7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Tennis Aces Review


I didn’t expect that I would be able to play this game for a few years, but fortunately Nintendo stepped up and made this game completely free for all online members. You get a 5 day demo and that was more than enough time for me since the story is only around 4 hours long. It’s definitely a fun tennis title, but one where I think Nintendo went a little too far in adding extra mechanics and gimmicks. The tennis gameplay was already amazing back in the Gamecube days. Nothing else really needed to be added to take it to the next level. Finally adding a full story was cool though.

Mario and Peach were busy winning another tournament when Wario and Waluigi show up holding a mysterious racket. Luigi manages to snag it and the dark power turns him evil. Mario must now travel the world to find the 5 power gems which will allow him to subdue the racket. This will be difficult though as the villains are after the gems as well and a powerful guardian protects each of the gems. Mario will really need to bring his A game if he wants to triumph here. He’s survived some tough odds before so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

The story is surprisingly good for a Mario game. We get actual dialogue for the characters aside from Mario and Luigi. They talk through recycled voice clips which may be a bit lazy, but it’s certainly better than talking through gibberish like in Yooka Laylee. I do think that the opening cinematic was made in a hurry though because the sound bites there are especially out of place. For the text box cutscenes it was all standard enough. Bowser gets to join in the story too as you would expect and the background elements of a dark and light god running around feels like something out of Final Fantasy. It’s a short story, but definitely a fun one and I was also glad that Daisy manages to get involved this time around.

As for the gameplay, at first it seems like your traditional tennis set up. You can hit lob shots, ground shots, power moves, etc. Your goal is to score points by getting the ball past the other player. Well, this all gets thrown for a loop when the tutorial continues and they introduce zone shots. This occurs when you have some special meter and an opponent hits a ball to you that bounces a little high. You can stop time for an instant and hit the ball wherever you want. If the opponent is slow to react or hits at any point but the proper one then their racket will take massive damage and potentially shatter. If their racket shatters then they lose the match instantly. Typically you start with 2 rackets so you’re fine if just one breaks.

On the defensive side of the ball you can also choose to slow down time at any point in order to make it easier to take the shot. Finally, you’ve got your final smash which is 3 times as strong as a zone shot so it will instantly break the opposing racket unless you perfectly block it. I used this quite a lot in story mode to win most of my matches via KO. It saves time compared to going the whole 9 yards. Still, I didn’t particularly like these extra mechanics. I feel like it takes away from the actual tennis fundamentals since these abilities really take over. You just can’t win without mastering them. Especially because you’ve got a new dive which takes you almost halfway across the screen in an instant. That mechanic also went a little too far if you ask me.

The gameplay may not be perfect, but it’s still fun. If you really enjoy Tennis then you should still have no problem with it. It was fun enough where I went back to story mode after clearing it and beat the extra dungeon as well as most of the bonus missions so I got all 5 rackets. Online I got destroyed by the other opponents so I’ll need some extra work there. The demo only lasts for another 2 days though so that’ll probably be it for me. In terms of offline content there isn’t actually a lot to do so hopefully you love the online. You’ve got tournament mode and a ring mode to pay through. Gone are the days when we had a dozen minigames to have fun with. I think the problem is that there is less incentive to play all these offline modes in Aces because you won’t really get anything.

I do think Nintendo has done a good job of continuing to support the game with DLC though. When you first boot up the game you’ll see that you’ve unlocked an extra 5-6 DLC characters right away. That’s pretty neat since it’s all free. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely quite solid. I don’t care for Mario’s new design, but you are able to switch back to the standard costume as long as you unlocked it from the trial copy a long time ago. The stages and the details within are all very clear so you always know exactly what is going on at any point in time. The soundtrack is not very notable for a Mario game, but I wouldn’t say it is bad. It just doesn’t have that all star quality that you’ve come to expect from Mario.

Overall, Mario Tennis Aces is a fun game. It’s the perfect rental for a nice weekend as you just relax with the characters. That being said, there is nowhere close to enough content to justify a 60 dollar purchase unless you really love the online. After 2 days you’ll likely have finished all of the offline content so online will be all that you’ve got left. I think once the price is around 20 then it’s not a bad purchase, but until then it’ll just feel like not enough content considering how much you’re spending. Hopefully Nintendo continues to add more and more to this game with each update and then my recommendation for the game will get stronger and stronger.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 3h 38m
Mega Rally 175 rallies
Survival Record 15 wins

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Review


It’s time to look at one of the new Christmas games! I’ve always been a really huge fan of Mario Power Tennis for Gamecube and in many ways it was incredibly ahead of its time. The gameplay was exceptional and there was a good array of characters to choose from. There were many modes and the replay value was off the charts. Since then the series has struggled and unfortunately Ultra Tennis does nothing to escape from this. It ends up being a vastly inferior version of Power Tennis.

Right from the start you will realize that something is off as there is no Tournament Mode. You really only have 3 options here. Vs battles with the CPU, Mega Rally, and Online battles. There are some nuances here like Simple Tennis, Standard Tennis, Mega, etc. These are just different versions of the battles though. Gone are the minigames and such. You’ll just be playing a lot of Tennis so get ready.

This game really tries to get you to play around with the new Mega options. So much so in fact that this is the default Tennis game and is used in the survival mode rumble. Get ready for this to extend every match as it is hard to lose when you are big. The only real way to stop the computers is to also turn huge and at that point it’s just a lot of back and forth. I can tell you now that I am not a fan of this mechanic. It’s a very forced gimmick. I don’t mind having it as an option, but certainly not as the default. You just can’t get around it for most of the game.

The actual gameplay aside from that is unfortunately a step down from the last game as well. You now have a bunch of different shots that you can use based on the color of the circle next to the ball. I guess this is a way to let newer players know when the proper time is to use each one. The main problem with this is that it makes the game easier and makes those shots more effective. You’re now letting the game tell you what to do. Power Tennis had it perfect so why change the setup? Nintendo really went overboard with all of the extra gimmicks during this era. I would say that the new Mario Tennis for Switch could fix it, but I played a bit of that one and it seems like a step below Ultra so that’s worrisome.

Again, if you want to have fun you should go to the Simple Tennis mode. That one plays the most similar to Power Tennis and is just a far more rewarding experience. The matches are quicker without the turning huge part and it just feels a lot more natural. Still, if you like the new additions then you’ll be able to experience that everywhere else. Not for very long though as the game is quite short.

So I mentioned that there is no tournament mode so why are you playing anyway? Well, there are 25 achievements in the game. All of them are meant to grind the experience even further. You have to beat 15 opponents in a row with a bunch of different characters to get their Star form. You also have to play 10 games of each mode, get to 100 in the Rally mode, and make it to round 40 in survival. They’re mostly fairly easy or at least achievable with time, but you can tell that they just take a really long time to do. That’s easily well over 100 games if you want to do them all. Fortunately you can buy the achievements with money that you earn from the matches. It still takes a long time and I lost count of how many matches I completed, but buying them all is definitely the best way to go about it. I finished the game with 3 hours and 39 minutes of play time so it is considerably short. That is 100% of the single player content done. At that point all there is to do is online and local multiplayer. A good multiplayer game can last with just that, but this isn’t exactly Super Smash and there is virtually no reason to play it if you still have Power Tennis. As a result, I have to give this game the thumbs down there.

Still, to give it a bad score just because it isn’t as good as a previous installment just isn’t enough of a justification for me. If Power Tennis did not exist then this game would probably be more fun. I’ll acknowledge that the game could and should have been a lot better, but at its core it is a reasonable tennis game. The gameplay is still fairly entertaining and you’ll be able to play it for a few hours at least. The price isn’t that bad nowadays either. I recommend playing the Mega Ball rally a bit just because it’s at least a slightly different way to play here. It’s the only minigame that survived but what wrecks this one as well is the fact that you can lose if you beat your opponent. You have to keep the ball going back and forth so if you or the CPU loses then it’s all over.

Then there are the graphics which are quite good. The game still does look very modern. The colors are vibrant and the character designs are on point. That’s certainly what I like to see in a big Nintendo game. I’ll also give the soundtrack a thumbs up even if it isn’t the most original one out there. It sounds nice while you’re playing and that’s the important part. Even if the replay value isn’t high, the technicals are on point. It’ll be a fun game for a while even if the time is limited.

Overall, Mario Ultra Tennis is not the game changer that you would hope it could be, but it’s not a bad title. I do think the developers spent a reasonable amount of time with it. They just tried to be too inventive with the controls. It’s a Tennis game, they really don’t need to be doing anything too fancy with it. Just nail the fundamentals and the rest would come into place just fine. If you haven’t played the other Tennis games then this is a reasonable pick. If you still have a Gamecube/Wii though then I would recommend picking up Power Tennis instead. Trust me, I’ve put in over 100 hours on that game and it is legendary. You would not be disappointed in the slightest.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Mario Tennis Open Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Play Time 1h 59m
Rackets 2/48
Shirts 1/40
Sweat Bands 0/40
Shoes 0/40

Tournaments

Mario 8/8
Everyone Else 0/8
Doubles for Everyone 0/8

Special Game Records

Ring Shot
Bronze 218
Silver –
Gold –

Super Mario Tennis
Bronze 564
Silver –
Gold –
Platinum –

Galaxy Rally
Bronze 191
Silver 228
Gold –

Ink Showdown
Bronze 350
Silver –
Gold –