aside from keeping the ball from flying past the paddle.  Stars can be collected when the ball collides with them and collisions with a star block will change the level entirely.  And speaking of levels…

Spaces

TNNS gets interesting as you switch between levels.  The first level will always be the same when starting a new game, but after that they are randomly selected.  Levels can consist of static blocks, moveable blocks, moving blocks, breakable blocks, stars, power ups, and arrows which redirect the ball.  All of these elements appear in both single-player and two-player modes.  Levels vary in difficulty and it’s mostly left to chance what you’ll encounter.

TNNS is a playground for Action Button and RABBX’s riff on pong and it’s hard not to be hypnotized, and it’s hard to put down.  It’s flashy, it beeps, and no two games are ever the same.  It’s not going to knock your socks off but the foundation is solid and satisfying.

Impressions

Your primary score is how many stars that you can collect without losing the ball.  Changing levels will net you an additional handful of stars each time and when you eventually lose, you will be awarded even more stars based on the goals you have met (e.g. complete 15 levels.)  At first, this would seem to distort the meaning of the score however, stars also represent a currency which accrues across your games and can be spent on player triggered power-ups.  These allow you to trigger multi-ball, setup barriers, enlarge the paddle, or skip levels, just to name a few.  It adds a whole new layer to the experience and allows players to strategize and tailor the game to their preferences.  And if all else fails, you have the option to spend real cash to tune up the game, right out of the box.

I hate video games.  And I hate you.  That's why I made TNNS.

Anyone can pick up TNNS and appreciate the underlying game design.  It’s simple enough to please those who make impulse app purchases and forget about games after 30 minutes, while still providing enough content to keep more focused players occupied.

Download at iTunes or Google Play

Note: For more information on the context that I use the terms “verbs”, “spaces”, and “impressions”, please see the post titled I’m going to take the fun out of games.

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