Mario Tennis Aces

Mario Tennis Aces

The game of tennis … you hate it or you like it, but tennis games that is a completely different story for me.

This kind of games have something addictive for me and whether that is because of the often on the eye simple, but also that profound tactical gameplay well I do not know, the fact is that tennis games always fascinate me.

The first tennis game I played was Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, this will have been in the late nineties of the last century, and man, what have I put hours into that one. Together with Mario Kart, Golf and Party this was for me one of the most played multiplayer games and just plaing few games almost never bored me.

When I also bought Virtua Tennis 1 & 2 on the Dreamcast in the same period, it was clear to me … tennis games are not boring but the shit!

Now 2018, and after years of no tennis games to play because my interests on game area where elsewhere, I finally have Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo’s Switch, and once again put in quite some hours in both the single and multiplayer modes. Hopefully I can write if it is game set and match for this title!

Characters

With Mario Tennis Aces, Nintendo has once again opened up a can full (22 pieces) with familiar and slightly lesser known characters.

mario-tennis-aces-roster

Almost everyone is here again from Mario to Boo who can even hold a racket without hands (and can scratch the craziest curve balls!), And even the sadly  notplayable fighter Waluigi, who is absent in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, has pulled out his tennis uniform from the lockers. Here in Aces his appearance is a must. A number of characters are fast, think of Toad and Yoshi while others are powerfull think of Donkey Kong and Bowser. A few others are again tactical or balanced.

We can outline in our dreams how Nintendo has been doing for years according to the well-known formula, but why would they change it at all? If it works then it works and maybe that also contributes to the charm of Nintendo’s multiplayer games.

You know what you get and everyone has his or her favorite character that is available in almost all Mario related multiplayer games. Also from 2019 there will be a number of new DLC characters available, including Petey Piranha and Pauline which indicates that the support of this game is going to more than just okay.

Gameplay

This is of course the strongest point of many Nintendo game and fortunately the gameplay here again is as solid as a house. In addition to regular tennis strokes where you can hold the button to generate more power in your stroke and double tapping for a stronger battle, there are also so-called zone shots, special shots and zone speeds available that can be generated by means of charging a power ring can be used.

Once your power bar is full enough, you can do a zone shot by means of a star that appears on the track, which means that you can do a super powerful battle in slow motion that your opponent often has no defense against.

Once your power bar is completely filled then you have access to a special shot that you can use at any time. And although the outcome is the same, each character has a different special and the great thing about these specials is that if your opponent does not know how to parry them with perfect timing and in a professional manner, it will result in a broken tennis racket, which means  a step closer to a premature knockout.

Are you on the receiving side of one of the special moves then you always have access to the zone speed special, this means that, if you play a little good where the opponent hits the ball, you can use a slow motion move to still come to the ball.

This requires some timing otherwise it will still result in a broken racket. This move can also be used with normal strokes and sometimes results in hilarious scenes if you use it a number of times in succession and still manage to score the winning point.

Also some tennis courts have got a typical Nintendo touch instead of a net in the middle, think of Piranha plants that if you hit the ball in their mouth they spit it back to the opponent at another place or to a couple of Shy Guys sprinting across the court who if they hit the ball hit it back to your opponent.

These are nice extras though it sometimes stands in the way of a ” fair ” tennis match. Fortunately, this is just in the menus to turn off when you play against human opponents for anyone who prefers a slightly more regular tennis match.

Adventure Mode

In a sports game let alone in a game about tennis, you do not think of a profound story or a story mode. But what is the case here? After adding a story mode for the Gameboy Advance for the last time in Mario Tennis Power Tour, Nintendo also added a fun, but sometimes superficial Adventure Mode to Mario Tennis Aces.

In this adventure mode you get the assignment to complete 5 power stones (Avengers Infinity War style) by means of tennis assignments to get back a magic racket from the grasping hands of an enchanted Wario and Waluigi.

I will not spoil too much about how the story unfolds so let’s just say that the typical Nintendo / Mario games style is what happens.

By means of a large overworld map with different locations that we can all dream about now (forest, volcano, sea, snow etc) tennis matches against known and lesser known Nintendo characters have to be played to get a step closer to every boss and win back the power stones.

After each won (or lost) match you get leveled up a bit, in terms of strength and speeds though  I must honestly say that for me the difference was very minimal when I started (level 1) and then I had the adventure mode off (level 30+). Also in adventure mode you can complete assignments with which new tennis rackets can be earned that are all different from each other. (think again of strength or other skills).

////

I certainly enjoyed the 6 to 8 hours that it took me to come to the end with the adventure mode. But in all honesty like I mentioned earlier, sometimes it felt a bit superficial (something like a whole long tutorial) and did not really keep it in terms of challenge (should it be too difficult, then there will be an option to make it a little easier after two failures). That aside, it is a tennis game so I have seen this adventure mode as a nice extra to master the basics and the power moves of the game.

In addition to the adventure mode, there are also a number of single player tournaments to play, these are unfortunately very easy to complete and you are also finished in an hour. That there is still no reward compared to once you have completed them makes it that these tournaments for me did not really add value to the game.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer section in Mario Tennis Aces is probably going to be the most part of your time, especially the online part of it. Against the computer opponents the matches you can play are fun but it is of course in no comparison with playing against a (local or online) human opponent. And this is where the gameplay and charm of Aces come into its own.

There are the standard friendly matches, both single and double games, where you can play via a lobby system with your online friends (voice chat via the app) and where the rules of the game can be set to your own taste.

Still, I think, the main mode for many players will be the online tournaments. Here you can win competitions and tournaments in the online ranking system. And if you win five consecutive times, you also grab the cup.

mario-tennis-aces-tournament

I have spent quite a few hours in the online environment of Aces and I am more than happy with it. Occasionally I had a bit of trouble while playing but this can not really be mentioned and did not detract from the online experience for me.

Local multiplayer is of course also present, and what’s more fun than having a friend beside you on the couch which you can show some gravel?

Conclusion

Mario Tennis Aces surprised me in a positive way by the content of the game, although it was not very innovative at times, but the support from Nintendo with updates etc makes up for it.

As we are used to from Nintendo, it all looks very cheerful and colorful, and the sound is also fine. The fact that it does not bring much new under the sun in terms of characters or other content should not spoil the fun for me.

This is a game that, like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Party, I will start up regularly to play a few matches online or locally against friends.

Final Score
mario-tennis-aces-boxart

Game title: Mario Tennis Aces

Game description: Compete against well-known characters in violent tennis competitions in Mario Tennis Aces for the Nintendo Switch!

More...

  • 80%
    Visual - 80%
  • 80%
    Audio - 80%
  • 90%
    Gameplay - 90%
  • 60%
    Difficulty - 60%
  • 90%
    Content - 90%
  • 70%
    Extra's - 70%
80%

Samenvatting

Mario Tennis Aces surprised me in a positive way by the content of the game, although it was not very innovative at times, but the support from Nintendo with updates etc makes up for it.