This weekend, Switch owners will be able to download Mario Tennis Aces Online Tournament allowing players to get an early taste of what’s to come on June 22nd.
After a short download and a fairly in-depth tutorial mode that ensure players are given ample time to learn the mechanics, you’re then prompted to either practice against an AI opponent or participate in the online tournament. I recommend messing around with the AI to get a feel for the four characters, Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser, as jumping right in to the online tournament is a good way to get crushed. You can unlock a total of five other characters, with each costing from 100pts to upwards of 1500 pts. Playing the AI will net you around 10 with every win and depending on how you win within the Online Tournament, you can get over 150pts.
After a few tournament games and beating up on the AI, I can say that Mario Tennis Aces is a solid experience. You can’t cheese the new mechanics, such as the trick shot, zone shot, zone speed, and special shot. There is an energy bar that builds based off volleys, charge shots, and blocks. It depletes when you use a special ability so choose wisely. I tend to save my energy for defensive purposes, there are players who will immediately use up their zone shots and the best way to counter is to use zone speed and either block of volley the ball back.
Time your block well, because your racket has a gauge and once it depletes the racket can break. During the tournament, players are given two rackets and once those have been both depleted, its an instant game over. Players will need to time their shots up as well, as there is gauge that appears during volleys that will show just how solid the contact was with the ball. I tend to use the Flat shot once I drag a player to the opposite side of the court, if timed well, you can hit it hard enough to where its damn near impossible to guard.
Even though my time with Mario Tennis Aces has been short, the experience has been solid. Online play hasn’t been laggy and there’s enough difference between the characters that it’s fun to experiment, unless you’re playing as Bowser whose power doesn’t make up for his lack of speed. Within a few hours there really isn’t any challenge playing the AI, they’re really only good for practicing your special abilities. Seriously though, experiment as much as possible, how else will you become a god with Waluigi?
Time will tell if the mechanics can hold up for a full release, but if this Online Tournament is any indication, this may be another solid First-Party release for the Switch.