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There hasn't been that much hype for the upcoming Mario Tennis Aces. Usually, Nin/tendo markets the living hell out of its big name titles, but this is just coming out in the Summer with little fanfare. That could be either a good or bad thing; Nintendo could know it has a dud on its hands and is washing itself of the whole mess, or it's trying to surprise everyone with a must own title that will live on word of mouth. After playing this weekend's online tournament demo, I'm not quite sure where I stand.
I'll talk about the things I like since there actually is quite a bit of neat stuff going on. I love that the basic controls are a little more complex than usual. In Mario Power Tennis, you just had Light and Strong serves along with your power swing, once you built up enough energy. It was definitely appropriate for the kind of game Mario Tennis typically is, but adding a little more depth just makes for a game with more options. In Aces, you now have Light, Strong and Flat swings along with a dedicated button for doing lobs and drop shots. There are even a trick shots and a super attack, which is where the game starts to become a bit too involved.
Mario Tennis Aces plays a bit like a fighting game, which is not quite what I expected. You're managing a lot of different factors for building a meter that will eventually allow you to unleash a power strike on your opponent. Your opponent can attempt to block this serve, but if they screw up, they'll lose a racket and get one step closer to being KO'ed. Along with that, you even have a health meter for your racket that can be depleted with stronger serves, which starts adding all these different layers on top of what used to be a very simple, arcade-y tennis game.