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Mario Tennis Aces (Switch) Review

July 28, 2018 | Posted by Adam Larck
Mario Tennis Aces
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Mario Tennis Aces (Switch) Review  

The Mario series of sports games have always been a great title for gamers of all skill levels.

For casual gamers, you could pick your favorite character and just hit the ball around and have fun. For more experienced players, you could get into the nuances of controlling ball spins, using/saving ultimate attacks and more.

However, for Mario Tennis, the last few entries haven’t been the best. Mario Tennis Ultra Smash was a lackluster entry, and the 3DS entry, Mario Sports Superstars, offered a short burst of alright tennis, but wasn’t worth a long play.

Now, we have Mario Tennis Aces. The game is one of the better titles in the series, but still has some issues that keep it from reclaiming the full joy that the Nintendo 64 version had.

At least the controls haven’t changed too much since the N64 days. There are five basic shots to use: lob, topspin, slice, flat and drop shot. As far as new shots go, the Zone Shot and Special Shot let you attack your opponent by trying to break their racket. Do it enough times, and they’ll forfeit the match.

Energy is built up by using Star Shots and Charge Shots. Both shots can be targeted to specific locations. The main difference is that Zone Shots can damage a racket if hit wrong, while Special Shots can destroy a racket with a single shot. On the defensive side, energy can be used to slow down time to try and block a shot successfully, or the right thumbstick can start a Trick Shot to help your character run quicker to balls that are out of the way to try and return them.

As for the start of the game, don’t expect to start off in the menu and be able to hop into an Exhibition match. Instead, get ready to check out Adventure Mode, the tennis-RPG hybrid mode. In the Adventure, Luigi, Wario and Waluigi have been taken control by Lucien, an evil tennis racket, and Mario has to find five Power Stones to break the spell.

The RPG elements don’t seem to improve Mario too much. Instead, you’ll find yourself improving through a variety of mini-games, matches and boss battles as you hone your skills. Be prepared to lose quite a bit, though, as challenges can ramp difficulty up quick and bosses can be unforgiving with even one missed ball.

This shows what Adventure Mode is missing, though: Quick Restart. Each time you fail a mission, or even just quit, you must wait for XP to be given, load back to the Adventure screen, select a challenge and go back into it. Believe me, those times will start adding up.

By the time you’re done, though, you should have quite a few more courts unlocked to play with friends, and a better understanding on the nuances of the game and how to start excelling on the courts.

Outside of Adventure Mode, the Online Mode was quite smooth, with little lag experienced throughout multiple matches. Sure, the special shots can sometimes make some rallies seem a bit cheap, but saving your energy for these times can be a good counterbalance.

The main issue with Mario Tennis Aces comes down to the lack of choices. When it comes to selecting a court, either the computer selects or you choose which ones you don’t want to play. Plus, while some court obstacles can be turned off, others that are built into a level end up being permanent.

For game length, you can select either a single game of seven points, or “Extended Play,” which is just two games in a set. The longer matches are only in offline tournament modes. These omissions may not seem big, but being able to settle in with a long match with a friend would be a much better experience than quick bursts.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Overall, Mario Tennis Aces does a good job with its Online Mode, and Adventure Mode ends up being a good starting point for the title. If Camelot does some updating on changing options and giving gamers more freedom, this could give the game a lot more life in the future. For now, get ready for a weekend of fun, unless you have a friend that’s into tennis.

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Mario Tennis Aces, Adam Larck