Mario Power Tennis
Next to jumping on the many enemies in the Mario-platform games, our friendly, fat, plumber also does some sport. Think Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and new also the latest new branch in the sport series, Mario Power Tennis. The latter is the subject of this review. The Nintendo64 version got high scores and the expectations for this part were therefore very high.
A storyline is of course not present in this game although a nice intro movie is created. Wario and Waluigi get disqualified in a tournament is created for the intro movie. After having made some scratches on Mario and Luigi’s face they need to flee from the police and during a pursuit they end up in an underground lab from Bowser.
On command of their new boss, Bowser, they start training to finally reappear as star players during a match. Of course things get out of hand and the whole stadium becomes a battlefield. Thankfully, Mario & Co. manage to save things.
As said before, this story has nothing to do with the game where your goal is to become the best tennis player in Mushroom Kingdom. To fulfill this wish you need to participate in the one-player tournaments. Next to that there’s also the option to play a quick ball for fun which you can do with multiple players. Finally there are also some minigames present for up to 4 players.
Each field is a bit different, one makes the ball bounce higher, another makes it go faster. Except for the different colors, they all look the same but the characters – and there are a lot – are nicely modelled and move realistically. For as far as one can talk about realism in Mario Power Tennis.
All existing tennis moves like the lob, the drop-shot and the flat-shot are present. These are done with the different combinations of the B- and A-button. However, MPT wouldn’t be MPT is there aren’t any crazy special moves present. Each character has its own offensive and defensive power shot. Mario can magically form a hammer and Daisy can dive towards the ball in a defensive move to still get it to the other side of the net. Just to name some examples. To be able to use these moves you’ll need to fill your charge-bar, this can be done by having your racket ready long before it hits the ball.
Playing a solo match against the computer is quite a challenge. Not on the easiest level of course, but when taking a harder difficulty you might run into some trouble. It seems like the computer-controlled opponent knows your strategy. I always went straight to the net to hit the ball hard to the backline but after a while the opponent would always hit the ball over me. It may be a coincidence but maybe not.
During a Doubles game with the computer, your partner act completely stupid and this may mean the difference between winning or loosing. Your team mate will sometimes use his defensive attack when the ball is right in front of you. This isn’t only irritating, it can also mean you miss the next ball.
Best thing is the multiplayer. During the games we’ve played her with four, we’ve laughed quite a lot. Just when you think to have scored, your opponent uses his defensive power-shot, exciting!
The minigames are bothin in singleplayer and multiplayer accessible, but since there hasn’t been a game invented that laughs back at me when I do that, I prefer playing it with other people. You’ll have some fun with these, but the joy remains the real matches.
Mario Power Tennis is a title where both the single and multiplayer gamers will have fun with. Enough unlockables make that you’ll be quite busy for some time with the singleplayer part but the real fun starts when you play it in multiplayer!