Mario. We know him, we love him, and we’ve always revered him for one simple thing; he’s a goddam boss at tennis.
Wait, what? That’s not what Mario is all about? Then why is this a thing? Oh… OH. OK. Well, aside from the baffling choice for this to even exist, Mario Tennis Aces is actually a lot of fun. Here’s why.
I’m not a sports fan. I have never, I think, played a tennis game, unless you count Wii Sports. So I can safely say that Mario Tennis Aces is the best damn tennis game I’ve ever played. In context, however, the bar is non-existent, so let’s jam on why it’s actually alright.
Mario Tennis Aces has you, unsurprisingly, playing tennis matches with and against various characters from the series. There’s a pretty diverse roster, featuring staples like Mario and Luigi, as well as some weirder choices like Toadette and Boo. Hey, you’ve always wanted to play tennis as Bowser’s kid, right? What, just me?
What seems like a simple kid’s game takes s turn at the halfway point, with the difficulty cranking up significantly and opponents being less Mr Rogers and more Roger Federer. This is where actual technique comes into play, with trick shots and energy gauge management becoming vital to victory. If that sounds like a bit much for you, however, there is a trimmed down ‘Simple’ mode, where all of the things that make Aces unique are removed. I’m not a fan of that mode, but I can definitely see why it exists, and fully support the decision to make the game more accessible to younger and more casual players.
I’m not at all hesitant to call this the Dark Souls of tennis games, because I think it’s funny and I will not rest until that comparison is put to bed once and for all.
The online multiplayer was a bit iffy for me, and also I got hammered instantly, but this is the main way to unlock new content. If you want those sweet new shorts for Waluigi, you’d better get damn good at beating someone who I can only assume is literally Venus Williams.
Hold on to your Joy-Cons for that Swing mode… No seriously, hold on to them. This brings me back to the days of the Wii, when controllers and nunchucks were, well, chucked every which way. Less of that, please, especially if you have a nice TV. Those straps came with your Switch for a good reason, so make absolutely sure you’ve got those things secured before going all Wimbledon in your lounge.
I’m not sure Mario Tennis Aces will be my go-to game… Actually, no, I know it won’t. I’m not hugely into Mario, and I’m too lazy to really care about tennis. But if, unlike me, you’re a huge fan of the quirky-cute Mario style, and for some reason are also super into tennis, then this is the game for you, you strange, strange person. The ball is in your court.