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Review

Mario Tennis Open Review

  • Game release: May 20, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • 3DS

Mario Tennis Open is a stripped-back, mundane entry in the Mario Sports series.

'

The Mario Sports games are known for being larger than life and filled with color, bombast, and hyper-unrealistic movesets. Mario Tennis Open eschews much of this, following in the footsteps of some of Nintendo's earlier tennis games in an attempt to become a purer, more focused tennis experience. It doesn't quite hit the mark, falling somewhere between the two styles. Despite being largely stripped back, it manages to be convoluted thanks to a variety of jarring control schemes. Above all, while it's competent, it's also mundane, with little incentive for you to stick at it beyond the occasional bout of multiplayer with friends.

The setup is simple. Mario and friends are playing tennis. There's no usual Mushroom Kingdom plot and no backstory--it's simply all about 13 characters competing in tennis tournaments. Progressing through the three-match tournaments is a matter of playing them one after another. When you win the fourth tournament, you're given the option to promote your character to "star" status, meaning he or she can compete in the second set.

During matches, there are six shot types on offer: simple, topspin, flat, slice, lob, and drop shot. These shots can be performed with the face buttons, or by tapping the relevant icon on the touch screen. On the touch screen, the layout makes sense. The first four shots are laid out in a diamond, with topspin at the top, slice at the bottom, and simple and flat on either side. For some reason, however, the button layout doesn't mirror this, with topspin mapped to A on the right-hand side. Why the button layout doesn't match the touch screen layout is a mystery. It's especially odd given that the touch screen controls are largely hopeless, requiring you to look down at the bottom screen first, thus having to take your eye off the ball.

Then there's the option to use either gyro controls or circle pad controls. The latter sees you directing your player from a bird's-eye perspective, whereas the gyro controls angle the camera over your shoulder and have you directing your shots by tilting the 3DS around. This is another convoluted aspect of Mario Tennis. If you opt to turn gyro controls on, the game takes control of your player, directing him or her to where the ball is going to land. You can move around with the pad too, but with your player moving independently, it often feels like you're wrestling against the game. You also have to keep the 3DS vertical, as tilting it downwards will snap you out of that control method. Occasionally this happens mid-match, disorienting you.

Playing with gyro controls also disables the 3D, and this takes effect automatically, saving you the disorienting moment when you realize how incompatible gyro and 3D are. The 3D effects themselves aren't very impressive, with barely any depth even on the highest setting. Turning the gyro controls off gives you full control of your character via the circle pad and is the preferable option, not least because with gyro controls on, it's almost impossible to concede more than a couple of points within an entire tournament. Controlling your player with the circle pad also offers a bit more of a challenge, albeit only towards the end of the eight tournaments, thanks to a large difficulty spike in an otherwise incredibly easy game.

Spicing up the tennis somewhat is the "chance shot" mechanic. During rallies, glowing circles appear on the court, corresponding to one of five shot types. Performing a shot on the colored circle causes you to perform a smash shot that can stagger your opponents, curve around them, or lob over their heads. It's not too over the top--the focus is on largely sensible tennis mechanics after all--but it's enough to give you an edge in rallies. During earlier tournaments, these chance shots basically function as win buttons, and you almost always score a point if you hit one. This is particularly exaggerated if using the gyro controls, as the game will direct your character right into the chance shot spot. As if that weren't easy enough, while you can press the correct shot button (yellow for lob, red for topspin, and so on), chance shots can also be activated by performing a simple shot, which leads the game to perform the correctly colored shot without your having to worry about complicated things like pressing the right button.

The numerous control methods convolute what is an otherwise simple and sparse tennis game. That simplicity extends to the courts, which are themed, but differ only in court surface--at least until you reach the final tournament and the Galaxy Court. The Galaxy Court has cycling surfaces, which can be triggered by landing a smash on your opponent's side. Mostly these are just clay, sand, grass, and so on, but one surface takes the form of a black hole, which sends shots bouncing wildly off course. It's an odd inclusion, as it's the only unrealistic court gimmick, and isn't included anywhere else in the game.

You can play through singles or doubles tournaments in single-player, breezing through until the final difficulty spike. Doubles tournaments don't work quite as well as singles by yourself, since your AI companion will occasionally forget how to play tennis, diving into the middle of your rallies, choosing not to hit the ball, or simply failing to perform the majority of chance shots. The entire single-player campaign is somewhat dull, though, and quickly sees you going through the motions purely to complete things.

Luckily, there's multiplayer on offer, both local and online. Local play also has download play enabled, which is a welcome addition. It's the same tennis mechanic, but playing with friends offers more than taking on the rigid AI. If you play online versus random opponents, you can only play singles matches, and then only brief knockabouts with low set counts; the ideal way to play Mario Tennis Open is with a group of mates. There's also a Streetpass function that lets you challenge the Mii of any player you come into contact with, but the tennis mechanics are the same as elsewhere, and with the AI taking control of your opponent's Mii, it offers little more than the same thing as elsewhere under a slightly different menu option.

Four minigames are present to provide a brief distraction. These all involve hitting balls in certain directions, either to pass through rings, collect star pieces, or avoid an opponent. The best minigame features levels from Super Mario Bros. on a video screen, with the tennis ball acting as Mario. You hit the ball at various parts of the level to scroll it forward, collect coins, and defeat enemies. It's fun for a little while, but even this minigame quickly gets old. Minigames reward you with coins, which can be used to purchase outfits for your playable Mii character. Outfits are unlocked for purchase by playing tournaments and matches, so if you're looking to own everything, you're in for a huge amount of grinding and repetition.

Even then, there's very little to keep you coming back for long--the tennis just isn't exciting enough. It lacks the subtleties of more realistic tennis games, but is also missing the grandiose moveset of other Mario Sports titles. The changes brought on by the different control methods convolute an otherwise basic game, and there's not enough substance--or enough skill required--for Mario Tennis Open to be treated as a serious tennis game. Playing against friends can be fun, but this is otherwise a rather uneventful, forgettable instalment.

'
The Good
Fun with a few friends
The Bad
The tennis never hits its stride
Far too easy until an 11th-hour difficulty spike
Convoluted control schemes
5.5
Mediocre
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55 comments
hochstreck
hochstreck

After I have played this game for quite a while now, this review appears quite bad to me, as most of the arguments made in it appear wrong or outright stupid - as if the reviewer had no clue what-so-ever about the game's premisses or the sport in general.


To make my post short: 

This is basically a spice up and largely more comprehensive version of "Mario Tennis" for the N64, with better presentation and online-multiplayer. It's therefore quite a competent, larger then life and polished take on the classical tennis-formula, which can be enjoyed by players new to video-games or the sport and hardcore-gamers alike, depending the control-scheme and perspective they choose.


In sheer contrast to the opinion of the review, I found the difficulty in this game(I played with classic controls) actually very gradual in its progression. The different characters even seem to have different personalities, when controlled by the CPU. As an example: Bowser Jr. is a die-hard baseline-player, while Luigi likes the net.


SiMgUrL1721
SiMgUrL1721

Wow. A lot of player reviews are giving Mario Tennis Open a 7.5 when I gave it a 7.0 out of 10. I'm kind of surprised that Gamespot gave this game a 5.5. I don't think that this game is mediocre overall, but the single player modes get boring after a while and the online modes lag on me sometimes. I still like this game way better than Mario Power Tennis because that game doesn't have that many features and modes.

Autony
Autony

The touch screen is utterly useless if you're a lefty, if they only added the circle pad pro compatibility it would be fair enough for all users to use the touch screen quick buttons. They instead added a "lefty" option which is basically useless unless you're telling people you're left handed when you're playing online.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

I don't think a low score will stop sales, still is good in some areas

yesiamBARIO
yesiamBARIO

Finally, a handheld tennis game I can play while avoiding the straining physical recreation of putting on pants and removing the fruity pebbles from my beard.

rcisim319
rcisim319

Woah!..i was not expecting this low of a rating! :O what happend..there was so publicity..then boom!..bad rating..

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Sounds like a missed opportunity. Sad. I was hoping that it would be good. The 3DS needs a Mario Soccer title though, I would gladly pay for that.

Redley911
Redley911

It's not a bad game at all like the review is saying but the main problem about the gameplay concerns the special moves that can almost save you every time.

It's also fun up to four players .

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

I bought the game and I have played it well over 10 hours (single and multiplayer combined), and it is not that bad (uninteresting or mediocre) as the reviewer make it sound. I think his word of the day was "rigid"... way to over use it.

 

- Yes, the game is repetitive (not in a bad way, at least for me), but what else can we hope to see from a sports games, even if it is from a realistic sport franchise... it is going to get the same no matter what.

- If you want to get all the items, goodies and characters, then there is a lot of grinding to do for coins and for items; but what good game does not have it... besides I rather grind to unlock characters, items and goodies, rather than paying for them.

- The 4 mini games actually reinforces the use of the different technique/skill shots in order to obtain more coins or beat the level, so they are not that simple as he make it sound.

- I don't know about his 3D settings, but the game has good 3D depth.

- I think the multiplayer is where the game really shines (local or/and random online).

- About the gyro controls, I do agree in some aspects with him, but the controls are not "convoluted" at all; The controls are even simpler than using the circle pad since you do not control the character.

- I agree with him with the StreetPass Mii matches... the A.I. of the Mii you meet on StreetPass it is not the greatest... hopefully, as you meet the same Mii character more times, his/her A.I. level will increase...... Also, he forgot to mention that there is another mini game involving StreetPass.

- I think he contradicts himself pointing that there is not super moves per character, but the "charge moves" act as those super moves, besides in my opinion, this was a good thing since players do not have to waste time waiting for the super move animation to finish knowing that there is 90%+ chance that the outcome will be the same.

 

The game in my opinion (and using GameSpot scoring standards) is not Mediocre, or neither should have a Great to Prime score. I think this game has good potential to be rated between Fair and Good score., but that is just my opinion.

 

pqwoei
pqwoei

Will I still enjoy this even though I'm not a fan of tennis?

unmannedrobot
unmannedrobot

gamespot doesn't inflate its ratings , though it seems to truly deflate them!

bigz3393
bigz3393

Really??? This game is a solid 9. I have three brothers and multiplayer is epic. The gameplay is better than power tennis because every shot is actually returnable. The controls are great and the graphics are solid for being a 3ds. This review is a joke. This is an experience equal to mario kart 7 in terms of multiplayer excitement. The only reason I wouldn't give this game a 10 is because there couldve been a setting which enabled power shots for games which wouldve been awesome. Gimmick courts can be a cool feature but also flat out frustrating at times. Gyro controls? you'd look like a moron using those on an airplane theyre there as a gimmick feature not for a core gamer. No one buys a 3ds for 3d anymore everyone knows that and they should just leave it out of reviews.The button layout complaint is a joke you get used to it in literally 5 minutes. The game is exactly what the tiltle says it is.

chazy035
chazy035

Audrey Drake would give this game a 11/10

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

" Far too easy until an 11th-hour difficulty spike"

 

 My complaint with most Nintendo games including sports games on the Wii is that it is all too easy.  Seriously we understand the focus on trying to bring gaming that is suitable for kids but that doesn't mean you could not add ways to change the difficulty.  I also don't like games on the Wii and even some other systems where there are no standings whatsoever and stats are not tracked.  Seriously how long is it before Nintendo actually has an online bowling game with league play that matters ?  This also can be said for other systems too.

pikadeth
pikadeth

There is 4 player online play. It says so on the box.

-The-G-Man-
-The-G-Man-

another casualty of GS's on-again-off-again initiative to use the entire review scale, I see

snake63
snake63

This is the core problem with Nintendo. Nintendo was always horrible with sports.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

I dont get it, its basically Mario Power Tennis but with the Gimmicky courses switched for a Mii Customization RPG.

 

You can tell this game was meant to follow its console roots and the gameplay is a mixture of N64 and Power Tennis, so why exactly is this "Shallow" and "Stripped"? Or did you not get that this game is a closer to its console than its Handheld? They were aiming at the console type and to focus on Multiplayer.

 

With this logic you might aswell give Mario Power Tennis a 5.5 but whatever its your review and your opinion. Its not stopping me from buying this game.

removermover
removermover

I agree, novagforce. High difficulty is no reason to give a bad score. I bet they would rate something lowly if it was easy. MAKE UP YOUR MINDS.

pizzamuncher
pizzamuncher

I'm still buying this game. It sounds like a watered-down Mario Power Tennis which sounds like a seven at least. Camelot hasn't failed yet. 

novagforce
novagforce

I remember GS gave Radiant Dawn a 6.0 just because its high difficulty and lack of motion control. I don't think GS's score matters.

KokutenNagaki
KokutenNagaki

Oh Camelot...

Mario Tennis for the GBA was a fantastic game. What happened to you?

sasami_adachi
sasami_adachi

This is one of the few 3DS titles I have been truly looking forward to this year. I think I am going to get it regardless of the scores. It looks like the GC version of Mario Tennis on the 3DS and supports limited online play - that is good enough for me. I don't know what the deal with realism is, Mario Tennis has never been about realism.

metalgrinch
metalgrinch

This came doesn't look bad at all. I don' t think I'd dislike it this much if I played it, although some things he says I can believe, typically these Mario sports games are fun and easy to get into

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

Hopefully Nintendo can come up with something original because they make the same exact games again and again. Even less changes compared to Call of Duty.

mario-galaxys
mario-galaxys

It is unfortunate that the game received a lower score, and I was wise not to consider buying it once I saw Nintendo Power's 7.0 review of the game. Gametrailers' review is quite higher than GameSpot's, showing that the game is receiving mixed reviews.

Superzone
Superzone

Not a good review.  I sad :(

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

When people say that Mario Sunshine, Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 mean "milking the Mario franchise", I can not agree with them. Mario sport games however...

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

 @SiMgUrL1721 Your mixing those games up lol, this game is an obsessive game of pong with Mario characters

hochstreck
hochstreck

@Sagacious_Tien 

Don't get missled by this awkward review. If you liked Nintendo-Sports-Games in the past, you should get this game, as it's actually quite good.

Blabadon
Blabadon

 @chazy035 I actually laughed at this comment, because I particularly dislike Audrey Drake. 

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

 @removermover uhmmmm where did they say high difficulty ?  it seems it takes years for the game to even get tough which is ridiculous

Carbon1984
Carbon1984

 @KokutenNagaki I agree.  Also, Golden Sun for GBA was an AMAZING pair of games, but the DS version (Dark Dawn?) fell FAR short of my expectations of awesomeness. 

BloodMist
BloodMist

 @gamebuyer22 

Yeah, like you've ever touched a Nintendo console in your short little life.

swordstaker
swordstaker

 @Gurzociurlo Mario Sport games are just made for little side fun games. They're fun and that's all they're there for. It's obvious Nintendo puts 99.99% of their brain power and team into things like Mario Galaxy and Zelda and what not. The sports games ARE milking it and anyone who says so otherwise is lying. But, that doesn't mean they're bad. I have loads of fun with Mario Sports games and Mario Party. It's a shame 9 is such a failure but w.e. I'm still waiting for Mario Superall star Football or w.e

swordstaker
swordstaker

 @DeViLzzz You don't read do you. Their negative points was a high difficulty spike. WELP GUESS DAT WUT HAPPENZ WHEN U PUT DEM CPU ON VERY HERD HERPA HERPA

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

 @BloodMist 

I'm 31 and still have my original nes from 1988. I own all Nintendo consoles except Wii.  You act like Nintendo shouldn't be  criticized even if you are a fan of them.

slayer1090
slayer1090

 @swordstaker For me, mario party died when it was released on the gamecube, nothing could live up to 2 and 3 IMO

swordstaker
swordstaker

 @DeViLzzz Look @ dat n3rd talk herpa derpa. You're an idiot if you think that was serious. Also that person would be wrong as is this review. The challenge comes about mid-way through the game and becomes progressively harder as it goes on. As it should. So both your friend and this review are both wrong.

@slayer1090 Yep, so butt-hurt. 

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

 @swordstaker someone explained to me after a certain point you can go right to the highest difficulty but with the way it was worded it sounds like it doesn't get difficult until way too late in the game (the 11th hour reference says that so not sure if the person that told me the info.  I mentioned was right) ... again it sounds like one has to play way too many horrible opponents to finally get to a challenge

 

 

see swordstaker I can read and I didn't have to use that horrid, idiotic nerd talk you used

 

my God you sound like an idiot

Rengarg
Rengarg

 @gamebuyer22 You seem to be forgetting that a lot of games made by other companies follow these templates still to this day. There's nothing wrong with new Zeldas or Marios, and they DO add new mechanics to them, and they do tend to feel fresh and familiar at the same time. Paper Mario is amazing, and it might look similar but that's just because of the art style, plus Super Paper Mario wasn't bad. Luigi's Mansion is a franchise with one entry in it so a sequel several years apart is hardly a rehash! And Tennis? Is Nintendo not allowed to have a tennis game? You seem to forget that these are the exact same things other companies do as well. Many FPS games are interchangeable with several notable standouts. Tennis games have been around for yonks and they're mostly follow the same idea of hitting the ball past the other players. I mean I'm not saying remaking games like Lylat Wars or OoT is necessarily the best course of action but for example Sony are releasing endless numbers of HD Collections which just upscale the graphics a bit. Developers usually have mascots and game characters which frequently appear in lots of games (Crash, Spyro, Halo, Zelda, Mario, GoW, Uncharted, Rachet and Clank blah blah blah), so a lot of originality there. It's kind of silly that people rip on Nintendo for having no originality and rehashing their games when it happens all the time across the whole industry. And to be honest, I'm not bothered about any of them (except the snore-fest which is COD nowadays). Nintendo do bring new stuff to the table, perhaps just within their existing franchises, as do does everyone. The important thing is to enjoy playing what you want to play. Though I am sick of having Miis in everything, they are kind of annoying! 

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

 @BloodMist  So the Mario, Zelda and the Mario RPGS series are bringing new stuff to the table? Mario and Zelda are still stuck in the template built on the N64 in 1996 and 1998. Paper Mario series is ok but Super Paper Mario was awful. Oh but they are bringing a new Paper Mario to 3DS that looks just like the previous 2. Speaking of 3DS, alot of originality from Nintendo. You have rehashed Ocarina of Time, Star Fox, nothing new Mario 3D Land, Pilotwings, Tennis and soon Luigis Mansion 2. Probably a crappy Animal Crossing sooner or later. All the usual rehashes are spoken for.

d3ad4ng3l
d3ad4ng3l

 @gamebuyer22 Agree with you, else Nintendo wont lose money in the first place. If you people know the logic of making bad games = losing money. Does not matter if the game for adult or kid, hardcore or casual gamers, but the fact is bad then it is bad. Else Nintendo would never lose money and this is the consequence of the fact.

Metal_Gear_LR
Metal_Gear_LR

@gamebuyer22 @pizzamuncher Actually I read a review that miyamoto or however u spell his name {don't get mad ppl I'm American and bad with names even if that name creates legends} anyway in a review he said he was coming up with something entirely new what that is I'm not sure but hopefully e3 will show some light on that. Also your comment about tasteless children is a tad immature good sir, lots of grown men play Mario and legend of Zelda heck you remember that one e3 where twilight princess was being released? Ppl cried at the trailer that's some hardcore fan base if you ask me...I will admit tho that Nintendo doesn't really grab the reigns for a mature rating title but a game doesn't need to be gory and raunchy to be good. Just saying >>

BloodMist
BloodMist

 @gamebuyer22 

 

I love how you completely ignored all of the main games and games like the Mario RPG's in your sad little argument.Because you know they're always adding something new to the table, thank you.

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

 @pizzamuncher 

Crappy soccer, baseball, tennis, Mario and Sonic, mario party=milked garbage. No value and they are made for kids with no taste. The only original game Nintendo has come up with in the last years is Wii Music. We know how  that POS  turned out. There is a reason Nintendo keeps milking the same crap. They only go with what mindless kids buy when they should be taking a risk by making a brand new franchise. Whats up with the immature responses to my post? Im sure ive played and own more Nintendo games then both of you. Saying Nintendo needs to come up with something original is a  valid complaint.

pizzamuncher
pizzamuncher

 @gamebuyer22 Criticism shouldn't sound like meaningless fanboyism. If you really think Nintendo makes the same games over and over you should actually play some.  

Mario Tennis Open More Info

  • Released
    • 3DS
    Mario Tennis Open allows players to instantly jump into the multiplayer fun, locally or online, as theirr Mii or their favorite Mushroom Kingdom character.
    7.2
    Average User RatingOut of 91 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Mario Tennis Open
    Developed by:
    Camelot Software Planning
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    Tennis, Sports
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors