Mario Tennis Aces review: Turning tennis into a fighting game

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Batting a ball back and forth is one of the oldest concepts in video games, dating back to the days of William Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two oscilloscope experiments in the ‘50s. In the decades since, countless games have refined the idea of what virtual tennis can be, from as-faithful-as-possible recreations of the real sport to ultra-accessible, over-the-top arcade-inspired battles of reflex and positioning.Like previous Mario Tennis games, Mario Tennis Aces sits far on the side of the over-the-top accessibility side of the equation. Simple controls and an ultra-forgiving hit positioning system make it easy enough for even complete gaming neophytes to get into a quick game. But Aces also adds a bit more depth to the series, introducing a new power meter system that adds a new layer of psychological brinksmanship to the proceedings.
At its most heated moments, Aces starts to resemble a fighting game more than a tennis game, and it’s all the better for it—especially when you’re playing against another human.

The best defense...​

The basics here will be familiar to anyone who has played a Mario Tennis game before. As the ball comes over the net, you run to where it’s going to land, hit a button to prepare your shot and use the analog stick to aim that shot to one side of the court or the other. The opponent does the same in a battle of relative positioning that ends when someone fails to return the ball.

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