Back in 1995, Nintendo released a game featuring the characters from the Mushroom Kingdom: Mario Tennis. It has been an important landmark for Nintendo, especially since Mario Tennis 64 introduced the infamous Waluigi. Now, in 2012, Nintendo have decided to expand their 3DS’s game library by adding a new version called Mario Tennis Open.
The developers made sure that the lone player does not miss out on the fun by adding three types of games: Tournament, Exhibition and Special Games (minigames). These tournaments are pretty entertaining, and when you’re playing a 5 set match against the computer, a point away from winning the championship, the game gets pretty exciting. Exhibition features Singles and Doubles matches, which are always fun to play. And the minigames, although they’re hard, will surely deliver many hours of gameplay.
Also, there is a store which sells tons of items to dress up your Mii with, which is certainly a nice touch.
The game includes a fantastic multiplayer experience. Although the online multiplayer against random people is limited to 1 vs 1 matches, playing with a friend lets you have custom matches which have proven to be very fun. Also, you can play local multiplayer, which lets up to 4 players join the fun. However, if there are more than two people, you can only play Minigames, which honestly sucks. No doubles locally, people.
Mario Tennis Open has 16 playable characters, with different specialties such as Power (Bowser, Wario), Defense (Waluigi), Tricky (Boo, Bowser Jr.), Speed (Diddy Kong & Yoshi), Technique (Peach and Daisy) and All-around (Mario and Luigi). 12 of them are playable as soon as you start the game, but the others require you to play the minigames. Nintendo included a great innovation in this title; QR Code Scan Characters. Using the 3DS’ camera, you scan codes and unlock up to seven characters. The only downside? They’re all Yoshi. Yep, Nintendo decided to go the cheap route and give players 8 different colors of Yoshi. I mean, come on! Yoshi’s cool and all, but what about Dry Bones, Koopas, Shy Guys and other fantastic characters? Hopefully they’ll release more codes in the near future.
Let’s be honest: It’s a game for the 3DS and that means it has to have 3D. That’s one of the few problems this game has, the lack of it. Even though there’s a little, tiny bit of it, you can’t really see it. And, when you activate the gyroscope camera control (where you move the console itself to point where you want the ball to go at) there is none at all.
Now, what many people (including me) loved so much about Mario Tennis games was the powers that each character had. Open clearly lacks this, and tries to make up by adding some shots that will activate once you step on a small circle. This gives the game a new twist, as you’re trying to run towards these spots. Yet, the powers that each characters had were all representative of the franchise, and as a fan of this series, I think that the game just doesn’t feel right without them.
Another big thing that this game has missed was the Story Mode. The GameCube version has a pretty entertaining story, but apparently the developer (Camelot) decided it wasn’t necessary. Perhaps it’s because this is a handheld version, and they’re trying to be more like Mario Kart (which has no story at all).
If you’re a fan of the Mario Bros. Universe, this is a definite must buy. And if you’re not, and you don’t have many good games for your 3DS, this is a game to consider as well.