Mario Tennis Open
Mario has always liked sports (you wouldn’t think so when looking at him) and especially tennis is something he and his eternal entourage adore. Nintendo has already had a lot of success with Wii Sports where the yellow tennisball played a lead role, and now tries to equal that success with Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS.
The game keeps things reasonably simple with a classic structure of single and double tournaments that each tiem consist of three games and that you gradually unlock, just like new costumes and gear for your characters. There are about a dozen characters to choose from so that you don’t have to sulk about not finding anyone you like. And no, Nadal isn’t present and neither is Henin. Also the gameplay is pretty simple with the six basic moves (you know them) that you can do with the buttons (works perfectly) or with the touch screen (sucks).
Things become a bit more complicated with the choice between controlling your character through the circle pad (recommended as it works as expected) or through the motion-sensitive sensors of the 3DS. The latter places your point of view closer to the player, but also reomves part of the control as you automatically walk towards the right place and can’t play this option in 3D. This option also isn’t precise of satisfying, but might be seen as more accessible to younger kids as they then only have to push buttons.
Using circle button then as otherwise the challenge is far to be found for older players. It’s not the intent of a game like this, but we don’t want to win on auto-pilot, do we? Nice addition are amongst others the special hits where you need to make the right shot towards the right place (shown on the tennis court) after which you perform some sort of super version of that shot.
As you probably expected already you can play doubles all by yourself – even if the AI isn’t of the same level as a human player – but you can also play with two, even if you only have one cartridge. Good! Online also works nice, but it’s a lot more fuzz for the short games you can choose. The minigames are well-chosen, especially those in which you have Mario finish levels from Super Mario Bros by playing tennis well. Finally there are also Exhibition games where you can set up the details yourself.
Mario Tennis Open is quite a fun game, but we use the word “game” very knowingly as we do miss some depth, a longer lifespan or even colorful spectacle. A fun waste of time and the unlocking of gear can keep you occupied just long enough to complement the accessible but all in all quite superficial gameplay. Something for youngers gamers or those who want some simple waste of time on the 3DS.