I had plans over the weekend, but then I remembered Mario Tennis Aces has a demo out for the Nintendo Switch and, man, I can’t stop playing it. I recall first seeing the announcement in March and losing my shit.
So, did I cancel weekend plans with friends to play this game? Absolutely.
Did I skip my girlfriend's graduation brunch to play this game? Actually, no, she would have killed me. The rankings of life are mimosas then Mario then life.
The last Mario Tennis game I had was Mario Power Tennis for the Wii. I opened up this demo on my couch, not knowing what to expect, and all of a sudden three hours had passed.
I loved this demo, man.
It was cool to get a look at what the gameplay would be like, and though it may seem simple, there’s already a lot to unpack, just from the demo. Here are a few more thoughts I had.
(Before we start, I just want to preface this by saying that I never played Ultra Smash.)
Playing against other people was so much fun.
The demo had two major play modes: practice mode against the computer; OR tournament mode, where you compete with other players. It was so cool to be playing against “Ted” as Princess Peach. I found myself trash-talking, shouting, and feeling both excitement and frustration. I was also the only one in my apartment.
The online competition is really what made this demo for me. For each match, you had to figure out what the opponent’s strategy was and counter it before it’s too late. The demo came with nine characters and, like the other Mario Tennis games, they have different play styles.
From Rosalina’s epic slices.
To the overwhelming power of Bowser.
In addition to the styles, there are many awesome elements that play into the strategy.
Special features make for exciting gameplay.
The special aspects of this game revolve around an energy gauge system. The gauge fills up when you charge up your shots and engage in long rallies. This is interesting because it’s a system that’s designed to mitigate spamming certain moves endlessly, and I get that.
With this energy gauge, you can use the following special features:
Zone Speed: A feature where you slow down time to catch up to a ball that’s out of your reach. You can also use this to time your returns on special shots better.
Zone Shot: A shot where you slam the ball down with pinpoint accuracy depending on how hard you aim.
Special Shot: A fiery shot that has the potential to break your opponent’s racket if they don’t time the return right. You only get two racket lives and if they both break, you lose the game no matter what the score is. It also comes with a super cool animation.
You can also use trick shots to get shots that seem to be out of your range. Each character has their own trick shot animation. My favorite is easily MOONWALKING WALUIGI!
When you combine all of these new elements, you get exciting gameplay that doesn’t let you get your guard down until the point is over. It’s awesome. Weekend well spent.
Just look at this rally!
Now, this demo wasn’t perfect. There was one thing that frustrated me to no end.
OH, MY GOD, THE LAG.
When there was a good connection, it was hard to complain about the game. However, this game was damn near unplayable when it lagged. In a game and sport that depends so much on reflexes, it was incredibly frustrating to make it all the way to the championship of the tournament just to have the opponent win because you couldn’t tell if the game was lagging or not. It was not ideal to hit a button four times and have your character just STAND there.
Lag can make or break online multiplayer modes in video games. This demo was fun as hell when the connection was good, but when the connection was bad? Yikes.
The good news is that the amount of lag didn’t stop me from wanting to play the game. I just had to power through it because the multiplayer was that much fun.
The demo is sadly no longer available, but the full Mario Tennis Aces is coming June 22. I can’t freaking wait.