New Play Control: Mario Power Tennis
Wimbledon, this is not.
Posted 4 years ago By - Zach R.
Initially, when you boot up New Play Control Mario Power Tennis, you’re unquestionably getting the same game that was available on the Gamecube. The opening cinematic, the load screens, and the interface are almost entirely the same. I say almost because there is one sole difference that separates the non-gameplay elements from the Gamecube version. The big difference? The menus are now IR-friendly, which is pretty standard for any Wii game, nowadays. Everything here is functional, cute-sy, and entirely what you’d expect to find in a Mario Sports game. Unfortunately, that’s it for improvements here.
As the title suggests, however, once you start the actual gameplay, you’ve got a whole new experience waiting for you. I’ll admit to being a little skeptical about Nintendo’s decision to repackage titles that are 5 years old. It just didn’t seem like a necessity. That said, I’m more than pleasantly surprised by the controls here. There are two different control options to play with here: the Wii Sports-like Wii-mote only controls, or the nunchuk/Wii-remote combo. For the most part, both work exactly as they should.
Using the Wii-mote only method is almost exactly like the Wii Sports Tennis game. You don’t need to worry about your character’s position, so long as you time your swing well enough. It’s as simple as that. You have the option to use power-ups, which you can choose to activate automatically in the options menu, or you can go full on manual, which really only requires you to push a button. Hardly taxing, but if you happen to have a non-gaming relative, or a young gamer in your family, this is a great option for them. The one downfall to this control scheme, is that you have have very little control over your shot. It’s a little too difficult to time your shots perfectly to effectively hit the ball cross-court, rather than straight at your opponent. This can make strategizing your shots a lot more difficult. Thankfully, the AI doesn’t mercilessly pummel you with the fact that you’re at a control handicap, which could have been a gamebreaker. Thankfully, the game feels balanced, with respect to that.
If you’re looking for a bit more control, you can plug in the nunchuck to guide your characters across the court. This means you can decide where your character should be standing when the ball comes to them. So what, right? Well, if you’ve got a character with a great backhand, you’re going to want to position them just right, in order to maximize that benefit. Timing your swing in conjunction with your position will help you guide the ball more effectively, something the automatic function of using the Wii-mote only can’t duplicate. That said, the control still isn’t perfect. The problem here is that the game really needs an analog-aiming system in place. If you’re given the option to use the nunchuk, which has an analog stick on it, then it should be a no-brainer that we can aim our shots with it, right? Yes, I know that it takes away from the realistic feel of playing a game of tennis, but I’m going out on a limb and saying that if you’re playing on a tennis court covered in goo against a pint-sized dinosaur and a giant pirhanna plant, realism is pretty much right out the window.
Alright, so the controls are good, not great. So what about the modes? If you’ve played any of the Mario sports games, you’ll know that they offer a wealth of mini-game modes, and some of the best multiplayer experiences available on a Nintendo console. No one does it like them. The odd yet engaging games on offer here are exactly the right type of crazy for the job. With a couple of friends on hand, you can play through tournaments, battle it out in games that have you painting pictures with coloured tennis balls, and of course, games that have you snatching coins Mario-style. These can all be played through in single player, and that’s great for a rainy day, but it’s the multiplayer aspect that really makes this title worth the price of admission.
Graphics & Sound
For a 5 year old game, Mario Power Tennis still looks pretty slick. There have been no improvements made here from the original, and while that’s disappointing, the graphics still hold up fairly well, even against some game that are specifically designed for the Wii. The courts, characters and menus are all suitably colourful and full of life. Essentially, this looks exactly as you remember it looking on the Gamecube. Enough said.
Sound-wise, you’re not getting anything new either. The characters are of the typical Mario style, so they’ve all got exaggerated, overly cute voices. The music is bright and bubbly, but if that’s not your thing, you may want to keep your stereo on hand, as it can be a bit too repetitive.
Unfortunately, if you already own the Gamecube version of Mario Power Tennis, I can’t tell you that it’s worth buying the Wii version, as it adds nothing but a new control option to the game. If you don’t already own the game however, for 30 dollars, this is a very solid buy. It lacks the tighter controls of the Gamecube version, true, but the new controls are a reasonably good alternative. If you’ve got a couple of friends over and have played Wii Sports to death, or are just looking for some off-the-wall multiplayer, you certainly can’t go wrong here.
For anyone who already owns the Gamecube version of Mario Power Tennis, there isn’t anything new here to justify another purchase unless you’re really looking for an alternate control scheme. That said, newcomers to the series are getting a great game for a fantastic price. Game, set, and match: Nintendo.
+ Controls work fairly well.
+ Price tag is nice.
+ Excellent multiplayer.
- Minor gripes with ball control.
- Sound can be a bit overwhelming cutesy.
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Release Date : 2009/03/15
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : Nintendo
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10