E3 2015 Preview: Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
When I was 15 years old I wagged school for a solid two weeks with a bunch of mates. We’d rock up in the morning, wait for the first bell and then all scurry away before the teachers noticed. We’d make the walk back to my house in the back streets — to avoid any watchful eyes — and make sure my Mum had left for work. Then we’d sneak inside.
The reason; Mario Tennis on N64. Man, that game ruled.
When I heard a 3DS version was being released I was ecstatic, however that game, unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations. The essence of Mario Tennis was intact, but all the bells, whistles and flashy new features had turned it into a different game. So it is with terrific relish that I can report that so far Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for Wii U looks set to be a worthy successor.
All that was available at E3 was a singles match between Mario and Bowser. And that was more than enough. Ultra Smash does away with motion controls and it does away with GamePad gimmickry. It’s Mario Tennis on steroids. Some of the flashiness of the 3DS version remains — like being able to become a giant — but on the whole, it feels pared down compared to what we saw on the handheld. The same tried and tested gameplay remains. By hitting various combinations of A, B, X and Y Mario and Bowser are able to perform a variety of different shots. On occasion, an icon will appear on the court and if you’re able to get your character into position and hit the correct shot you’ll perform and almost unstoppable super shot.
It’s a little difficult to tell just how faithful to the N64 version, or how much has been changed due to only being able to play one mode and one match with the two same characters, but it really feels like Mario Tennis. Being that it’s being developed by Camelot Software, it’s a good sign that things will respect what’s come before, but only time will tell.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will be available for Wii U in December.