Posted on May 29, 2012 AT 12:21pm
Mario has done it all from saving the princess, to racing go karts, golfing, playing baseball, and soccer. Well his newest sports game, Mario Tennis Open for the 3DS is now here. How does it hold up to past Mario Tennis games.
The gameplay in Mario Tennis is easy to pick up and play, but has some serious depth for those who are looking for it. At the game’s core, it is basic singles or doubles tennis with Mario music and stylized courts. Where the challenge comes in is the specific shots you have to hit. When your opponent hits the ball back, it will go to a certain spot on the court and it will show a color, that color corresponds with a shot type that if you hit the ball with that shot type, be it by pressing a button or using the touch screen, will make it harder to hit and make it so your opponent is more likely to miss. My only real issue with the base gameplay is that other then the different attributes that affect ball speed and character movement; there is nothing special about the court besides aesthetics. I felt because this is a Mario game; the developers could have done more of something like the tracks or power-ups in Mario Kart. Also, I found that the tournaments later on in the game are a little bit too difficult unless playing with a custom character that is fine-tuned to the way you want him.
Every character has different attributes. Certain characters are balanced while others are more about defense or power. The only one that has no base stats is your Mii which you customize by unlocking equipment and clothing through winning tournaments and buying them, making it so you can compete in the harder tournaments and do well when you go into the online modes. The online itself is fun, it’s just the same as the single player: easy to learn, but hard to master with singles and doubles modes.
The game modes are Basic Exhibition where you choose everything for singles or doubles, Tournaments which is the game’s primary single-player mode that you go through increasing in difficulty as you progress through them, and the game also has three different types of mini-games. One is where you have to accurately place your shots through rings. Another is based on Mario Galaxy where you play tennis on a court where random holes appear and you have to avoid them or your ball gets sucked into a black hole. In the final mini-game, you play Super Mario Brothers, but instead of being Mario, your tennis ball is Mario and to collect coins or kill enemies you have to place your shots while the game side-scrolls. It is a neat concept and is kind of fun, but is very slow.
What really helps the gameplay is the presentation. The game looks great as all of the art is well done and the game is incredibly colorful. The music is also great and fully orchestrated with each level themed after somewhere in the Mario universe in which the music reflects. While the game isn’t super detailed, it doesn’t really need to be.
Mario Tennis Open is another solid Mario sports game. While it doesn’t hit the highs of Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS, it’s still a lot of fun with a lot to do and unlock. 3DS owners looking for a simple, but fun game could do far worse than Mario Tennis Open.
Final Score: 7.5/10
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