Mario Tennis Aces Review
The Mario sports games have always sat in this weird space between actual sport and quite fun Mario spin-off games. They’re usually glanced over in release lists as also-ran games but it’s rare that they’re actually ‘bad’.
Considering the current competition when it comes to tennis games, it’s not much to say that Mario Tennis Aces is one of the best in recent times. In isolation, it’s still a positive outcome, especially if you enjoy the back and forth that the real sport usually offers.
From a purely technical standpoint, Mario Tennis Aces delivers. It provides a wonderfully simple to learn but difficult to master gameplay system that allows the tides of matches to twist and turn all over the place.
While the four face buttons handle standard tennis shots such as slices, lobs and topspin, the triggers and right stick handle special moves not found on your standard tennis court.
The right stick handles trick shots, often used to rescue a ball from a seemingly impossible position and usually involves somersaulting or rolling across the court while time slows down in order to return it back to your opponent. Zone shots allow you to pinpoint precisely where you want the ball to hit while Special Shots allow your character to perform a brief stylistic animation before slamming the ball into the other side of the court. All of these shots use energy, which is primarily gained from performing standard shots.
The sheer variation of shots means that each match is often a game of back and forth, working out what your opponent might be planning and countering as efficiently as possible. What this means, is that Mario Tennis Aces is actually a bit like a fighting game. Instead of parrying your opponent’s punches, your anticipating and reacting to their tennis shots. The system itself is as deep and complex as you’d like it to be and its intricacy and mastery of it will separate the also-rans from the pros when it comes to online matches.
Despite the fundamentals of the game impressing considerably, what’s on offer falls a bit flat. While Adventure Mode promised much on a first look, it’s merely used as a tool to introduce many of the game’s mechanics, lasting a few hours. It takes Mario to a varied amount of locations with a number of tennis puzzles and tests to overcome. It shows off some unique character and boss designs that will force you to think about where you’re putting the ball. It’s a mode that doesn’t provide anything extraordinary but it’s a nice break from standard play.
Mario Tennis Aces’ online portion is limited to an online tournament where you can play with others across the world with the full plethora of controls on offer or a limited ‘Simple Class’ tournament that strips out the fancy Mario tennis shots.
For those who want to skip most of the basic mechanics all together, there’s also a ‘Swing Mode’ which allows you to re-live the days of waggling the Wiimote for Wii Sports tennis by taking most of the actual control of your character out of your hands for the most part.
As long as you don’t come into Mario Tennis Aces with forlorn hopes of an in-depth Adventure Mode it’s a case of what you see is what you get. A fully-developed tennis game with a bit of Mario madness thrown in for fun. If the complex controls hook you, then you could be spending many an hour punishing opponents online.
Mario Tennis Aces Review Conclusion
Mario Tennis Aces provides a tennis-themed Mario game with an in-depth gameplay system that has the potential to hook you for hours. While it won’t satisfy single-player gamers, the basic gameplay portion of Mario Tennis Aces can keep you looking for matches online for some time.
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