Typically, one associates the onset of summer with the unflinching glare of the sun and the burgeoning of outdoor activities such as golf, volleyball, and, most relevant of all, tennis. For those with less athletic inclinations, the onset of the summer merely rings in an increased utility bill to help ventilate a habit of gaming, a hobby that will this season be bolstered by emulating a popular outdoor activity in the newly available Nintendo 3DS title Mario Tennis Open.
Everything that fans may recall from their past experience with the franchise remains true in this portable iteration; players will serve, lob, and volley across a variety of courts using Mario and his most famous counterparts, a list that includes Luigi, Donkey Kong, and new characters such as player created Miis, Luma, Baby Mario, and Dry Bowser, that can be unlocked in the game or through scanning special QR codes found here.
Mario Tennis Open incorporates a variety of single player and multiplayer options that provide the user with a multitude of chances to hit the court and, in doing so, earn coins to customize their Mii aesthetically and statistically. In both cases, each swing of the racket can be controlled either by the typical button method or with the Nintendo 3DS’s touch screen. Chance Shots will occasionally appear on the court to give players a chance to deliver a game-changing, high-powered shot sure to shift the balance of power in a heated contest.
Among the title’s offerings are the routine offerings of single-player tournaments and a selection of Special Games that take the action beyond the typical confines of the tennis court. One particular Special Game has players using precise swings to control the original Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System, a setup that converts lobs and drop shots into precise jumps onto the heads of Goombas and Koopas.
On the multiplayer front, Mario Tennis Open allows for up to four friends to compete in singles or doubles competitions. Other options exist that give individual players the opportunity to matched against a random opponent of similar skills, a contest that has implications on the game’s online leader board. Speaking to a more indirect form of battle, the Street Pass feature of the Nintendo 3DS opens up the door for the user to compete against computer-controlled Mii characters gathered off of chance encounters with owners of the platform carrying it on the go.
Mario Tennis Open is available now on the Nintendo 3DS for $39.99.