Mario Tennis Aces – The Switch Island Review
In the seven to eight hours that I played fully through the single campaign, along with all three COM tournaments (Mushroom, Flower, Star – what else!) I had a great amount of fun. However, as with most early reviews, Mario Tennis Aces hits the odd double fault, notably in the lack of premium content and the repetitive nature of the gameplay.
The single player campaign takes our moustachioed plumber (fact check – he’s back to being a plumber again. Calm down) across an island, tasked with tracking down four power stones that, if they fell into the wrong hands, would result in, well, bad stuff. The gameplay loop is pretty simplistic – hop to one stage, defeat a low level character at actual tennis, hop to the next, face off against a rhythm-esqe game of ‘hit the right type of shot into the right area’, finally resulting in a face-off against the local boss for said power stone.
As mentioned, selecting the right type of shot is pretty much the entire strategy of MTA. You can lob, slice, power, and smash, each mapped to their own button. The added dynamic is that with two quick taps of the analogue stick, you’re character can perform a trick shot, allowing you to reach well placed competitor returns. As you successfully execute a trick shot (or a power shot), your special meter builds up. Once full, you’re able to fire off a special move, which, if placed towards a competitor, potentially destroys their racquet. All of the above makes for pretty much a fighting game dynamic.
Does this sound like your time of game? Great! However, after a few challenging single player levels, you ‘get’ how to win. You realise the COM players can’t really get to certain to shots. It all gets a bit too… predictable.
Okay. That’s the negatives out the way. The game, however, truly shines once you start competing online against actual people. Selecting the right character to your play style is paramount – I opt for the power style, namely Wario – only then can you go toe-to-toe with the internet’s finest. Local play is slightly laggy, but I can’t vouch that this wasn’t down to my internet connection / interference.
So, let’s cut to the chase, should you spend your hard-earned real money on a game that doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Personally, yes, as I’m still playing it online, mainly as I managed to finally find a game that I can sometimes beat @gcubepreacher on. This is a fine game. It doesn’t quite live up to the caliber of other Mario games, but hopefully there is some future content on the horizon that will beef up MTA’s offering. It serves up the occasional ace, along with a few faults, but ultimately its quality is shown online.