Mario Tennis Aces Impressions
Mario Tennis Aces is Nintendo’s latest sports centred game and this weekend it had a pre release online tournament demo so that fans could go hands on with the game.
Having played several games both offline and online I can safely say that this game is fantastic!
At first it may look like fairly basic arcade tennis game but the more you play the more you discover it’s layers and depth.
On the surface Mario Tennis Aces uses the same 5 shots found in most tennis games. Top spin, slice, flat, lop and drop shot. These shots can also be charge to add more power as well as directed around the court as expected.
Where things get interesting though is the use of energy which can be built up by performing charged shots. This energy (the meter can be seen in the top corner) can then be used to perform Zone Shots, Special Shots and Zone Speed.
Zone Shots are triggered when inside the stared space on the court. When activated you can then pinpoint aim your shot using either the joysticks or with motion controls.
This pinpoint shot is than powered back across the court, forcing your opposition to position themselves perfectly.
Special Shots can be performed once your energy meter is complete full. These are unique to each character and include a fun cut scene with the character setting themselves up for a big smash which will then require your opposition to perform a well timed block if they wish to return it. Miss timed however and their racket will take damage. Too much damage and their racket will smash causing a KO.
Zone Speed can be performed at any time using your stored energy and allows you to slow down time to reach tricky shots. This can be especially useful if your opposed uses a Zone or Special Shot.
It’s when using, or sometimes not using, energy that the more tactical elements of Mario Tennis Aces comes into play. Should you drain your energy to use Zone Speed when you’re 2 points up, or should you reserve that energy to perform a Zone Shot at the crucial time. Do you use that energy on a Zone Shot or try and battle it out with normal shots until your meter is full and then smash home the Special Shot to see out a game.
It’s this constant management of your energy on top of the normal shots that make Mario Tennis Aces matches so unique and addicting.
Each character also has their own Trick Shot. Trick Shots can be used to quickly travel across the court to reach a far away ball and reward a boost of energy if executed successfully. Miss time your Trick Shot though and you will almost certainly concede the point. These Trick Shots also have great animations that are unique to each character to add that extra level of polish.
In the online tournament demo we only had one court available to us but from trailers and promotional materials we have seen that there will be a wide range of courts with unique gameplay elements to each.
Different surfaces and obstacles will make every court feel different from the last and likely lead to some interesting tactics that players will learn to take advantage of.
On its release Mario Tennis Aces will also feature various forms of multiplayer. As fun as the game will be when playing alone its when playing with others that I think this game will really shine. Sports games are inherently great multiplayer experiences and with the various tactical approaches that can be taken by players, this title is likely to keep fans coming back for more and more to try and best other online and their friends locally too.
Thanks to the form factor of the Switch local multiplayer can truly be maximised with Mario Tennis Aces and I can see it becoming the perfect party game after its release.
As well as online competitive matches with friends there will also be tournaments which will be held regularly.
Local play can be played with 1-4 players both in docked and in tabletop mode. You can also link up to 4 Switch consoles wirelessly to play single and double matches each on your own console.
It seems that Nintendo has really committed to making this the best experience for any kind of player and its this level of care that will see this game succeed in the long run.
I am really looking forward to diving into the game when it releases later this month and seeing its fan base grow from strength to strength.
If you have a Switch definitely check out Mario Tennis Aces when it comes out on June 22nd.