Mario Tennis Aces - Adventure Mode Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
We’ve all, at some point, dabbled with Nintendo’s iconic Mario Tennis franchise, whether it be the fan favorite original on the Nintendo 64 or the previous iteration on the Wii U titled Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. Whichever title you favor, one thing is for certain and it’s that the Mario Tennis series always provides a great experience for fans of all ages. Whether you’re playing solo against the CPU or having a get together with 3 of your friends for a doubles set, Mario Tennis always serves up a good time and never truly disappoints. Mario Tennis Aces sees a considerable upgrade from its predecessors ranging from its more robust casual play options in its single player mode, to of course a more visually appealing presentation that looks stellar on the Switch’s screen. Anyone into Tennis will surely find the title to be a smash hit and even if you seldom watch or play Tennis, it’s still a title that provides non-stop entertainment.
What to Expect
Mario Tennis Aces provides a satisfying selection of modes to choose from, whether it be the fun and interactive Adventure Mode, to the Tournament Mode, Free Play and Swing Mode options. Adventure Mode takes the tried and true appeal of the classic Mario titles and combines it with Tennis to create an appealing approach to creating a storyline. Tournament Mode appeals more to the competitive audience and for those who want to take their skills online to play against other human opponents, using either the Standard Mode and Simple Mode, which we’ll explain in more detail later in the review. Unlike in past Mario Tennis titles where you had to unlock characters to use them as you progress, fortunately in Mario Tennis Aces, you get a vast majority of the cast available from the get go, and can unlock more from participating in monthly events. Even if you don’t participate in the Tournament Mode often, you’ll still unlock them anyway which is a plus. We can certainly see that Nintendo is trying to create a more minimalistic approach to their titles and avoid the overwhelming nature of having to unlock too many things over a long period of time. With that being said, Mario Tennis Aces certainly does serve up a good experience for fans of the series, but does it really score big time in all areas? Well, you’ll need to keep reading to find out!
In good old Nintendo fashion, the visuals are always very clean and make good use of bright colors with a muted palette to charm the more casual audience, preferably children. This isn’t to say that adults will not find the aesthetic to be pleasing because we certainly found it to be very fitting, but the title is clearly targeting the younger demographic to perhaps introduce newer players to the series in a positive way. The overall presentation in terms of UI is very well organized and once again in true Nintendo fashion, ensures that things are kept to a minimum so as not to overwhelm the eyes while playing. This is a huge plus because they’ve placed more emphasis on the gameplay rather than trying to spruce up the UI, allowing for easier transitioning between modes but also making gameplay a lot more endearing.
Character animations look very sharp on the Nintendo Switch both in handheld mode and TV mode, along with the special effects that come along with Zone Shots, Star Shots, Trick Shots and our favorite Special Shot which creates a very stellar looking cinematic before executing your serve to the opponent. When your opponent fails to block the Special Shot and racket breaks, the opponent leaves behind a trail to emphasize the power behind your shot which is a nice little added touch to the visuals. Each character has their own unique Special Shot animation which looks superb even down to the smallest details like character expression. In this area, we certainly give Mario Tennis Aces a huge plus for executing the visuals really well, creating a more dynamic experience and excitement.
Nothing too fancy in this area to really talk about because the soundtrack in the game wasn’t as appealing as we thought it would be. It’s certainly a step above its Wii U predecessor but still didn’t really reel us in any significant way. The overall sound effects, however, are definitely very well executed, especially when landing a powerful serve and hearing the racket connect with the ball. It’s a delightful feeling to know when you’ve landed that ace serve and hearing the power generated through your swing. Other than that, there’s nothing truly groundbreaking in this area as the music does tend to grow repetitive and the character voicing isn’t much to celebrate since it’s mostly mumbling. With all that being said let’s dive into the gameplay!
So as stated in the sound and music area, the shots you have in Mario Tennis Aces are really cool not just to look at as you perform them, but learning to master them is the best feeling. The training mode in the game does a great job of explaining just what each shot does and how to effectively use them when in a match. It’s a very straightforward system that will take a lot of time to really understand but once you do, the game becomes a lot more enjoyable both with friends and online against other opponents. The controls are very simple and intuitive while in Swing Mode, you can try your hand at using the motion controls with a group of friends to create a more realistic experience. We didn’t really dive too much into Swing Mode, but we can certainly see this being a wonderful activity for families, gatherings, or perhaps road trips. Adventure Mode is the single player feature that takes Mario and Toadstool on this wild ride to uncover the truth behind the Power Stones and the mysterious racket that’s turned Waluigi and Wario into greedy thugs (as if they weren’t greedy enough). You traverse through various areas of the map which take you to places like a haunted house, a forest, as well as a pirate ship which comes equipped with its own Tennis court.
All in all, Adventure Mode is a quick and easy way for players to dive into the game, without feeling the stress of playing against a human opponent, while also having the chance to experience a fun narrative and unlocking items as you go. As we said before, this mode felt more catered towards the more casual audience as it provided a lot of incentives for players to unlock and collect items, and feel a sense of reward along the way. Of course it’s entertaining for veteran players, but much of that excitement may wane over time since playing against the CPU feels sort of repetitive, and doesn’t really provide that true sense of accomplishment like online play does.
Free Play just lets you explore the game in more detail and practice your serves with the cast of characters. We used this mode a lot to play online since it allowed us to invite our friends and have a room where we all can participate freely, without much of the hassle Tournament Mode has. You can play solo or with a team which adds even more thrill to the game, both of which can be done so online. We found this mode to actually be a lot more exciting than the Tournament Mode because for some reason, that mode really felt lacking in features and despite being catered more to the more competitive audience, it felt incomplete in some ways. You only have two modes to choose from, Standard Class and Simple Class, one allowing players to experience the game with all the current features, while the other is the more classic style where player skill definitely plays a bigger role.
Be that as it may, we will certainly give Nintendo the benefit here simply because, for a company which has notoriously struggled to keep up with the current online landscape that other hardware developers have capitalized on, they’ve showed great improvement overall. It’s a simple yet sophisticated approach to the online gaming world on their new platform, and it lends its hand well to the simple approach that is Mario Tennis Aces. Hopefully, once their online services go into full throttle this September, we’ll see a more refined infrastructure that will allow versatility regarding online competitive play.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
So in spite of some lacking features in the online Tournament Mode for competitive players, Mario Tennis Aces does make up for it with its Free Play where it allows you to create a room and still enjoy an online experience without the worry of rankings. It’s certainly catered more to casual players but once again, we acknowledge Nintendo for taking initiative to try and support a broader audience with their popular Tennis title. A more refined lobby system would be nice with the addition of adding in a voice chat, or even a chat box to make communication easier between players online. We know that Nintendo is a bit restrictive regarding the younger demographic but it would certainly help to provide a platform for people to chat on, just to keep things interesting as you play. All in all Mario Tennis Aces certainly hits the mark with regards to its fun factor and we truly can’t stop playing, whether it be on the train or just lying in bed and getting in a few matches before bedtime. It captures the true essence of what Mario Tennis represents, while throwing in some added touches to give new school and old school players a run for their money.
A vast majority of the cast is unlocked from the get go which eliminates the fuss.
Monthly rewards encourages players to participate in the Tournament Mode.
Free Play is a great way to play online both solo and with friends, without the stress of rankings.
Easy to pick up but certainly one that will take time to master.
Visually impressive on the Switch platform!
Tournament Mode could use a little more fine tuning to lure in more competitive players.
Adventure Mode is fun for a while but starts to wane after a while.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Mario Tennis Aces definitely lived up to its expectations for fans of the series, and hopefully its new approach will lure in new fans to participate in all the fun. We hope you found our review to be insightful and provided you with enough information to make your purchase decision easier. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest gaming news from around the globe, and Twitch in order to catch us playing all of our reviewed titles live!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!