Mario Power Tennis Review by: EX PalenMario Federer versus Koopa Nadal: The Rematch
The sequel to the old Mario Tennis for the polygonal N64. Enhanced, of course, but sometimes the enhancements don't come up with good reviews by players. This game is no exception, for example, in the fact of being less realistic than its predecessor. Talking about Mario, this shouldn't be a problem, since realistic isn't the word that better describes the whole Mario series, but talking about sports, it does matter.
So, four years have passed since the release of the original Mario Tennis. A new console was released in the meantime, which means that the new game will have more features than the first: more characters, more courts, more tournaments... So far so good. But then, Nintendo kicks in and adds the magic ingredient of fantasy into the game. This results in impossible winners, strange courts, and magical superpowers either for offense or defense. The impossible winners, well, let's say that Rafael Nadal himself showed this to the real world after the game was released. The strange courts, a typical thing in the Mario universe: do normal things in the weirdest places. The superpowers... It's alright to have the option to play with power-ups like in Mario Kart, but having those superpowers as default in Tournament mode it's just out of place in my opinion.
But let's stop complaining and start reviewing.Graphics:
A great improvement from the prequel. The courts and characters are much more detailed, and the animations are great. Even when the court is composed of treadmills working at full power, the game doesn't slow down at any moment and the animations are never altered (that is, if you don't step on one of the treadmills). Graphics has earned a 9 for this.Sound:
Well, the music in here can be omitted, but the in-game sounds not. In here, the sound that a player emitted when it knew the point was lost is removed, and it's not because the superpowers can help you even if the point should be lost by normal means. It was r
eplaced by the sound a player emits when normally hitting a ball that was sent via an offensive superpower, but even this one could be removed as well and nobody would bat an eye. For everything else, let's just say it's not disappointing at all, so sound earns an 8.Addictiveness:
A very fun game to play again and again. The character roster also gives you the chance of not having to reset the data in order to have something to do. The characters' abilities are now much more noticeable, which can give you a hard time to master them all. And if you want to play without superpowers, it can become even harder (or easier, if you're the one using offensive superpowers one after another and the computer defends itself from insurmountable situations). In my opinion, a well deserved 10 for addictiveness.Story:
It's hard for a tennis game to have some story behind. But no, even if it's Mario, Bowser has no plans in ruining the tournament, even if the intro states otherwise. So, beating the game only awards you some unlockables, and that's pretty much all.Depth:
The original game had a lot to offer, and this game doesn't fall behind. 14 characters, plus 4 more unlockable, 16 cups to beat (8 in singles and 8 in doubles). Let's do some math: three matches per cup, and you have to play (and win) 16 cups, makes a total of 48 matches for a single character. And there are 18, so that means... 864 matches! That's almost the same number of victories Andre Agassi achieved over his whole career (and it was since 1986 to 2006, 20 exact years). But wait, there's more. After winning all tournaments with all characters, there's still the score table, or the face-to-face results. This table keeps track of all matches you play in all modes while in Exhibition mode. If you want to complete it, here you have the calculations: each character must win 17 matches, and there are 3 modes, so that means 51 matches per character, and 918 matches overall. With this, the total amount of matches to win would be... 1764! I would like to compare this number to the number of wins a famous real tennis player has, but there's not even a single player, male or female, who has played that many matches in singles in his/her entire career. If you ever complete the game at its fullest, you can feel powerful. Depth should be rated more than just 10.Difficulty:
The game itself isn't difficult at all. Even if you stay way like three steps from the ball, your character will hit it at full force. Characters can also jump very high, but not as excessive as Captain Tsubasa. Also, some preset commands allow a single button for superpowers, which will shift to offense or defense as it fits the most. You can change it at your own risk, because not always the offensive shot will work, and not always the defensive shot will save the point (some characters have limited distance to hit the ball while defending). It's also very rare to fail, with only accurate serves going out or to the net. When using power-ups, the chances to fail increase when hit with the lightning, and when having the star, your shots can go far away from the baseline. The difficulty comes when facing the tournaments' finals, some of which are absolutely painful to play. The last final, a five-set match in grass against Donkey Kong, can be really twisty, since it doesn't need to move much to reach almost any ball, and it's defensive superpower works at any distance, so be sure to make it run from side to side, and don't try to use drop shots followed by lobs, it will only make it worse. This last match increases the difficulty quite a lot, so the rating it's finally an 8.Overall:
Fun, but not as challenging as the prequel. It's very rare to fail a shot here, while it was very easy to miss a ball in the N64 just because you weren't close enough to hit it. Even then, I think that the fact of nearly impossible failed shots make points last longer, increasing the difficulty to win them and increasing the thrill over what should I do next. Matches can very well extend to more than an hour when picking five-sets six-games in Exhibition. It won't be a wasted hour, but very few multiplayer games allow a setting that makes the game last this long