Mario Tennis: Power Tour
Slice, lob, and serve your way through the Power Tour with the new Mario Tennis on GBA. Oh, Anna and Maria have nothing on Peach and Daisy.
En route to a fabulous restaurant with the greatest tasting nachos in the universe, the Senor had some time to kill so he whipped out his GBA and Mario Tennis Power Tour, figuring that it would melt those 45 minutes away. So he immediately jumped into a few Exhibition matches and...ole! The game certainly serves up a decent tennis experience, but that's not the sizzling meat of this product. The real attraction is Power Tour mode, an action RPG where you attempt to skyrocket to the very top of a tennis academy through improving your skills and defeating numerous opponents. But unfortunately, and after just thirty minutes, Senor Cha Cha's head grew too heavy, his pretty eyelids slammed shut, and what followed was Zzzzzzzzzz.
Now I obviously had to play Mario Tennis for several hours in order to give it a proper review, but during that joyous time I just couldn't get into Power Tour. Other reviewers will tell you that it's one of the best reasons to purchase this game, but they're about as wrong as Tom Cruise denouncing psychology. Power Tour features a predictable and super monotonous story that anyone could have written. In fact, it feels like it came from several other games. You're this tennis prodigy with good heart but horrible technique, you run around talking to like a billion people, most of which have nothing important to say (you talk to people for the first thirty plus minutes of the damn game), and finally, just before you rip the cartridge from the Game Boy's womb you're plunged into some training games and eventually tennis matches. And this all leads up to competing in a super grand tournament hosted by the peeps from the Mushroom Kingdom. It's like, damn, I didn't see that one coming.
That's really Power Tour's biggest problem. It's not that the story mode isn't deep or won't provide you with a good time if you've never experienced anything like it, but for those of us who have, it's about as dry as an overcooked piece of chicken. I just don't enjoy eating what developer Camelot is forcing down my throat, mostly because it lacks pizzazz. I just don't give a crap about my character, or my doubles partner, or the brats that make up this magical camp, or the lifeless dialogue. I just want to go home.
Thankfully, the rest of the game is more enjoyable. Exhibition allows you to select from a bunch of fictitious kids as well as Mario, Donkey Kong, Peach, Bowser, and Waluigi and enjoy some heated matches that are a nice mixture of sim and arcade. You're able to adjust your shots, allowing you to slice, lob, and execute a few different types of serves, yet each character also has a respective Power Shot, a zany special move that's in the same vein as the GameCube Mario Tennis. So you can play a traditional match if you'd like, or introduce the Power Shots just to make things more frenzied. Plus, the game comes with link cable and Wireless Adapter support, so two to four players can battle each other.
My only complaint about Exhibition is it lacks depth, not with its gameplay, but with its options. You can't change racquets and there aren't an insane amount of courts. But that's really a small gripe considering that the game plays marvelously and the AI puts up a good, solid fight once you select a harder difficulty.
What the developers definitely got right are the visuals and music. The graphics are a bit simplistic and have a nice clean appearance, but the soundtrack is just outstanding. All of the tracks have a very refreshing sound and they really get me pumped before and during matches.
I certainly like this game, but I don't intend to play it much longer because Power Tour mode isn't too hot. But the actual tennis is excellent and the various mini games are lots of fun, so if you absolutely love the Mario Tennis series and/or have a few friends that also own this game (because each player needs a copy), it's a decent purchase.
What's Hot: The very addictive Exhibition and Multiplayer modes.
What's Not: The gameplay lacks depth, and the Power Tour action RPG is pretty boring.