Mario Tennis Aces is a multiplayer sports game for the Nintendo Switch and the eighth installment in the Mario Tennis series. It is also the first game in the series since Mario Tennis: Power Tour on the Game Boy Advance to feature a story mode, in which Mario must advance through a number of missions and stop a powerful tennis racket, Lucien, from destroying the Kingdom of Bask, the game's setting. While the gameplay engine appears to be based on that of Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, it refines the traditional tennis gameplay of the series by introducing several new techniques. One of the prime features in this game is an energy gauge which can be charged throughout the course of a match by rallying the ball. Energy grants the ability to slow down the time during a match in order to catch a ball more easily. Under certain conditions, it can also be used to stop time and launch the ball from a first-person perspective to the other side of the court through Zone Shots and Special Shots. These are powerful types of shots that can damage or break the opponent's racket if not countered correctly.
The game also offers expanded online features, mostly through tournaments and co-op challenges, where players can participate to unlock exclusive content. Since release, the game has been updated with new playable characters, story mode levels, modes of play, and tournament features, most notably a rank classification.
The gameplay is generally the same as past entries with Simple rules stripping the extraneous rules. Matches are available up to 4 players and the game supports motion controls with a single joy-con. The game also has a story mode with many varied moves.
The main new mechanic is the energy meter. Players can use their generated energy meter to perform Zone Shots which are powerful shots the player can aim using motion controls. If the player hits the opposing player's racket straight on, it gets damaged and if it gets damaged 3 times, it will break and that player must forfeit the match. To counter this, the opposing player can use Zone Speed using up their own energy meter to slow down everything to hit the ball. if a player fills up their entire energy meter, they can spend it all to perform a special shot that can destroy the opposing player's racket in a single shot. The only way to avoid breaking the rackets is to use the Block move which is a perfectly timed swing that reflects the shot to the other side with no damage. To fill up the energy meter, the player can perform risky Tricky Shots though it will generate with long rallies.
In this story mode, the player moves on a map and must face various challenges on their journey in a stage based format a la New Super Mario Bros.. Luigi has awakened evil Tennis deity called Lucien and it corrupts him and the evil characters. Mario must save Luigi with tennis against various bosses. After defeating each main boss, he collects a Power Stone. Mario can also collect different rackets over the course of the journey with different attributes and improve his stats. If all the rackets break, the player receives a game over.
The game features multiplayer with random players friends as well as online tournaments. Participating in online tournament can earn special outfits and characters. These tournaments run every month.
The game includes more than 15 playable characters. They are spilt into 6 different classes. Characters in bold can be unlocked through online tournaments during a certain month. If players don't unlock them in time, the character will be free for everyone on the 1st on the following month.
|Shy Guy||Luma||Fire Piranha Plant|
|Waluigi||Bowser Jr.||Boom Boom|
|Spike||Chain Chomp||Petey Piranha|
All stages must be unlocked through Adventure mode apart from Marina Stadium.
|Marina Stadium (Clay)||Marina Stadium (Grass)||Marina Stadium (Hard)|
|Marina Stadium (Night)||Bask Ruins||Piranha Plant Forest|
|Snowfall Mountain||Mirage Mansion||Savage Sea|
Mario Tennis Aces received generally positive reviews from critics. Praise was directed at the visuals and many welcomed new additions of gameplay, but minor criticism was directed at customization and the story mode, with some considering the latter not being rewarding or satisfying enough. The Swing Mode also received mixed reception, with points of contention directed at its responsiveness. The game currently holds a score of 75 on Metacritic based on 84 reviews, and a score of 73.38% on GameRankings based on 37 reviews. It also earned an aggregate score (playscore) of 7.58 on whatoplay.com based on 58 critic reviews.
Tristan Ogilvie of IGN gave the game a score of 7.5/10, praising the visuals, the court gimmicks, and the multiplayer mode, but criticized the story mode (considering it bare-bones, with nothing making it a fresh and satisfying experience), and also criticized the way local multiplayer works, stating "The biggest problem with Mario Tennis Acess Adventure mode is how poorly it incentivises you to keep playing. I had completed all 27 of its levels and unlocked all of its courts and rackets by the time I was on level 34, which was around a half a dozen hours of game time. Out of curiosity, I replayed a number of the challenges and boss fights several more times over to grind my way up to level 55, but was rewarded with absolutely nothing aside from incremental boosts to Mario's stats, thus making the existing challenges even easier. With no New Game+ or more challenging versions of its levels to unlock, or even the option of playing through it with a different character, Mario Tennis Acess Adventure mode becomes increasingly simple and repetitive the more time you put into it." In a more positive review, Mike Diver of Nintendo Life gave the game an 8/10, praising what he believed to be vast improvements over its Wii U predecessor Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, stating "Where [Mario Tennis:] Ultra Smashs extras were a pure Monkey Island's worth of living without that particular piece of junk – here's your context, kids – [Mario Tennis] Aces stuffs its kit bag with activities until the zip's positively pinging off across the locker room like a smartly volleyed can of energy drink. Not everything is evenly fleshed out, but whatever your preferential way to play, there's plenty to get stuck into, both solo and with pals." In a slightly more lukewarm review, Justin Clark of GameSpot gave the game an 7/10, praising the game's new playing mechanics over past games as well as the story mode's incentive to teach players of the new mechanics, but had mixed to somewhat positive feelings about the story mode, stating "The story itself is ridiculous, but ridiculous in that very specific, quirky way Nintendo has been getting away with for decades. During the Mushroom Kingdom's annual tennis tournament, an evil tennis racket--yes, really--named Lucien takes possession of Luigi and flies off to find five Power Stones that will help him take over the world." He was also more critical of the online play, panning a stark lack of features as his main issue.
By June 30, 2018, the game had sold 1.38 million units worldwide.
Pre-release and unused content
The Special Chance Shot markers from Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, needed to perform the Ultra Smash, were featured in the announcement trailer. The animation Mario performed there was also the same one used for those kinds of shots. In the final game, however, those Chance Shot markers were rather replaced with a rotating star marker, similar to the ones featured in Mario Tennis and Mario Power Tennis, and Zone Shots replaced Ultra Smashes, while retaining their character animations at least in the case of Mario.
The HUD icons for Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi originally used their traditional outfit. Various pre-release footage of Marina Stadium had different cosmetic screen animations in banners, and the character name in the court's floor had a different font (this font is used in the final game when playing in online modes, with the user nickname on the floor). The Ancient Altar court used in Forest Monster was originally a selectable court.
Originally, Daisy's final entrance pose showcased her with her mouth closed via a Nintendo Treehouse Log post. In the final game, her mouth is open.
References to other games
- Super Mario Bros. - A cutscene after the credits shows Mario drawing his cap on the camera lens with a crayon. The rubbing sounds are the first few notes of the overworld theme.
- Super Mario Bros. 3 - Boom Boom's running animation is flailing his arms while facing the opponent, mirroring his sprite animation from this game.
- Mario's Tennis - This is directly the first time in the Mario Tennis series (and the second time overall) that Mario and Luigi wear short-sleeved T-shirts and shorts and athletic shoes as their default outfits instead of their standard overalls. However, here they wear visor versions of their signature caps while in Mario's Tennis they wear their usual caps.
- Super Mario 64/Super Mario 64 DS - The design of Snow Ogre highly resembles that of Eyerok. Also, the music that plays while battling Bowcien is a remix of Bowser's battle theme and the Bowser levels from this game.
- Super Mario Sunshine - The sounds that Piranha Plants make are reused from this game.
- Mario Power Tennis - The sound Chain Chomp makes is reused from this game. Many characters' voice clips from this game are reused for their Special Shot animation.
- Mario Party 6 - Mario's artwork from this game is reused on the banners.
- Mario Party 8 - Chain Chomp and Birdo's artwork on the character select screen is from this game. The sounds that Blooper makes are reused from this game.
- Mario Party DS - Wario's artwork from this game is reused on the banners.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii - Boo's artwork from this game is reused on the smaller banners.
- Super Mario 3D Land - Boom Boom's artwork on the character select screen is from this game. His artwork from this game is also reused on the banners, albeit with spikes on his shell.
- Mario Party 9 - Toad, Koopa Troopa, and Shy Guy's artwork on the character select screen is from this game.
- New Super Mario Bros. U - The Koopalings' airships from this game appear flying in the background of Savage Sea. The large claw arm Bowser Jr. uses for his Special Shot also returns from this game. Boom Boom's losing animation is similar to his animation after getting stomped from this game.
- Super Mario 3D World - Several enemies from this title appear in the background of the courts, such as Piranha Creepers and Conkdors. Rabbits also appear and retain their design from this game.
- Mario Kart 8 - Just like in Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, various voice clips from this game are reused, such as Wario shouting "Cheater!", Rosalina mumbling "Aww, not this time...", and Daisy crying.
- Mario Golf: World Tour - Several of Rosalina's voice clips, provided by her former voice actress (Kerri Kane) are taken from this game.
- Mario Party 10 - The artwork on the character select screen for Rosalina, Yoshi, Spike, and Toadette are from this game.
- Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition - The artwork of Luigi and Yoshi from this game are reused on the smaller banners.
- Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash - Marina Stadium bears a striking resemblance to the stadium found in this game. Character models, animations, and voice clips are reused from this game. Mario Tennis Aces artwork of Yoshi is also originally from Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, albeit with a different tennis ball.
- Mario Party: Star Rush - The artwork on the character select screen for Luigi, Waluigi, Peach, Daisy, Blooper, Petey Piranha, and Dry Bones are from this game. Also, Boo's character select artwork is part of King Boo's artwork from this game.
- Mario Sports Superstars - Character shield emblems are inspired and derived from this game.
- Mario Party: The Top 100 - Wario's artwork on the character select screen is from this game.
- Super Mario Odyssey - Pauline's voice clips are reused from this game. For her Special Shot, "Jump Up, Super Star!" plays in the background and several New Donkers appear, as she summons a building resembling New Donk City Hall.
- In 2018, a browser game based on the game was released on the Play Nintendo website called Mario Tennis Aces Fun Trivia Quiz.
- Starting with this game, Simplified Chinese names of many common enemies were overwritten with their Traditional Chinese counterparts, like Koopa Troopa (喏库喏库 to 慢慢龟), Boo (嘘嘘鬼 to 害羞幽灵), Dry Bones (枯骨怪 to 碎碎龟), and Lakitu (朱盖木 to 球盖姆). However, Simplified Chinese names of major characters (Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, etc.) and Shy Guy remained unchanged. Common enemies whose names did not appear in this game would witness their name change in the coming Super Mario Party, with Hammer Bro. (锤子兄弟 to 铁锤兄弟) as an example.
- ↑ Metacritic score of Mario Tennis Aces. Metacritic. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ↑ GameRankings score of Mario Tennis Aces GameRankings. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ↑ Mario Tennis Aces on whatoplay.com, Retrieved February 10, 2020
- ↑ Ogilvie, Tristan (June 20, 2018) Review of Mario Tennis Aces IGN. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ↑ Diver, Mike (June 20, 2018) Mario Tennis Aces Review: Super Grand Slam Brothers Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ↑ Clark, Justin (June 20, 2018) Mario Tennis Aces Review: Aim High GameSpot. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ↑ Nintendo's IR Information Website (July 31, 2018). Top Selling Sales Unit. Nintendo Co. LTD. Retrieved July 31, 2018
- ↑ Nintendo. (March 8, 2018). Mario Tennis Aces - Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Direct 3.8.2018. YouTube. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- Official North American website
- Official Japanese website
- Official UK website
- Official Australian/New Zealand website