Mario Tennis Aces make its debut on the Nintendo Switch console and its tennis action on the go. Get ready to serve up aces, slices, lobs and drop shots as you defeat your opponents and become the ultimate tennis champion in the mushroom kingdom. The only question is will you care about being the best long enough before boredom sets in?
Mario Tennis Aces is essentially a tennis based game with the unique twists you’ve come to love with Mario titles. There’s more to Mario Tennis Aces that just a few random matches of tennis, there’s a host of game modes for you to try and explore.
First there is Adventure Mode which is where I commenced my play through first. I do recommend Adventure Mode as it eases you in to the basics of the game and explains all the different controls and shot manoeuvres that you’ll need to perform. Whether it’s a lob shot, drop shot, power shot or slice, there’s a face button for each of those making it simple to serve, return serve and strategize your gameplay. For some, this may be all you want from tennis, but there is so much more here. Each player in Mario Tennis Aces has an energy gauge. This gauge essentially is filled up by performing charged-up-strokes and trick shots. These are a little harder to master but again the tutorial walks you through it and shows you the ropes.
Adventure mode is also where the games charm rests with a simple story to join Mario on his quest to save Luigi; glad it’s not the princess for a change. Fans have been asking for an adventure mode for some time and Mario Tennis Aces does a solid job at bringing that to its users, however it’s far from perfect. Mario travels around the world map, encountering challenges at each step along the way. There is plenty of “Hi my name is” followed by “defeat me in order to progress” type gameplay that does feel a little repetitive and can be a little draining in terms of dialogue. However each battle requires you to perfect a certain move or technique otherwise you simply cannot progress. So if you’re planning on just using the four face buttons here you won’t progress very far. Along the way you will also encounter an array of boss fights which tend to focus on the need to use special moves in order to dazzle your opponent. Of course as you defeat each boss and level you earn XP which level’s up Mario and his attributes ranging from speed and agility. Mario can also earn new rackets with more power and skill, however these do break and most of the time I found myself just using the default racket I was assigned more often. Perhaps if certain rackets were required to defeat certain bosses this could have been more of a strategic approach for the boss fights.
Next up there is Swing Mode which is for 1 to 4 players. Here you can use the games motion controls much like Wii Sports tennis to play with friends and have a great time. Sure, the precision is not 100% but it’s a fun way for you and your friends to play when they come around. Next there is Tournament mode both offline (local) and online. Here you can engage in some great matches with either online opponents or the computer generated A.I. Like most Mario inspired games there’s a host of cups ranging from Mushroom Cup being the easiest through to Star Cup being of course the hardest. One of the points I must make here is there are no bonuses such as new racquets to earn, costumes or even new characters, it’s all pretty bland in terms of rewards. In fact, in all honesty, if you’re after rewards and some form of progression your best-off sticking with the Adventure mode. Finally, there is the free play mode where you can play anywhere you like and against the A.I. or friends. This is ideal for those that just want a quick match without a story mode present.
Lastly, I must mention that Tennis is well, Tennis. However, there is still plenty of opportunity for some variety here which I think was missed with this outing of Mario Tennis Aces. It would have been great to see some real character progression and unique moves and abilities with each character which would almost force you to switch characters in order to defeat certain enemies per say. The Adventure Mode story was ok, but nothing brilliant that honestly gets boring quick. I do this all the charm that you come to love with a Mario game is here, its just not enough to hold me here for the full 5 sets if you know what I mean.
Mario Tennis Aces is a host of fun whether you are playing solo, with friends locally or even online. However, the game falls short with its Adventure mode and ultimate character design, but that’s part of it. The rest of Mario Tennis Aces is fun. There’s plenty of great matches that can be had with friends and it’s the kind of Tennis title that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Either way, if you love Tennis and the Mushroom Kingdom then Mario Tennis is right up your alley, or court should I say?
Thank you to Nintendo Australia for providing a copy of Mario Tennis Aces for review.