The Smash hit tennis game that doesn’t lob any victories your way.
The new Mario Tennis Aces game has undoubtedly been a success after its recent launch. Aces is built in the same vein as their other aspiring competitive games Arms and Splatoon, where the story is meant as an introduction to the game mechanics. Meaning that the actual competitive game has to be excellent.
A good measuring stick to use is how well they stay popular after the game releases. Splatoon launched really well and has garnered enough praise to get a recent sequel in Splatoon 2. Arms, however, has started to fade away as time has gone on, not exactly gripping the audience the way other competitive games have. The lasting impression a game makes is the key as to whether or not it will make it as an Esport as Nintendo has admitted to attempting here with the game.
The initial reaction was that this is the next big Esport, with people saying that it is more of a fighting game than a regular sports game. Which may actually ring pretty true to a lot of people. The singles matches in mario tennis almost feel like a duel in themselves, adding heingtened, unrealistic aspects to the game that make this iteration stand out from the other niche sports game in the genre.
I am talking, of course, about the K.O. system and losing rackets, deciding whether or not it is a good idea to hit a person, send it out wide, or set up for a different shot. This mechanic adds a new layer to the base game of tennis and really amps up the excitement in new ways that real sports cannot achieve. It is very much like Rocket League, in the fact that it is just a different way to play socccer. Mario Tennis Aces captures this same spirit and applies it to Tennis, making it almost more interesting to watch than tennis at times.
Nintendo stated at E3 that they intend to treat this game as the company’s next big Esport craze. It is in a fairly strong spot to give it an honest shot too. It has the rest of the year to garner a dedicated fanbase that will continue to follow the game after the lainch of Smash Brothers. If it gets forgotten about by then, then no harm. Mario Tennis can just go back to being a party game with friends. But if it succeeds, look for more games of this type to be coming back.
Mario Strikers hasn’t been seen since the early Wii days at the absolute latest, and Mario Golf had a very successful recent outing on the 3DS, these are both titles that are ripe for the competitive treatment. If this game goes well we could see a major influx of games skewed away form party/family games and more of a push towards competitive balancing. This could be a lot of fun and seems like a fresh change from a notoriously family-friendly company. Nintendo is embracing this new competitive world that we live in, and they can (and should) totally start their own competitive series. But that is a topic for a different day.