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Mario Tennis Open Review: Serve Up!

Mario Tennis Open Review: Serve Up!


After seven years, Mario and friends are back to play some tennis in Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS. Does this latest edition ace it or does it fault when trying to score? The game manages to hit over the net to win, but just barely.

At the heart is five different sections to the game. This includes: Single Player, Local Multiplayer, Online Multiplayer, StreetPass, and Clubhouse. Single Player as you can guess has the Tournament mode, Exhibition mode, where you can create your own rules and quick matches, and Special Games. Don’t forget to activate StreetPass, as every person you walk by will give you the chance to challenge them in a match. Tournament mode itself is pretty simple. There are a total of 8 sections, four regular tournaments and 4 star tournaments that you can unlock later on. These do get pretty challenging after a while. For those curious about how online is handled, sadly it is rather lacking. When you are online, you only get two options. Play with friends or play with strangers. No extra options are available to choose from. This is rather upsetting, as it would have been nice to play in a double match with a friend and random people. In clubhouse, you can buy items for your Mii character, change your outfit or greeting and look at your records. Items in the Item Shop become unlocked as you continue to play the game.

Unlike past handheld Mario games, there is no RPG elements to be found here. This is a bit of a letdown, as that is what help made past Mario Tennis games fun. The lack of these elements, is very much missed, and could of help made the game amazing instead of just ordinary.

In this version, there are times where you can perform special ball hit moves. This is based upon the glowing color circle that sometimes appears where the ball might hit. For example, a glowing red circle indicates the chance to do a powerful topspin, if hit would send the ball with a powerful force to your opponent that will knock them back. These do help to liven up the gameplay a lot and make it challenging and fun.

Hoping the game has lots of extra characters and courts? Well, while there are 17 total characters, only 4 of them are unlock-able. However, you can unlock different color Yoshi by scanning in QR codes. These 4 extra characters can be unlocked by finishing the four extra special games. In total, there are 8 courts that can be played with here, with the final one unlocked by completing the final cup in the Star Open Tournament.

Hoping the 3D effects would be used in a creative fashion? Unfortunately, there is barely any 3D effect to be found here. But, I guess with an above the court kind of view, it should be expected that there might not be any creative or interesting 3D effects. The game does look pretty nice and has some nice sounds coming from it however.

There are four extra single player mode to help keep you busy. These include a Ring Shot game, Super Mario Tennis, Galaxy Rally, and Ink Showdown. These are mainly just filler games to give you a little fun. But you should really check out Super Mario Tennis. As this allows you to play the original Super Mario Bros in a unique fashion. It really is quite enjoyable to play this special game.

The game is definitely fun; it just feels like it is lacking something extra to make it stand out. If you enjoy tennis and tennis games in general, you will probably enjoy this game. But if you’re looking for a story mode or RPG like elements to help bring this game to life, you may feel underwhelmed. But the extra modes and online action will sure to help keep the action going for a while.

Rating: 7/10


  1. You know, lately I’ve been struggling to put a lot of time into any one game. My 3DS collection is already pretty big, and it’s games like this one that I’m not playing. I’m hitting the ones with meaty single player modes, then moving on. The games like this- which are designed for pickup and play, and use skill-honing to extend replay value- are getting played the least. I think I’m gonna pass, cause it’s just gonna sit like Mario Kart and Street Fighter are.


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