Grab your tennis racquet! Mario Tennis Aces is here!
The wait is finally over! Mario Tennis Aces is now available on the Nintendo Switch. After a 13-year hiatus, Adventure Mode makes its return to the series complete with a variety of missions and boss battles. All of your favourite Mushroom Kingdom characters are here along with a variety of new gameplay modes.
Find out why, Mario Tennis Aces is a must own game for Switch owners everywhere.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Camelot Software Planning
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Save Luigi and restore peace to the island in Adventure Mode
Last seen in Mario Tennis: Power Tour on the Game Boy Advanced in 2005, Adventure mode offers a good six hours, or so, of gameplay to Mario Tennis Aces. The story centres around Mario who is competing in a tennis tournament on a tropical island. One day, Waluigi and Wario learn of an all-powerful tennis racquet known as Lucien.
Both Waluigi and Wario’s curiosity get the better of them and set out to find the all-mighty racquet in hopes of becoming the best tennis players. In the process, Waluigi and Wario become possessed by the dark power within Lucien and kidnap Luigi. With no other choice left, Mario and Toad set out on an adventure to rescue Luigi and restore peace to the island.
Solve puzzles, overcome obstacles and defeat bosses
With the help of Aster, who resides in the Temple of Bask, you’ll learn the skills needed to restore peace to the island and rescue Luigi. Along the way, you acquire different racquets, which all have various attributes, as well as level up your own stats such as running speed.
During your journey across the island, you’ll encounter many different puzzles to solve, obstacles and bosses to beat. Sometimes you have timed activities such as getting a certain amount of points in a limited amount of time or getting a tennis ball past a character 20 times in a row without him hitting it at all.
These challenges vary in difficulty level and often I found myself having to try many times before being successful. I’m talking to you Mirage Mansion and the Reflection Room. None of the challenges are impossible to complete, just be prepared not to give up. As difficult as Adventure mode can be at times, I found that it was a great place to learn and perfect the skills needed for online play.
Deep and intuitive gameplay
If you’ve played any of the previous Mario sports titles, then you’ll feel right at home with Mario Tennis Aces. It has an arcade feel to it mixed with some pretty deep gameplay. The rules of traditional tennis apply and your various different shots are mapped to the controller’s face buttons.
Aside from your basic lob, slice, topspin and flat, you also have a variety of special shots and abilities, which are tied to your energy gauge. You can power up your energy gauge by performing trick shots and rallies. Once powered up you can perform Zone Speed, Zone shot, a Special Shot and more.
Zone speed allows you to slow down time to give you a better chance to react to an on coming ball from your opponent or to give your self time to plan a shot. Zone shot allow you to return the ball to your opponent to a specific spot at blazing speeds. And, when your energy gauge is fully charged, you can unleash a Special Shot that just might break your opponent’s racket.
Offline Tournament play
Mario Tennis Aces offers an offline tournament mode, which is composed of three difficulty levels. Mushroom is for beginners, Flower for intermediate and Star for expert. Each level of difficulty has eight opponents to face off against. For those that choose not to start Mario Tennis Aces with Adventure mode, offline tournament mode is a great way to practice and perfect your gameplay.
Every character has their own unique playstyle such as speedy, defensive, powerful, and so on. With more than 15 playable characters there is a character suitable for any type of gameplay style.
Greater accessibility with motion controls in Swing Mode
If you are looking to just have plain old fun with friends and family, Mario Tennis Aces has a mode called Swing Mode. In this mode, one to four players swing the Joy-Con controllers like actual tennis racquets using motion controls. If you’ve ever played Wii Sports tennis, then you will feel right at home.
My family and I spent many hours playing Swing Mode over the past week. These motion controls made it extremely easy to jump into the game and just start playing without the need to go through long tutorials learning the moves. Before playing Swing Mode, make sure you have enough space around the play area and secure the Joy-Con controller to your wrist with the included straps. You don’t want to mistakenly break something or hit someone.
Stunningly colourful and bright visuals
Without a doubt, Mario Tennis Aces is the best looking in the series to date. It’s bright, colourful and the characters add life to the game. I loved the particle effects in the game when trick shots are performed, tennis racquets are broken, special shots taken and shots blocked.
Moreover, each of the game’s courts are unique and packed with personality. The game’s framerate is silky smooth and I never encountered any hitches while playing. This is particularly important, as it makes timing on critical shots easier to perform. Overall, I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. Mario Tennis Aces looks and sounds superb on both TV and Switch screens.
Competetive play with Online Tournament mode
Online Tournament mode allows you to play against gamers from around the world. There are two different classes you can compete in: Standard Class and Simple Class. Standard Class allows you to compete with the added strategy of using Zone Shots, Zone Speed, and building up energy. Where Simple Class allows you to compete just by using your skill with five shot types.
Starting July 1st, you’ll be able to compete for rankings, which is calculated by your performance each month. Additionally, when you participate in tournaments from July on, you can ear early access to additional characters.
I’ve spent several hours with online play and I’ve had little to no problems at all. Once or twice I connected with an opponent and then the connection dropped before the match started. Additionally, I did encounter a handful of users where their connection strength was low and did experience a bit of delay.
Mario Tennis Aces is yet another fantastic addition to the Switch’s library of games. I really enjoyed Adventure Mode and the challenges it brought. The implementation of motion controls in Swing Mode make the game more accessible and extremely fun to play with family and friends.
I was surprised at just how deep and strategic gameplay can get if you want it to be and at the same time how easy the game is to literally pick up and play. At the end of the day, Mario Tennis Aces is a great addition to any Switch owner’s lineup. I’ll catch you on the tennis court online!
+ Adventure mode is fun and adds valuable gameplay to the overall experience
+ Fun to play online and locally with family and friends
+ Amazing amount of depth and strategy to gameplay
+ High production value that you come to expect from Nintendo games
– Adventure mode can get difficult at times
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5