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Preview: Mario Tennis Aces (Nintendo Switch)By Flynnie At 03.06.2018 22:04

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Mario Tennis Aces doesn't launch until 22nd June, but for those eager to hit the court early Nintendo has boldly opted for a pre-launch tournament to demo the game to the masses, which took place between - 3rd June offering offline and online modes. This is seemingly becoming a standard approach for Nintendo multiplayer games as Splatoon and ARMS received similar treatment.

Graphically, Mario Tennis Aces doesn't look that far removed from Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash on Wii U, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. While Ultra Smash received strong criticism, its graphics and character models were highly praised. Unfortunately, its lack of modes and limitless features cemented the game as the worst in the series. Surely the only way is up then… right?

The pre-launch tournament gets those elbows warmed up for whacking rallies and aspiring aces, with four characters available to choose from, including the all-rounder Mario, the technically gifted Peach, the powerhouse Bowser, and the speedster Yoshi. Progressing through the demo, players can unlock up to nine characters, each with their own specialty traits, including adding Tricky and Defensive to the aforementioned abilities.

Skills can be sharpened in practice mode, with the standard basic shots, which return from the previous games, ranging from top-spin to a Leap Shot. Camelot has gone all out to bring a new array of advanced shots that are dependent on the new 'Energy Meter.' The meter gradually fills during rallies but also builds when charge shots are used, or trick shots are executed. Trick Shots are fundamentally the fastest way to fill the energy gauge and have acted as last chance desperation act during the preview process to get to the ball, which highlights its risk/reward element.

The energy gauge can be traded off to complete Zone Shots, Zone Speed, and Special Shots, all of which have their own benefits. Zone Shots are pinpoint shots that are unleashed onto the opponents' side of the court; Zone Speed allows your Mushroom Kingdom superstar to enter 'bullet-time' and slow down the world to catch up to the ball; and, finally, Special Shots are potentially one-hit kill shots that can be unleashed at the expense of a great amount of energy.

Perhaps one of the more controversial additions to the Mario Tennis series is racket breaks, which cause an instant loss. Racket breaks happen when a player attempts and fails to return one of the energy gauge shots listed above. It does take some getting used to but, if executed correctly this makes the difference between winning and losing a game. A simple rules match can be played with the energy meter off for those not wanting to over complicate matters.

The controls feel great, although online lag has been experienced, which can severely dampen the experience considering how fast and fluid this needs to play; perhaps a temporary blip in an otherwise good demonstration.

User Comments
#1 JayEl (guest) - on 03.06.2018 at 22:44

Yeah, make sure to check out the connection quality meter of your opponent before accepting him (at least during the first round)... when the meter is low, the game plays horrible. But I guess that works both ways, so it's kind of 'fair'... just hoping the final release version doesn't even attempt to matchmake two players which have a bad connection with eachother.

Other than that I am having fun with the online tournament free demo! Can't wait to see how the single player campaign turns out.

#2 The Strat Man - on 03.06.2018 at 23:39

In Japan they have amazing internet speeds. I fear the lag and latency issues are something the West are just going to have to suffer through because Nintendo aren't doing enough robust online testing around the globe. They really should be, to understand how it'll perform elsewhere. There's no way I'll pay an online service subscription if we're not getting dedicated servers for online games here. I assume that's the only way that matters will realistically and drastically improve. As it stands, I'm not going to waste time waiting around for a player with full-bars to turn-up - only for momentary lag to ruin the match entirely. I think they risk putting a lot of people off if they don't find a way to improve the online performance.  

And that would be a shame, because it seems to be shaping up well in most other regards. I haven't played a Mario Tennis title in a very long time. Loved the 64 version, and Power Tennis. Without fully fledged online play though, I reckon it'll be too light-weight overall! 

( Edited 04.06.2018 00:40 by The Strat Man )

#3 Flynnie - on 04.06.2018 at 08:12

Indeed the lag was a bone of contention. I would start a match with 3 or 4 bars and then it could drop to 1 bar part way through the match. Highly frustrating. If it was my turn to serve I was trying to hold on to the ball for a little while just to wait for the connection to get better.

I don't think £20 is that bad to play online, providing that it comes with the benefits of getting a few NES and SNES games. TBH I know that this is not enough for people but I am not quite sure I could live without being able to play Splatoon 2. Perhaps take a wait and see approach to find out if the situation improves once it goes to a paid model. 

The single player campaign should be great this time around, i enjoyed the GBA version so it should be a fantastic addition to get an RPG based campaign mode. That should keep most occupied for a little while. I really enjoy the mini games that Mario Tennis throws up like Ring Shot. Hopefully this will also extend the life. 

The issue is that regular local multiplayer is no longer really available to me in life like it was during the N64/GC era. I sank so many hours into the 64 version and GC version, so the online modes really have to ace it! 

 


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