Mario Returns to Serve the World
Of all the sports that Mario has taken on, his takes on the game of tennis have been met with more praise than any other, arguably speaking. Despite this, it has been the better part of a decade since the last Mario Tennis game was released (to be exact, the last game came out in 2005).
Don't get too upset about that though, as Nintendo and developer Camelot will be making up for lost time in a big way with Mario Tennis Open. I'm not exaggerating. It's true, and I'll tell you why.
Core gameplay in Mario Tennis Open remains relatively unchanged from its predecessors, with players engaging in various singles and doubles matches against friend and computer. However, the series' 3DS debut comes with a few new and exciting features. First off, the game will allow players to use simple taps on the touch screen to pull off the various tennis swings instead of using the traditional button setup. This should be helpful for newcomers, as not only will you have to memorize the button controls, but in certain moments, the screen will indicate the best swing for you to make.
Mario Tennis Open also features the ability to control the camera with the 3DS' gyroscope. Hold the system down, and you'll be able to play with the conventional top-down perspective used in past games, but if you hold the system up, the camera lowers to an over-the-shoulder perspective (called Dynamic View) that can help you aim better in some circumstances. Other neat details, such as characters being pushed back if hit directly by powerful shots, serve to add meat to the franchise's established gameplay.
Another one of Mario Tennis Open's exciting features lies in its Special Games, tennis-related mini games that mix up the formula of the regular matches while also helping players hone their skills. There is the series classic Ring Shot, where you try to hit the ball through more floating rings than your opponent; Galaxy Rally, where sections of the court disappear as you play; Ink Showdown, where you need to keep an eye on ink blots that will cover the screen if left unchecked; and Super Mario Tennis, where you stand before a large screen showing levels from the original Super Mario Bros, using the ball to hit coins and enemies as they scroll by. These games cannot be won without putting some thought into your swings, so players who rely on button-mashing will need to step up their game.
The character line-up for this game is pretty similar to other Mario Tennis games, with Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Bowser Jr, Yoshi, Peach, Daisy, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Wario, and Waluigi confirmed to be making a return to the court. As expected, each character specializes in either speed, power, trickiness, or all-around-ed-ness (forgive me for the improper English there). In addition to the classic roster, you will be able to play as your Mii. The upside of this is that you can customize your Mii with various items that you can buy from the item shop with coins that you earn from matches and mini-games. These items (which range from rackets, uniforms, wristbands and shoes), aside from spiffing up your Mii to your liking, can also affect their stats in different ways.
While all these new elements are cool indeed, the single largest addition that Mario Tennis Open brings to the formula is the online multiplayer. As a first for the series, up to four players will be able to take each other on online or locally in Exhibition Mode. In a fashion similar to Mario Kart 7, the game will come with a matchmaking system that will match up players against other players of similar skill. This is done via a rating system that determines their skill level. Also, like Mario Kart 7, players will be able to add opponents to their 3DS friends list with a simple tap on the friend icon.
Are you excited for Mario Tennis Open now? If so, then I can rest easy knowing I did my job as a preview-writer, well. The game has a lot going for it, what with the new features and online capabilities, and it's shaping up to be a worthy addition to the franchise. With the May 20 release date just a little over a month away, there is little time to prepare before 3DS owners worldwide take to the court. Get ready, dear readers. The time is coming.
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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