Whenever a new Mario Tennis game was announced, I would get so excited for its release only to be let down. It's been over a decade since the franchise performed well on the market. Let's look at this game which is getting a lot of buzz lately!
A few weeks ago, Nintendo released their demo of Mario Tennis Aces on the Nintendo Switch before the official release of the game. It featured a tournament mode where players can participate in the tournament at any time and move along the brackets accordingly. Whenever they face a new player, it will be an opponent in the same round of the tournament. The demo launch seemed successful as many people purchased the whole game, in response.
According to Silicon Era, between the week of June 18 – June 24, Nintendo sold 123,773 units of the game. If you'd like to purchase it yourself for download, you can do so in the Nintendo Eshop.
The full game release has offered more than I expected. The Adventure Mode is an actual narrative where Mario must save the world from a possessed tennis racket. And how does he do this? Why none other than by playing tennis! Toad tags along thinking he's helping, somehow. The wonderful dialogue from him deserves a facepalm every few groups of text. You explore this new world in the form of a Mario Party board accompanied by colored spaces.
Various themes are present throughout the game, as seen above. This is also expressed through the music and ambiance for each location. Themes range from forestry and beaches to haunted houses and ancient ruins. These themes represent past Mario adventures, in a way.
This new mode accomplishes numerous firsts for the series. Collecting more rackets is now a possibility, to prevent the loss of rackets without the ability to progress. With three strong hits to your racket during a match, you will lose it. To avoid this, I simply rebooted up the game before quitting. Because of the possible stall in gameplay, you can buy rackets at certain areas of the map. You can level up Mario along with his stats. Each level provides a different challenge for the player and is surprisingly difficult.
The series now includes additional ways to defeat your opponent. Before you try most of these maneuvers, you have to charge your shot up. To do that, hold a button for hitting the ball for a few seconds before it reaches you. Keep doing that until you like the amount of charge you possess. You can use a Zone Shot which will allow you to perform the equivalent of shooting a tennis ball at the other end of the court. There's the Trick Shot where your character will quickly flip horizontally to reach the ball. The Special Shot is even more powerful than the Zone Shot. It is available once you gain enough power for it, indicated by the blue fire in place of where your charge meter is. This will hurt your opponent if they don't properly block it – which is another new option for players.
Tournaments were shown off in the demo but are broadly expanded for the full game. You can participate in a Standard Tournament with all the new tricks on or a Simple Tournament like a regular tennis match. Whenever you feel like playing in the tournament, it will pick up in whatever round you left off on. During each month as far as September 2018 so far, there will be an unlockable character available. The more points won from the tournament lead to an early unlock of each character. The rankings are viewable and broken down by season. Each month counts as a season, in this case.
In offline tournaments or COM where Artificial Intelligence (AI) face off against the player in a choice of three cups. This looks like it’ll be the Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, and Star Cup. I don’t know if Nintendo added any more to this mode.
The tennis rallies feel really smooth as a whole considering Standard and Simple modes. It's still taking me a while to adjust to the new tricks as part of Standard. The toughest part of learning the new tricks is the timing and spacing of your character to the incoming tennis ball. Practice the new tech a lot and you can easily compete with the best out there. Simple mode is basically the same as the tennis gameplay in Mario Power Tennis for the Nintendo Gamecube. Only difference is no Power Shots or Saves.
graphics and sound
The graphics for this game are astonishing as you can identify identical hair strands on Mario's head. The game looks incredibly realistic in Mario terms. The lighting accentuates the courts and the characters nicely. And even the various locations look strikingly realistic such as the jungle and ocean. As for sound, the collisions with the tennis ball are audibly clear and realistic. It helps with getting a feel for the match or challenge. Mentioned above, the sound fits the themes of each area well. Some even remind me of track selections from past games.
In Free-Play mode, you can play Single Console Play with up to four players (assuming you have two sets of Joy-Cons). In this case, the match would be automatically set to Doubles. There’s Local Play where two consoles are required and the four people split up to accommodate. Finally, Online Play is where you can play with anybody you want via Wi-fi. Make sure the person is on your Friends List and Create a Room for them to join. Several people can join the room if you choose Solo and then only one pair of people on another console can join in Team. Or, if you want you could invite a random person to your room.
Wii Sports introduced the idea for motion controls in a tennis game. Then that translated to Mario Power Tennis when it was re-released on the Nintendo Wii, shortly after. Now, we finally have a Mario Tennis title with this feature on its initial release. The Joy-Cons act as Wii Remotes making the design of the Nintendo Switch even more genius and convenient. We can play with motion controls thanks to controllers that were two-for-the-price-of-one. The functionality of this feature works fantastic.
The final two menu options on the Main Menu are How to Play and Settings. The How to Play is a great tutorial for beginners into the franchise and to this game, itself. Much of the music is typical remixes of pieces from the rest of the series.
All of the modes are done very well. The product is more than I expected it to be and I am appreciative of that. I can’t wait for more updates from Nintendo for this wonderful game. I hope you guys enjoy it.
|+ Tournament Mode (online & local)||N/A|
|+ Standard and Simple Mode|
|+ Adventure Mode|
|+ New characters for every season|
|+ Improved graphics|