Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is a Mario Tennis game for the Wii U developed by Camelot. This is the first Mario Tennis game to be released on a console since Mario Power Tennis. It was first released in November 20, 2015 in Europe. Up to four players can locally play the game, while up to two players can also use its online capabilities to play with other people around the world.
The game, as an installment in the Mario Tennis franchise, features traditional tennis gameplay with various Mario series elements mixed in, such as the playable characters and the gimmicks introduced in courts. It retains several elements from two predecessors, Mario Power Tennis and Mario Tennis Open, while introducing Mega Battles and Jump Shots; Mega Battle is a mode where players can grow larger from picking up Mega Mushrooms to increase their offense and defensive capabilities while Jump Shots enable player to leap to heights to perform more powerful shots. The Wii U GamePad is taken advantage of in two player singles, where a second player can get a second screen in perspective of their character. If players download the game from the Nintendo eShop, the software requires 888 MB to be installed. The game also features amiibo support, where players can use compatible amiibo to train and play with or against a CPU-controlled character.
The game is played similarly to previous entries of the Mario Tennis series, and follows the basic rules of tennis. Players serve and hit the ball back and forth until one side misses the ball. Players earn 15 points for each successful shot, and win a game point if a player scores in their 40th point. If players are tied after the 40-point mark, a deuce commences, and either player has to score two consecutive points to win a game point. Winning a number of game points makes the player victorious in a set or a match. Matches can be divided into sets. If two players tie in a set, a Tiebreaker commences, where one player must reach seven points to win the set or match.
Players can use the Wii U GamePad, the Wii Pro Controller, or the Wii Remote on its side to play the game. The game does not support motion controls for the Wii Remote, so the Wii Remote on its side is the only control option for it.
The game works with amiibo. When a compatible amiibo is scanned into the game, that character appears in the game as a computer partner that can be trained, similar to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U. After every five matches in Knockout Challenge, it earns a random stat boost, and the amiibo character can get 10 in total. Players can access the amiibo training menu to change up stats, however, by spending coins to alter stat slots. amiibo partners make it possible to play on 2 vs. 1 matches, though only with CPU opponents, making it the first and only Mario Tennis game where 2 vs. 1 matches are possible.
Unlike the other installments, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash does not provide a left-handed option.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash has 16 playable characters. Out of them, Rosalina, Toadette, and Sprixie Princess are new playable characters to the series. Of the character-types, there are three All-Round, two Speed, two Technical, four Power, two Defensive, and three Tricky. The unlockable characters, in addition to the 'standard' unlock methods, can be unlocked by purchasing them (using coins earned during gameplay) off the rewards menu.
- All-Round: These characters have neither distinct advantages nor disadvantages.
- Technical: These characters have good ball control, but often lack power.
- Speed: These characters have quick movement at the cost of power.
- Power: These characters have powerful strokes that makes the ball travel quickly, but they lack agility.
- Defensive: These characters have great reach but are not agile.
- Tricky: These characters' shots curve more than other characters' shots.
- Donkey Kong
- Dry Bowser
- Bowser Jr.
- Sprixie Princess
|Court Name||Ball Speed||Bounce|
Amiibos can replace a doubles partners in online matches or offline knockout challenge.
These are supported amiibos:
- Mario (and all alternate forms)
- Yoshi (& Yarn Yoshi)
- Rosalina and Luma
- Donkey Kong
- Bowser Jr.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash received mixed reviews from professional critics with aggregate score of 58 from 58 critics in Metacritic and 55.78% on Gamerankings based on 36 reviews. Reviewers praised the graphics and presentation, but lambasted the stark lack of overall content and basic features, both offline and online, calling it bare-bones, especially when compared to the previous Mario Tennis games. Chris Carter of Destructoid was severely disappointed and harshly criticized the game, noting the lack of content, the forgettable jumpshot and Mega Mushroom gimmick, and the lack of lobbies or extras. He ends by saying that players are "better off just playing any other previous game in the series, which is particularly easy to do since the first game is on the Wii U Virtual Console for just 10 bucks." He gave the game a 5.5/10. Marty Sliva of IGN had a similar opinion, stating that "Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is about as paint-by-numbers as you can get. The lack of modes, characters, and new ideas make it a step backwards from the series’ debut on the Nintendo 64 back in 2000." He cites the Mega Mushroom feature as bad and gimmicky, appearing to be arbitrary and imbalanced. He also compared it unfavorably to its predecessors by stating "that Mario Power Tennis on the GameCube managed to include more characters, interesting modes, and varied courses a decade ago is a bit insulting." He gave it 4.8/10, a score labeled as "bad". Kyle Hilliard of Game Informer expressed similar disappointment, praising its core gameplay for being solid and fun, but wishes the game has offered much more.
- Nintendo (NintendoWiiUUK) (October 22, 2015). Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash - Overview Trailer (Wii U). YouTube. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- Checkout for Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Nintendo. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash lets you play via the Wiimote, but not with motion. (June 19, 2015). GoNintendo. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Nintendo. (Oct 30, 2015) Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash - Monsters of the Court YouTube. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
- Metacritic scores on Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. Metacritic. Retrieved November 18,2015
- Gamerankings score. Gamerankings. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Carter, C (November 18, 2015). Swing low. Destructoid. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Hilliard, K. (November 18, 2015). Nintendo Drops The Volley. Game Informer. Retrieved November 15, 2015.