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Mario Power Tennis – Wii

Mario Power TennisPlatform:  Wii

Release Date:  March 9th, 2009

Developer:  Camelot

Genre:  Sports, Tennis

Rating:  5.5 out of 10

Mario Power Tennis


A re-tooling of the GameCube title of the same name, Mario Power Tennis takes full advantage of the mechanics from the tennis game in Wii Sports.  Gameplay is pretty simple, all one has to do is swing the Wii remote when the ball comes close and attempt to score points.  It’s hard to pin down exactly how to control the ball and thus how to score points while flailing about in the air.  The game does seem somewhat responsive to attempting slams, and also appears to recognize a backhanded hit.  The problem is that the nature of the game more or less allows for any movement at the right time to send the ball back, usually in a fairly straight line.  This makes the act of waiting for a particular shot from the opponent in order to hit it back for a point an almost aimless task.  Many times the only way to score is to wait for the computer AI to make an egregious error.

Mario Power TennisThe best way to get points is to either make liberal use of your player’s special move or use the gimmick courts to one’s advantage.  Mario Power Tennis can be configured to trigger the special moves automatically whenever one is able, or it can be set for manual activation.  Either way, attaining the necessary energy by successfully hitting the ball is a very fast process and several special moves will be used by all players in a match.  Each player has 2 different specials, some more creative than others.  Sadly these powers are not quite evenly distributed with some players having much more effective specials than others.  The purpose of these is to make the ball nearly impossible to hit by the opposing team.  Just over half of these specials work as intended and it is the main method by which to score.  The problem is that, especially in doubles, the ability to perform special moves recharges so quick that the game is almost overrun with them making it look less like a tennis game and more like some sort of turn in an RPG stuck in perpetuity.  I’m sure they were designed to liven up the gameplay some, but at times they are a real annoyance.  The game takes on the role of moving the player and there seems to be no way to override this feature in any capacity.  Not that the computer makes any bad decisions, but it may sometimes be possible to score a point if the player were able to hit the ball from a slightly different angle.

The “gimmick” courts mentioned above are another feature to keep this game a little bit on the fantasy side.  While not quite as pervasive as special moves, they can be a source of hindrance as they add to the “sheer luck” factor of scoring points.  Thankfully regular courts do exist, claiming to have properties which affect how the ball bounces.  I’m never really noticed a difference, but perhaps someone more in tune with tennis would.

Mario Power TennisMultiplayer modes in Mario Power Tennis work fairly well, but again the lack of fully understanding how to score points presents an issue.  In singles mode, the screen is split.  Split screens are never my favorite thing to see but I do understand the purpose they fulfill; thank goodness the screen is split vertically, but it still feels small and hard to see.  With 2 humans on the same team against 2 computer opponents, the entire screen is visible.  What is frustrating in this mode is the role of the forward player.  The ball is almost hit softer and quite often hit back by the forward computer player.  It’s a little easier to set up point scoring shots in this mode, mostly because the computer play in the back is constantly darting around in a seemingly random fashion.  Another issue is that if the forward player swings the remote at all they will automatically make the most absurd movements to make sure the ball is hit before the back player can hit it, and it works at least 9 out of 10 times.  This causes considerable frustration when the forward player is simply moving their arm and not intending to swing.

Graphics are very nicely done here.  Smooth and realistic character motions and a convincing display of the physics taking place on a tennis courts.  Although I could do without all the flashy special moves and dynamic playing areas, these animations are done quite well with plenty of color and brightness.  Even all the tiny background stuff like the crowd is sufficiently detailed, and the opening scene and cut scenes are as beautiful as anything on the Wii, save for Super Mario Galaxy and Galaxy 2, perhaps.Mario Power Tennis

Overall I count Mario Power Tennis a fun game, at least for a little while.  The controls are as smooth as ever, but in an attempt to give a decidedly kid friendly Mario spin to the traditional game of tennis, there’s not much room for skill.  Outcomes are largely determined before the game even starts.  On easy, the computer player makes numerous mistakes, and anything above, the AI manages all the feats of controlling ball spin and directionality that fail to be manipulated by the Wii remote alone.  Worth playing, but a game or two at a time will suffice.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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  1. Pingback: Mario Super Sluggers - Wii - Nerd Bacon Reviews

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