Mario Tennis Aces is your typically fun Nintendo title set within the Super Mario universe, it’s also a game that caters quite well for those that want to pick up the game for a chilling time, while having enough skill based gameplay aspects to satisfying those that want something a little more challenging.

Mario Tennis Aces gives you four modes to play, Adventure, Tournament, Free Play and Swing Mode (for use of the Joy-Cons).  The Adventure see’s Waluigi and Wario up to their old tricks after being possessed by an evil tennis racket and it’s up to Mario and co to save the day once more.  It’s a very quirky storyline, but hey, it’s a Mario game after all.  The Adventure mode comprises of an assortment of matches, some with mini-game-like stipulations as you navigate your way through its world.  From time-to-time you will be required to win a straight-up match, but most of the time you’ll have to beat various challenges and encounter hazards such as having Piranha Plant’s in the middle of the court and much more.  It certainly helps keep matches feeling fresh and challenging.  As you finish each area of the game, you’ll then encounter a boss battle which will often require you to take all that you’ve learned to bring them down.

As you playthrough the Adventure mode, you’ll also level-up Mario, as well as the tennis racket that he is currently using.  It’s nothing in-depth, but it adds an extra layer of life to the game as you may find yourself having to back-track in the world to grind out a few matches in order to pass a section of the game that you might be stuck on.  Thankfully you won’t be required to grind out a whole lot, just perhaps now and again.  In saying that, it’s a shame that the game doesn’t feature customisation features as you level-up, change Mario’s outfits or even have a loadout-like feature so that you can swap and change some of Mario’s abilities to switch up tactics against some of the more challenging moments on a match to match basis on the fly.

Speaking of abilities, Mario will have a few up his sleeve.  Perhaps the more commonly used special ability will be the Zone Shot.  Here you must first have your player located within a glowing star on your side of the court and if timed correctly, you will unleash a powerful and speedy shot in your opponent’s side of the court earning you a point.  Unless your opponent is able to perfectly time a Block Shot, their racket will take damage and if that happens to often, their racket will break and the match will be forfeited.   Then there is the slow-motion shot called Zone Speed, which does pretty much what it says on the tin.  Here you will slow down time in order to hit the ball back with a little more ease, which is particularly handy when encountering a Zone Shot.  Both of these shots will deplete your in-match energy gauge, so use them wisely.

Then there’s the Trick Shot.  Now the Trick Shots can be very tricky (no pun intended) to perform, especially during a heated rally.  However, if you are successful at performing one, not only will your energy gauge receive a big boost, but your opponent will be in a world of trouble.  Trick Shots must be used wisely, because if you miss, you will lose a point, not to mention wasting some of your energy gauge.  Trick Shots are perhaps best utilised if you appear to be too far away from the ball, as you can cover more distance more quickly when activated.  Finally we have the Special Shot, which can only performed when your gauge is full and when activated, you’re pretty much guaranteed to win yourself a point.

Being a Nintendo Switch, obviously you can use your Joy-Cons and Swing Mode is your place to go for this.  I did have a go, but I sucked.  However, perhaps with a lot of practice, this could be the most effective way to play for the game.  If you really want to make the most out of using the Joy-Cons in Mario Tennis Aces, then there are some handy accessories out there which replicate using a tennis racket quite well, all things considered.  In Free Play you can have some matches either online or locally for up-to four players.  Tournament Mode allows you to play tournaments online and offline.  By playing online, you will unlock additional players on a monthly basis.  While this mode is fun to play online, I did find that players online connections were very unreliable and lag caused the matches to be unplayable on occasion.  Sadly for offline tournaments, these can only be played against the computer for some reason and not against other players, but hopefully an update might change that in future.

Despite pretty much owning every Nintendo console at some point in my life, the Mario Tennis series is one that’s somehow eluded me over the years and after being introduced into the series with Mario Tennis Aces for the Nintendo Switch, I only wish I’d got into it sooner.  While it’s not going to offer you too much from a technical standpoint, perhaps compared to more serious tennis games out there, Mario Tennis Aces doesn’t even attempt to compete with such games as its stands firmly on its own.  It’s everything that you’d expect from a Nintendo game, its family friendly, caters for a variety of skill-levels and ages, looks visually gorgeous and above all else, it’s fun.  Many of us are bound to catch Wimbledon fever this summer, so if you want a fun, pick-up and play tennis game, whether to play on your own or with friends, Mario Tennis Aces is the go-to tennis game this summer and beyond.