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Anyone for tennis? Mario sure is! Here is my review of Mario Tennis Open.
Well, this is a tennis game, it does not have a story, but that does not stop me from making up my own story for it. So, here we go, the made up story:
So, Peach was rescued from Bowser, and that whole taking photos of Peach in a dungeon in Super Mario 3D Land was over. A few months later, Bowser is in his basement, and notices his old tennis racket. He has an idea! So, he gets on his mushroom phone and he calls Donkey Kong and all the rest of the people in the Mushroom Kingdom, and he tells them that tennis is back. Mario goes upstairs and tells the princesses, tennis is back. Peach and Daisy got their credit cards and went out to buy new clothes for the new open.
OK, keeping it real, there is no story. In the place of a story, there are Tournaments, Exhibitions, and Special Games. This is what takes place from a story mode in a lot of video games. So, this is the main mode, where there are singles tournaments, and doubles. There are open circuits and pro circuits. When you beat the open circuits, the pros will open. This just makes the opponents harder.
This is an arcade-style tennis game. This is not Top Spin, so you do not have to worry about ball curve, and other tennis terms. They made this game simple for people to pick up and play. The moves appear as buttons on the touch screens, so that makes it simple to know what move to hit the ball with.
What makes this a Mario sports game though, is on the tennis court. There are colored tiles, and I guess they appear at random points, and if you move onto the colored tile, and hit the ball, your character will do a special move. It could be an light lob, which will make your opponent have to run to the ball, or it could be a mighty curve. These all seem to happen at random though, so it can really decide a game and make the game seem unbalanced at times. The worst thing is, you can't turn this off in any way, so you are stuck with the colorful tiles and powerful slices.
There is one other thing that I did not like, and that is the gyro serving. For a few times, I turned it off when I paused the game. Then I realized that you need to go into settings to really turn it off, and then things got better. The court you use also matters. There is one court where you get to play on the sand. I know, crazy, but it is pretty cool playing tennis on sand.
In Mario Tennis, you can play as your Mii character, if you want to. This is as close as I am ever going to get to being on a tennis court. I just do not look right in white shorts, too short. My Mii can play tennis for me though, which makes it feel like I am in the game. It gets better too. You can buy your Mii new clothes, rackets, and costumes to make your Mii play tennis the way you want. The regular Mario characters do not have this option for customization at all. Their setting are all fixed. So, it is nice to have an option to make a tennis player to your liking.
You can really earn coins in the Special Games. There are four Special Games - Ring Shot, Super Mario Tennis (this one is awesome), Galaxy Rally, and Ink Showdown. So, let's start with Super Mario Tennis. You hit a ball to a screen that's playing Super Mario Bros, and you kill Goombas with the ball. There are also mushroom power-ups, which, when hit, make the ball bigger. This is super fun, and is one of the best things in the whole game. Ring Shot is hitting the ball through rings. It's simple, and does its job. In Galaxy Rally, you have to get the shine pieces, and not let the ball go into the ball hole. Pieces of the court vanish, so you've got to keep the shot going. In the last Special Game, Ink Showdown, there are three Piranha Plants that spit ink balls. You have to hit the balls away from your opponent. This one has got to be my least favorite of the Special Games.
Well, the D-pad and the circle pad do a great job. You never feel like you do not have control of your character. The moves are also displayed as buttons on the touch screen, and if you are old school like me, they work pretty good.
There are some really nice Mario tunes in the game. Nothing too spectacular, sadly, but nice. The sound of the ball being hit is pretty good too, but nothing to write home to moma about.
OK, this is were Mario Tennis Open drops the tennis ball. There are two modes, really. You can choose quick match, extended match, or either. Quick is a tie-breaker game and whoever gets to seven points first wins. Extended is two sets of tennis. There are no leader boards, and no doubles. That is it. Pretty sad. This could've been something that would've made this game even more wonderful.
All in All
This is a really fun tennis game. I sunk nine hours into it. If it had better online play, I would sink even more into it, but it seems I just get destroyed when I go online, so I do not recommend that. The exhibition matches are fun. You can set it to whatever you like, and that can keep you going for a little bit. The game itself is a sound game of tennis, and if you want a fun tennis game for your little ones, this is it. Really, I do not think there is another, except for that one on the eShop, but I mean, this is the one. It is fun. It can be challenging. It just needs a few more modes, and more custom settings. This game falls a little short of being great, and it shows that. The game of tennis, they did not mess up though. Hoping they fix the problem in 2, and I await that sequel.
3.5 stars out of 5