Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Preview – PAX Aus 2015

November 2, 2015

The Mario Tennis franchise has always been successful for Nintendo ever since the original was released on the Nintendo 64. The games are aimed towards the casual market and offer a more light-hearted take on tennis by including mini-games and unique themed courts. While the games have always had strong content to appeal to solo players, the franchise is at its best when played with friends.

At the Nintendo booth at PAX Australia, Jarrod and I had the opportunity to try out the soon to be released Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash on Wii U. The demo featured singles and doubles matches in the game’s new Mega mode. One person plays using the Gamepad, while the second player uses a Pro controller. Only Mario and Bowser were selectable in the singles match we played, though the final version has been confirmed to have sixteen playable characters.

The game plays exactly like previous installments – you have topspin, lob, slice, flat and simple shots all controlled by using the face buttons. During rallies stars will appear on the court indicating where you should stand to hit the ball and also highlighting opportunities to power-up your shots. During our play time Jarrod admitted he wasn’t too experienced with the franchise and took a few moments to get a hang of the controls. Before I could taunt with an early victory, however, we were suddenly in the midst of a heated deuce. The game is still accessible for all skill levels and has that pick up and play nature to it.

mario tennis ultra smash

Before too long a Mega Mushroom appeared on the court, transforming Bowser into a giant beast. Being a bigger character, Bowser merely had to stand in the centre of the court and could easily reach each shot and strike back with ferocious power. The Mega Mushroom adds an interesting twist to the standard formula. Whenever you’re on the receiving end there’s always an “uh oh” moment and it can definitely change the outcome of the match.

Based on the short demo, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is shaping up to be another hit for the franchise. It’s accessible and retains a pick up and play nature, the new Mega Mushroom mode adds an interesting twist to the standard formula and above all else, the multiplayer is just plain fun.