Mario Tennis Open: N64 Fun With A Modern Twist
Nintendo recaptures that old arcade style magic.
Nintendo has a surefire winner on its hands with Mario Tennis Open. I finally played this impressive looking sports game, and it not only lived up to my expectations, but also exceeded them, largely because it plays more like the Nintendo 64 and GameCube tennis games. It even looks the part, with fast-paced and frantic volleys, super human shots and replays from a plethora of angles.
Two things stand out, the first of which is Dynamic View. Hold the 3DS at eye level, and the game automatically switches to an over the shoulder perspective. From here, you're able to use the gyroscope to look around, while your character automatically moves towards the ball; all you have to do is hit that sucker back over the net. Think of this as a more simplified way to play the game, a feature that'll no doubt appeal to newcomers.
The only sticking point...glasses free 3D automatically switches off while in this view, but kicks back on the second you lower the 3DS; the camera also returns to the normal position.
On top of that, you have two ways to return the ball. The first involves using the face buttons, where X is a simple shot, A is top spin, Y is a flat shot, B is slice, A then B is lob, and B then A is drop shot. Works quite well.
In addition, you can also perform these same shots by pressing the touch screen, and Nintendo makes it super easy by breaking up the screen into different colored pieces, where all you have to do is hit that color to do a drop or flat shot, and so on and so forth.
These colored blocks also serve another purpose. As the ball travels back in your direction, sometimes you'll see a colored circle appear on the court. Positioning your character inside of this circle and then tapping the exact same color on the touch screen results in a more powerful shot, or the ball defying the laws of gravity by moving in a different direction to throw off the opponent.
Meanwhile, characters excel in unique areas. Mario and Luigi, as expected, have a balanced attack. Donkey Kong, on the other hand, is more powerful and Waluigi is a master of defense.
Then you have the courses. Bowser's Castle (complete with lava and Toads trapped inside cages) is a stone court with fast ball speed. Conversely, the Penguin Iceberg snow court has normal ball speed.
As I said, gameplay harks back to the console games that debuted several years ago. This is fast-paced arcade style fun, as opposed to the more RPG style handheld games.
With that, I can't say enough positive things about Mario Tennis Open, and that comes from just a few singles and doubles matches against the likes of Boo, Bowser Jr. and Princess Peach. There's still online multiplayer to explore, along with modes Nintendo won't discuss yet. For now, just know the company's on the right track, and this is yet another 3DS title you should put on your must play list.
Mario Tennis Open debuts May 20.