Mario Tennis Open is the third game in the mighty moustache’s tennis series. He’s had a failed endeavour or two at everything from soccer to baseball, but these jaunts didn’t work out so well. (“Mamma Mia! You can see my sweaty man-parts in these shorts! Screw it. Tennis is much more suitable for playing in my shit-encrusted plumbing pants.” This doesn’t make even the slightest semblance of sense, but you don’t question the logical fallacies of a guy with Tom Selleck’s facial hair. Magnum-man is all kinds of badass, several of which scientists hadn’t even discovered yet. They were simply found on him. His funky little turning slowly to camera and doing that eyebrow thing in a flowery shirt in the Magnum P.I intro is sufficiently cool to freeze the nutsack of some kind of monstrous fire-whale. You may think a fiery beast would have little business living in the goddamn sea. But, hell, I once saw a dog with such humongous genitals they were practically dragging on the pavement. If huge-coconut-testicled-dog is any indication, anything’s possible.) It seems to be the sport the big man has had the most success with over his illustrious career, as evidenced by his recent return to the courts on Nintendo’s 3DS.
Open will hardly prove a revelation for series veterans. There is the usual exhibition mode, allowing you to tailor a single match against the CPU to your liking. (There’s nary an inkling of exhibitionist mode, alas. The police weren’t impressed by my 'dyslexia-induced mistake' ploy when they found me striding with carefree abandon along a busy street, balls waving freely in the wind. They don’t take kindly to impromptu nut-displays in my town centre, the damn prudes. Still, my mother was most proud when she saw my fleeting appearance on the news. I believe it was recorded, and passed around my grandparents’ nursing home on one occasion. It behooves me to bring some glory to the family name, after all). Singles, doubles, tournaments and all such required shenanigans are here, and you play with either touch screen commands or buttons. Only the MUCHO POWERFUL MAN-BUTTONS of the 3DS will do for me, but whichever takes your fancy. The whole rigmarole of lobs, drop shots, topspin and other such tedious tennis terms are present and correct. All in all, the game almost sounds like a conventional sports sim. Then, naturellement, we remember that Mario, in his eternal delusions of grandeur, has scrawled his name across the game’s box. As such, Open is force-fed a hefty dose from Nintendo’s ubiquitous bucket of crazy. (Much like those ghastly medical concoctions that were unleashed upon us all as children.
“It’s just cough medicine. It doesn’t taste that bad. Really.”
I begrudgingly take a microscopic sip from the spoon.
“WHY WOULD YOU DECEIVE ME IN THIS MANNER, DADDY? WHY? IT TASTES LIKE SOME MALEVOLENT OSTRICH HAS LAID A MASSIVE EGG OF SHIT IN MY ACTUAL MOUTH. ALSO, IF I MAY ADD, I SURE HOPE BALDNESS ISN’T HEREDITARY. ALTHOUGH IT PROBABLY IS, WHEN I SEE YOU AND MY UNCLES SITTING TOGETHER AT FAMILY GATHERINGS YOU OLD BASTARDS LOOK LIKE A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF A PACK OF A DOZEN EGGS.”
I then noted how much shouting I had done just there, and needed something for my throat as well. Which tasted worse.
This was before Mary Poppins added a spoonful of sugar to everything, of course.)
You select a player from the peculiar menagerie of Mushroom Kingdom residents, each with slightly different abilities. Speedy characters sacrifice shot power for enhanced mobility, while the opposite is true for the perennial fatasses like Bowser and Wario. Further, there are those that have greater reach, more irritating curvy shots, or all-rounders. Suffice it to say, there will be a fit for your playstyle among these loons. In addition, the entire aesthetic, from the options menu to the courts themselves, is utterly saturated in the company’s quintessential primary-coloured man-milk (there’s a hideous image for your delectation). Developer Camelot has imbued the title with such a ghastly range of hues it resembles Boy George’s bedroom. (Probably, I hasten to add.) The ludicrous power shots are missing from this iteration (you’ll no longer see Yoshi firing a resplendent rainbow of pure injury at someone’s delicate groin area, for instance), replaced by the rather more expedient chance shots. These are essentially glowing areas on the play surface, allowing for a more powerful version of the appropriate shot. The Machiavellian fake-out shenanigans these inspire are quite extraordinary. The trademark family-friendly insanity is out in full force here, yet Mario Tennis Open has a true competitive player’s edge too.
Which is quite a feat when you consider the range of minigames, which see you, amongst other things, playing space-tennis with a tiny man-star-thing; whilst elements of the court vanish into the tenebrous depths of some interplanetary Sodom. Take a look at the balls-out oddity that is Super Mario Tennis, and more, right here:
While there’s no RPG mode this time, and the content looks a little stunted overall, there’s a lot to enjoy here. A huge selection of 200 or so items await, with which to customise your Mii and his or her resultant stats. This is my favourite aspect of the game, as it will be for many players who enjoy the compulsive collecting factor. It looks and sounds great as well, with presentation on a par with Mario Kart 7, the system's technicolour tour de force. There’s a tentative-yet-functional online option, as is Nintendo’s wont. Most pertinently, though, the core tennis is perhaps the best Camelot has produced so far. With the addition of chance shots, Open offers a fantastic balance of accessibility and strategy, and a relentlessly addictive and enjoyable experience.
Wave your balls around (if you want, I shan’t judge your deviant ways) with the trailer for the game, right here:
Article by Chris Littlechild
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