I love Mario sports games, and after Camelot's excellent Mario Golf: World Tour on the Nintendo 3DS, I was quite hyped to see their first HD Mario sports title. Unfortunately, the game, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, lacks a lot of what I want out of the series... or any tennis game for $50 for that matter.
Serves up a tennis game that is extremely light on content
The Wii U's 2015 holiday season has been rocky at best. The early delay of the new Legend of Zelda game for Wii U into next year really took the sails out of the system, but the extra punch to the system's gut was the delay of Star Fox Zero. That game was supposed to release this past November. Instead, Nintendo was caught in precarious position, not having a big title for their typically huge November. What came to replace Star Fox Zero in the usually big November holiday shopping date was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. While the gameplay is still as excellent as ever, it is quite apparent that the game was rushed to market to fill in the gap that Zelda and Star Fox Zero left behind.
|After all of Mario and Bowser's meetings, this duel on|
the tennis court isn't the most epic to be found.
|Doubles action with Mega Mushrooms is one crazy party.|
|When a Super Mushroom won't do for Mario,|
he nabs a Mega Mushroom to grow in size and stature.
|And with this well placed shot, Yoshi went up one set to Waluigi's zero.|
That said, the nine different court types available in Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (most needing to be unlocked through playing a certain number of matches) do lend themselves to some variety in the tennis action. The carpet court has the fastest ball speeds, while the sand court doesn't lend well to the ball bouncing. Meanwhile, the ice court will have you slipping and sliding around, while the mushroom court contains material that makes the ball bounce its highest. While the variety of court types is nice, it doesn't make the lack of any additional eye candy in different stadiums hurt any less.
|When they aren't being second bananas to Mario and Peach,|
Luigi and Daisy spend time dueling on the tennis court.
It is an amazing shame that Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is so lacking in modes, courts, and content because the tennis action is some of the best the series has ever seen. The gameplay is tremendously fun, offering two types of standard tennis play, one with Mario Tennis Open's chance shots, and one that is a more traditional tennis experience like the original Nintendo 64 Mario Tennis.
|It's a girls' day out on the tennis court today.|
|Get to the glowing spot to unleash a massive Ultra Smash!|
|Mario gets ready to ram this ball down his opponent's|
throat with this Ultra Smash... again, figuratively speaking.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash boasts an absolutely astonishing visual style to it. The game looks bright, colorful, detailed, and gorgeous to the eyes. Characters are animated well, showing off plenty of character in their taunts, how they hit the ball, victory poses, and other animations. Courts also look great, offering effects like footprints in the sand court, beautiful reflections on the ice court, and plenty of other novel visual tricks. The menus are pretty basic, particularly the main menu. The lack of any kind of opening for the game also disappoints. Meanwhile, the music is typical Motoi Sakuraba at his most cruise control, but there are catchy themes to be heard.
|Bowser and Rosalina slip and slide away on the ice court.|
[SPC Says: D+]