Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Preview

Back to the court.

This may sound unusual compared to some of the more prominent titles such as Super Mario Maker and StarFox, but when the Mushroom Kingdom takes to the court, it's all aces.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash sends Mario and co. back out to the tennis courts for a new round of aces, deuces, advantages, and games, sets, and matches. And it was the most enjoyable experience I had at my booth tour for Nintendo! The Wii U build was in an early state, so only Mario and Bowser were playable in the singles match I played with our demonstrator, but considering it's a Mario spin-off, expect usual suspects such as Luigi, Peach, Daisy, and possibly Donkey Kong and Yoshi, among others.

Controls were especially simple, as each button on the ABXY part of the controller was mapped to a specific shot, including a simple shot, lobs, and smashes. During the match, nearby Toads will throw out various power-ups to players, and picking them up on the run gives the tennis players special abilities. During my match, I picked up a Mega Mushroom, turning Mario into gigantic size, and making every shot harder and faster than before, which put me up 30-15.

It's a simple concept, and normally I would find tennis games boring. But into my second set, the demonstrator as Bowser and I as Mario got so into it that we had a good five-minute rally to the point that other people began to watch and cheer. That, my friends, is the start of a true and awesome experience.

My only concern, which I was not able to get an answer for from Nintendo, is if online play will be available. Representatives would not say if it would be available by launch; let's hope it comes in, or better yet, hope players have good friends and a competitive streak. This could be one of the brightest on the Wii U yet when it releases for the holiday season.