MARIO TENNIS ACES REVIEW



Picture credit: Play-asia.com




There was a lot of hype in the build-up to Mario Tennis Aces. The Mario franchise has, for the most part, succeeded in making all their games right, if not great. The latest sports game by Nintendo has lived up to its reputation, creating a fun and enjoyable sports game that caters for both gamers and tennis enthusiast alike.

POWER STONES



The Adventure Mode starts with a story, and it is the entire reason why Mario Tennis Aces became Mario Tennis Aces. A calamity has beset the Mushroom Kingdom. The Tennis god, Lucien, had awakened from his deep slumber and possessed several characters including Luigi, Bowser, Wario and many others, making them vile creatures. Stepping up to save the kingdom from the Curse, Mario has been given the mantle to venture out and look for the 4 Power Stones to lift the curse.

A RACKET-TY AFFAIR



True to its roots, Mario Tennis Aces brought along a big roster that consists of the usual suspects - Princess Peach, Luigi, Wario, Bowser to name a few. Each of the characters has their own set of attributes that make your gameplay unique. Bowser, my favourite character, is excellent defensively. My approach when using Bowser will be defensive by nature. I stay in the middle of the court and use my counters and blocks to give me an edge over my opponents. Players such as Mario and Luigi are balanced overall,  is great for first-timers learning the ropes. The slower but powerful characters such as Donkey Kong or Wario might not have the speed, but their swings and volleys are forces to be reckoned with, literally.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER




The tennis court is where all the action and fun takes place. Mario Tennis Aces introduced a power-up mechanic where you can execute very stylish and almost unblockable moves that leave your opponents stunned most of the time or block those directed at you. Before you could show off these fancy moves, you are required to build up the energy meter. The energy meter is, however, a risk-reward system, since it will be exhausted when you pull off a defensive or offensive move.

This is where your strategy comes to play as you cannot be executing fancy offensive moves one after another, leaving you exposed defensively.  Once you are familiar with this system, that is where the tennis court becomes like a battlefield, as you plan your movements while trying to outlast your opponent. Remember, it is not a sprint; it is a marathon.

A BUFFET OF FLAVOURS




Along with a host of game-modes, comes a few varieties in-game challenges. Throughout your journey in the Adventure Mode, you will discover out-of-tennis elements thrown at you. During the early gameplay, you will battle out against a Turtle with a ship's main deck as the tennis court. Sounds normal enough? Not entirely because in the middle of the said tennis court, is the ship's main mast, waiting to re-direct your shots to another location on the court or even rebound your balls back to you. These environmental challenges are a refreshing addition to an otherwise straight-forward regular tennis match.

Nintendo also included four different modes for you to play.

- The Adventure Mode is the primary story campaign. This is also a place where you will learn the basics of the game.

- The Swing Mode is where you will do a little bit of exercise, unhooking the joy-cons and use it as the imaginary rackets as you swing your way to victory. Bring together three other friends, and you got yourself a Mario Aces Tennis party.

- Tournament mode is where you compete against either the AI generated opponents or go online to battle out against human ones.

- Free play is an open mode where you can choose any game levels (tennis courts) and try out different characters with their unique skill sets.

THE NOT SO IMPRESSIVE SWING MODE




While playing the game normally as a regular gamer, works seamlessly, swinging away using the joy cons motion control doesn't. There seemed to be some clunky and finicky motion detection going about. Hopefully, Nintendo fixes this small problem with their next patch so that they can realise my dream on a real and wonderful Mario Access Tennis party experience. 

VERDICT




A big kudos to Nintendo once again for bringing yet another Mario centric fun game to us. Granted that the Swing Mode has its problems but aside from that, Mario Tennis Aces is an entertaining game to own. It will surely shine in parties or gatherings or even better yet, and you now have another option to settle disputes. Settling disputes over fistfights, Fifa 18, longest to hold breath, coin flips are all so yesterday. 

Rating: 8/10

Mario Tennis Aces release date: 21 June 2018
Game platform: Nintendo Switch




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