Mario Tennis Open - Review - May 30th 2012

Wonderful in its simplicity and resolutely charming, Mario Tennis was a seminal moment in the years of the N64. A dedicated Mario sporting title that didn't involve go-karts but offered equally lasting appeal, Camelot's original effort was simply a great game. Fast forward through the console generations and they're at it again, this time in portable form with playable Mii's, a toadstool tonne of customisation, and online support. Can lightning strike twice for the game that could simply do no wrong?

It's to Camelot's credit that their successful 3 shot formula returns here relatively unchanged. You can mix things up with lobs, drop shots, simple shots (which automatically select the most appropriate move at any given time) and curvy risk plays that can really unseat an opponent. But when you get right down to it, Mario Tennis Open is about offering consistently competitive play for all ages and abilities, leaving true mastery an optional extra for the hardcore pros. Three distinct control options (gyro, touch screen, or buttons) pretty much guarantee that anyone and everyone can pick up and play this most accessible entry in the series to date. Although the 3D effect gets a bit wonky when you're using motion based aiming, the touch screen option has been thoughtfully constructed and offers a viable alternative to the traditional set up.

Local and online multiplayer options are available.

You'll also never be short of things to do, as the tournament based campaign quickly ramps up the challenge and prepares you for brutal online skirmishes. The A.I. is hilariously forgiving to begin with, but it doesn't take long before they stubbornly refuse to be beaten without genuine ingenuity and careful shot placement. And if you get tired of climbing the ladder, then you can always wile away a train journey whacking tennis balls at hapless Koopa Troopa's in one of the most inspired mini-games I've ever played. Super Mario Tennis sees you working through the original NES adventure by using different combinations of shots to target enemies, recover coins, and explore warp pipes. It's frantic, addictive, and could almost be a cheap downloadable game in its own right.

The multiplayer modes will see you throw down in some seriously competitive match ups. If you don't give yourself enough practice via the solo side of things, then you'll be quickly overwhelmed and left feeling out of your depth. It's definitely not for beginners, but that's the point. Mario Tennis Open is a game that gives as much as you're willing to put into it, and for anyone looking for a more casual alternative, local download play works as advertised. Private, friends only online lobbies are also present and accounted for. Although I encountered some occasional lag, it was pretty smooth all things considered, and definitely kept me coming back for more. Persistent levelling and online leaderboards help to cement a superb offering that offers a lot of replay ability.

This is as brilliant as it looks.

When you wrap everything up with a wonderful character roster, whimsical court designs, and enough winks at past Nintendo efforts to warrant a trip to the opticians, Mario Tennis Open is hard to fault. Sure, the 3D effect adds very little to the experience (outside of a really cool Home menu hovering tennis ball), and the gyro controls are needlessly fussy, but at its core, this is a game of careful refinement that does almost everything better. This is an essential purchase for all 3DS owners, young and old.

Jon Titmuss



Various control options cater for all tastes, and there is enough depth to satisfy those willing to invest.


Classic music remixed and appropriately cheerful characters round out this crowd pleasing effort.


Colourful and surprisingly detailed, although the 3D effect is under utilised.


You wont be short of things to do, and the customisation options add an interesting dynamic.


Final Score:

Mario Tennis Open is a smashing entry into a series that could just as easily have grown stale. Camelot have done some fine work here.


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