Mario Tennis Aces is a tennis game, developed by Camelot Software Planning and published by Nintendo. Mario Tennis Aces was released in June 2018 and is exclusively available for the Nintendo Switch.
There have been numerous sports games within the Mario franchise over the years and Mario Tennis has been one of its most popular variants. Mario Tennis Aces is a culmination of years of practice as well as exciting new modes and mechanics, making it Mario’s best tennis game to date!
I often get a little bored after playing a few games of any tennis game as the gameplay often feels very much the same. Thankfully however, Mario Tennis Aces has a variety of different modes and gameplay mechanics which kept my attention for the long run! As well as a traditional tournament mode, Mario Tennis Aces also introduces an Adventure mode, a Swing Mode and a host of minigames and online multiplayer modes.
The Adventure mode acts as a story, but really it serves as an introduction to the basic mechanics and gameplay of the game. For the most part I enjoyed the Adventure mode and whilst this mode does lack a bit of replay-ability, it did offer some humorous moments during the cutscenes as well as some unique mini-games across its story. Annoyingly however, all of the playable stages within the game have to be unlocked via the Adventure mode, meaning if you want to try out any court other than the already unlocked Marina Stadium, you have to play through the approximately 5-hour story mode.
Tournament mode is where I’ve spent the majority of my time whilst playing Mario Tennis Aces and this is the mode where you get the best feel for the game’s standard gameplay. The only disappointing thing with Tournament mode is an inability to adjust the pre-game settings! Whilst free play does offer this option, it would be nice to adjust the settings before starting a new tournament, particularly when playing with friends.
The online multiplayer modes are actually good fun for what they are and offer a different set of challenges than when playing against the computer. As well as tournaments and single matches, players can also play online in Co-op Challenges which once complete, can unlock new costumes and colour variations for certain characters. The Swing Mode is a bit of gimmick by all accounts; it allows players to swing the Joy-Con to simulate hitting the ball with a tennis racket (think Wii Sports), however the motion detection feels imprecise, particularly when compared to games such as Wii Sports.
Gameplay wise, Mario Tennis Aces is fantastic! As well as incorporating many classic tennis techniques such as topspins, slices and lobs, Mario Tennis Aces also introduces zone shots, zone speed and trick shots. Each new special shot offers something new to the game, from the zone shot allowing players to aim directly where the ball will go whilst the game is in a paused state, compared to zone speed which puts the match into slow-motion, but keeping the player at normal speed, allowing them to reach far away shots. These new mechanics make the gameplay so much fun and really helps to differentiate each individual point, making for some frantic games of tennis.
As well as the fun and exciting new mechanics which helps to change up each match, the overall gameplay just feels brilliant! Mario Tennis Aces feels like a proper well-rounded tennis game, with a much less gimmicky feel to it than previous iterations of Mario Tennis games. With replays after every shot and some beautifully designed courts, Mario Tennis Aces really is Mario sports gaming at its best!
No Mario game would be complete without an array of playable characters from across the Super Mario series. All of the fan favourites are playable in the game including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Peach, but we also get a number of additional, unique characters including Koopa Paratroopa, Dry Bowser and even Fire Piranha Plant! The number of playable characters is actually quite impressive and each character is split into 6 different classes; All-Around, Technical, Speedy, Tricky, Defensive and Powerful. Each character plays different as a result of their class and additionally, each character has a unique special shot which provide for some stunning visuals.
With its variety of game modes, well balanced gameplay and brilliant visuals, Mario Tennis Aces is Mario’s best sport game to date!
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