Party on, party off.
Nintendo has made an absolutely fascinating game series where you play a board game, some mini-games, and become mortal enemies with all of your friends. It’s called Mario Party and the level with which you can fuck over players is akin to that of Munchkin or Monopoly. Unlike the latter, Super Mario Party doesn’t take 6 hours to finish. This series has had 10 entries in its main console series, and several spinoffs on other devices. But where do you go from there? Call it Mario Party 11? No. You call it SUPER. Why? Because the Switch is the greatest console ever made and it deserves the upgraded name. I’m like 70% serious here.
This looks exactly like Mario Party is supposed to look like. The quality isn’t in the graphical fidelity, but how fun they can make it. And that includes animations. Seeing all of your favorite Mario characters getting, angry, sad, frustrated, and determined are a delight. It is amazing how it mocks real life. When a play gets a star, their avatar makes boasting gesture while the other three get frustrated. Each board on the main game has its very own individual look that stands out. Even the first board, which is mostly just a bunch of grey blocks. But once you get to the board that has four islands, the graphic variety really shines.
And now, here’s the verbatim from the game’s intro cinematic:
TEXT: One day, trouble was brewing between Mario and his good friends. Each claimed to be the Super Star, the worthiest hero in all the land. Mario suggested having a party to decide, a time-honored tradition. Everyone agreed – a proper party would surely reveal the true Super Stardom.
TOAD: What do you say, Toadette?
TOADETTE: I say this time we’re going to find out what being a Super Star REALLY means!
TOAD: You can trust us to be fair and impartial judges! Give us time to set up and we can get st-
???: Aren’t you forgetting something?
BOWSER: Maybe NONE of you are the Super Star! Maybe it’s one of us instead. I brought an extra judge, too! I want you keeping an eye on things too! You know, so it’s all fair and impartial.
KAMEK: If you say so! But be careful what you wish for, Keeheehee!
TOAD: Well, at least Kamek will make setting up easy! This should only take a minute!
TOADETTE: Is everybody else as excited as I am? I DOUBT IT!
KAMEK: Wait until you see what my genius has wrought!
-gates open, everyone claps-
TOAD: Let’s party!
I laughed. I cried. I wet myself a bit. This is the most moving, emotional, satisfying plot I have ever experienced in my life. Nothing will ever top this. This is what peak performance looks li- PFFFT okay it’s dumb. But it’s Mario dumb. And it’s Mario Party. Do you even NEED an excuse to play? NO. It’s here for the aforementioned fighting among friends.
It’s fine, whatever. It’s missing some of the essential noises that made other Mario Parties so jubilant. The win music just isn’t as engaging as it should be. Everything feels like it’s been toned down a bit. It’s just okay, it does what its sets out to do, but you can’t help but feel something is missing here. Just think about all the little jingles you’d hear from Mario Party 1-3. You remember them note for note, right? The same can’t be said here. The music is on cruise control. It’s there and it’s functional, but it could be better.
Mario party has had many iterations in varieties and how the the rules worked. At one point they thought it was a good idea to have all 4 players riding in a car together. But SMP fixes that by going back to basics. This is the version of the game you loved and admired as a kid and as a college freshman. That feel you got when you found an old N64 and controllers for everyone? You played it until the late hours of the morning with the people in your dorm? That feeling is back. You face off as your favorite character in 4 boards (which isn’t enough but is a good start). Every character has a new gimmick in the form of custom dice. Every turn, you can roll your standard D6 or you can roll a special die made for each individual character. For instance, Shy Guy’s custom dice options are 0, 4, 4, 4, 4, and 4. Fun! Bowser has a 10 space side on his dice but you could also move zero spaces and lose 3 coins. It’s a new and interesting twist to the game mechanics.
The game also adds the ally ability where you can call in other characters to assist you. Once you do that, you have the option to roll their custom dice as well as your own. Not only that but every ally you have will roll a D2 to add either 1 or 2 spaces to your roll. So if you have, say, three allies on the board with you, you could roll your dice. And your allies? All 3 of them roll their own D2 so you could get anywhere from 3-6 additional spaces. Either way, this is still the maddening, frustrating, fun game you know and love, with all new minigames and variations on your favorites to boot. If you miss the good ol’ days of Mario Party, this is absolutely the best time to jump back in.
It’s hard not to have fun when it comes to this game. Maybe if you played by yourself, you would have a bad time. It’s understandable that most games should be able to stand on their own merits for some single player action. But, if you’re really playing a PARTY game by yourself, what are you doing? You don’t even need friends to play it, just find some acquaintances to play. Or random people on the street. Or with your family (even if you Mom has absolutely no idea how controllers work and needs to be constantly instructed on what buttons to press. Damn it mom, the okay button is on the right, and the L+R buttons are on top! Why is this so hard, Mom?). No matter what you do, you are bound to have a blast. Even if some of the minigames are blatantly unfair.
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Big price tag for a small but fun game.
Mario Tennis Aces is a fantasy tennis game developed and published by Nintendo. It’s also pretty much the only tennis video game that anyone ever needs to buy. In it, you do many things ranging from playing tennis matches to other things. That, of course, is made all the better by being able to play this game as Mario and all his friends with a unique spin on the whole tennis experience. That’s not all though, you also do things like hitting targets or enemies in the campaign. You also fight some pretty big bosses. The real question has to be, is it worth the full $60 price tag? Let’s show you the goods:
They’re beautifully done, colorful and diverse for the maps. The characters have a lot of life in their models, outfit designs and moves. The bosses look as believable as real action games. It’s comparable to something between Mario 3D World and Mario Odyssey. As for visual effects, I really liked the bullet time feature. The characters are all uniformly designed with precision. The ship level stood out to me because the color of the ocean made a good contrast with the ship itself.
The story itself kinda sucks, but it isn’t terrible. An ancient people loved Tennis, had a magical powerful racket sealed. Wario and Waluigi find it and offer it to the Mario bros. Mario doesn’t want it but Luigi falls for it and is controlled by it. You have to collect some infinity sto- I mean power stones so that Luigi’s racket doesn’t get more powerful. I like that it does lead to a quest around an island to meet fun characters and an epic conclusion of you vs. possessed characters, but I don’t like the whole ancient power stuff. The difficulty is good, it was never too hard. You will never lose more than 2 times, and it starts easy and simple to get you used to the gameplay. What annoyed me was that there are a few really tricky stages, and I don’t mind losing a bunch of times, but I hate the forced loading times and forced unskippable character chats every time you lose. You can skip the campaign though, Tournament and Free play are available from the start.
The music is really good but there a so few songs, it can get very repetitive. The game already has a very short campaign and the OST feels shorter yet. Basically, everything was of excellent quality, the sound effects, menus, the character voices, the announcer, and the music itself. Maybe one thing that sounds not so great is the “clop” sound when you walk/run. That thing sounds like a 90s video game and not in a good way, but it doesn’t bother me. The music feels like there are 3 or 4 songs you end up hearing the most. This game costs $60. The OST doesn’t reward you for that. What you hear is really fitting of the game though, and get the mood to play a sports game, but 90% of it is forgettable. I doubt anyone’s gonna even be talking about the OST at all.
I never played Tennis in real life to tell you if it’s fake, but I think sports games that are true to life aren’t that interesting. For example, as a kid, I watched people play NBA Jam, and the ball would transform and be on fire! That kinda stuff is exciting and makes it more videogame-like. In Mario Tennis’ campaign mode, you immediately do things like playing Tennis against Donkey Kong but with Pirahna plants that will take the ball in their mouth and spit it back at you if you throw it their way. Really a fun and challenging twist! You also fight big bosses by returning their attacks back at them with the racket, kinda like Zelda OoT’s final boss. But the Tennis matches do have Tennis rules like the ball must bounce within the field lines, and you have to let the ball bounce once before the first return. Details like these make it feel real, but details like breaking an opponent’s racket made it really satisfying especially if he was difficult to beat by “normal” means.
Really enjoyable and addicting! Usually, when I start a game, I stop and wait for the mood to come. This game put me in the mood right away with its demo, bought it at launch, and played nonstop to the end. Part of this is because it’s Tennis, and I’m new to it, so it was a fresh new experience for me. I wasn’t tired at the end either, I was lamenting that it had ended. I want Nintendo to convince me to play more sports games this way but they better have more music, be longer, and have legit stories. Again we’re paying $60, the same as a fully fledged game like Mario Odyssey or an epic RPG. For example, a game like Mario Kart has no story at ALL. But it is really long with lots of race tracks, which are huge and full of details and have the most wonderful and memorable music. Mario Tennis has only a few maps, AND they’re just a 1 screen tennis field basically. So I guess the fun is up to you to have either by yourself or with friends. There’s nothing wrong with a short game if priced right.
But yeah this is like the first time I’d ever consider price into a rating. No other game, even Wind Waker or FF13, which are $60 games that I rated terribly, even those justify the price, it’s obvious that the effort and scope were big like those. But in Mario Tennis Aces I feel like, this is for rich people who pay lots for simpler things. That said, if you are a big fan of tennis and want to play online with 4 friends, it could be the best. That’s the fullest experience it will deliver.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: aces, luigi, mario, mario golf, mario sports, mario tennis, nintendo, nintendo switch, switch, tennis, waluigi, wario