Mario Tennis Open impressions
I’m just going with a quick review here because I only played through the single player (and none of the minigames), and I frankly don’t have much to say here, beyond “this game isn’t good”… though I will elaborate on that.
This is rather sad to me, because I like Mario Tennis usually. The original on N64 was great, the one on Gamecube was good despite the special shots and the 2 handheld games on GBC and GBA were also great. But this one just falls short.
Since I wanna make this a quickie, I’ll just talk about what I don’t like about it!
“The Win Button”
The game features a win button! Sort of. You see, almost any shot done in the game will tell the receiver where the shot is going with a big colorful circle on the ground. Doing the proper shot from within that circle will lead to a special shot, and if the opponent doesn’t respond to that shot with the right type of shot, you get a smash chance, and frankly no one returns smashes. So the win button? Well, the X button does a “Simple Shot” (A does a topspin, B does a slice, Y does a flatshot, A and then B does a lob and finally B and then A does a dropshot). But, when you’re in one of the colored circles, the X button will instantly do the special shot, so you don’t even need to think about which shot you need to do because the game will do it on its own. It might be a valid tactic to sometimes not do the special shot, but it’s better to just do it, because if the other person doesn’t do the right shot in return (or returns it at all), you pretty much win the point.
So let’s go with what my big problem is here: you have 6 different shots you can do, and only one of them is really useful beyond the serve return (hint: slice to the opposite side of where your opponent serves from). It really just feels like they simplified the game way too much. Yes, people can and will counter the special shots properly, but the first person who gets a special shot out basically wins and that makes the game very uninteresting to play.
Speaking of serves, I frankly don’t think it’s possible to get a serve ace unless the receiver just plain does nothing after the server hits the ball, quite unlike previous Mario Tennis games. I tried multiple shots aimed at multiple areas and none of them seemed to really do anything massively different… Or maybe I just suck at serving, I don’t know.
No RPG mode
The reason handheld Mario Tennis games were interesting is that they had an extra mode that the consoles didn’t have. Due handhelds making multiplayer less of an option, the handheld games had to somehow be worth buying in comparison to the console version, so they had a special RPG story mode. You’d train to gain experience points and then level up and use stat points to make your character stronger in different aspects like strength, speed, accuracy and proficiency in different shots, eventually fighting stronger and stronger opponents. It was a really fun and made the handheld games worth buying.
This has no such mode, instead replaced with a boring customizable Mii (finish the tournament mode to get themed equipment and just give it to him) and nothing to really do beyond tournaments and online play. Right, online play, that’s supposed to be the reason why we don’t need the RPG mode here…. Too bad it’s laggy, and it’s quite clearly no real replacement to a good old RPG mode. Local multiplayer remains a non-option unless you know someone else with a 3DS that has this game. There’s literally no reason for the lack of an RPG mode here, I say it’s laziness.
What else is there to say? Well, there’s mini-games I haven’t played so I can’t comment on them, but looking at videos I can pretty much guarantee you’ll get bored with them after a few plays each.
Really, the most positive thing I can say here is that the controls are really good… I mean, ignoring the win button, the controls are smooth and responsive, movement is perfect and aiming your shots is spot-on for the most part.
The presentation is also pretty good though the 3D actually doesn’t do anything, the effect is barely noticeable.
Frankly, if they removed the special shots, the game would get a big boost in quality, rallies would be a lot more interesting than just trying to get the special shots and hoping for the other person to fail at using the right shot for the return. That alone would probably make me want to buy the game whenever it gets to a reduced price. Having the RPG mode in addition to that would be an instant buy.
Camelot. Nintendo. You failed heavily.
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