Mario Tennis Aces Review: You’ll Learn to Love This Game

Nintendo never fails to please us with Mario-centric games and this one is no exception. With Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8, it was only a matter of time before Nintendo decided to release the next instalment in the Mario Tennis series. Aces offers a ton of stuff to do, starting off with their new Adventure mode. Adventure mode is Mario Tennis Aces’ campaign, in which you battle enemy bosses and take on challenges, all while learning how the game plays and taking in all the new features it has to offer. One such new feature is ‘Zone Shot’. The Zone Shot is a powerful shot you can take when your power gauge fills up to a certain point, and then a start will appear where the ball will land after your opponent returns it. When this happens, you can head to the star’s location and pull the RZ trigger, making your character jump in the air and put you in a scoped view where you decide where you’re going to spike the ball. There are tons of other awesome shots and skills that they show you right in the start of Adventure mode. After that, it gets a bit wishy-washy as far as gameplay goes. When you’re playing the standard tennis matches, the game is awesome and a ton of fun to engage in. It’s when they break away from the main game to bring you challenges that can not only be frustrating in and of themselves but can halt your progression should you be stuck on them. One such challenge (NO SPOILERS) is where you’re going to face a mirror boss, but before you can take them on, you have to pop these bubbles that appear on a giant wall mirror. During each phase, there is a bubble that, when popped, will clear out the rest of the bubbles. The only way to find out which bubble is the one that clears them all, is to hit each of them, waiting for one to shine and flash more than others when hit. Oh, did I mention you’re timed with all this? Also, if you miss returning the ball, you lose five seconds off your time, when you only start off with 160 seconds to begin with. If you thought the challenges were rough, wait till you face some of the bosses.


The Mirror Queen is one of the early bosses and most of the stuff leading up to her is quite easy but facing her is a whole other ball game. The difficulty ramps up when facing her due to not only having to dodge the furniture that she will throw at you, but then there comes points where she will cover herself with the furniture and you have to hit her through openings in between the chairs and such in order to cause her damage. Doing stuff like this constantly through the main story left me wanting to just go into free play and leave the Adventure mode behind completely. There is a plus side to all of this though. This mode has RPG elements to it, where you can level Mario up by winning or losing matches and each time he levels up, your agility, shot speed and run speed will gradually increase. Not only can you increase those stats, but you can also unlock other rackets by completing certain challenges against other characters. Gaining other rackets helps a ton as each racket has its own unique attack, defense and durability stats that will help you on your journey.

If you ever feel like me and are getting too frustrated in Adventure mode, you probably ended up doing the COM Tournaments to go back to a more classic way of playing. The COM Tournaments are a great way to test what you’ve learned and to really hone your skills before jumping into the online tournaments. There are three tournaments you can jump into: Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup and Star Cup and their difficulties respectively: Easy, Medium, Hard. Mushroom Cup might seem a bit too easy, but it’s again, a great way to really test what you’ve learned and it makes you feel really good wiping the court with your opponents. Flower Cup gets a bit more challenging, but not till you progress further into the semifinals and finals. The Star Cup is difficult from the word go and if you don’t have skills even partially understood, you will find this Cup especially difficult to progress through.

Finally, once you feel competent enough to take on real people, you can head over to the Online Tournaments. A little heads up on these: they are extremely hard to play. Some people that I’ve personally played against must be either professionals… or maybe I just am terrible at Mario Tennis Aces. Either way, out of the 20 or so matches that I’ve played, I’ve lost every single one. Just a friendly reminder that you may want to just hang out in the COM Tournaments for a little bit before heading into the online scene and make sure you have blocking down. Breaking rackets is one sure fire way to lose a game because if you break your only two rackets, it’s a KO and you automatically lose.

Mario Tennis Aces is a decently fun game to play alone and with friends. While the Adventure mode can cause utter frustration at times, with its challenges and bosses, it can teach you a lot about the game and how to get better. If weird and wacky challenges aren’t your thing, the COM Tournaments are another great way to better your skills before hopping into Online play. The mechanics are easy to learn and hard to master, but with a little practice, you’ll be sure to ace your way to the top in no time!