I came, I saw, and I got my butt kicked on the courts.
So hopefully you read RTLewis’s post about Mario Tennis Aces on Friday and used his tips to great effect on the tennis courts. Needless to say, my only real playtime with the game was on Friday night when it went live (I played 3 matches on Sunday, but then quit the game). As a completely green player to both tennis and Mario sports games (i.e. no experience whatsoever) [Mario Kart does not count], I looked forward to trying the demo out!
So here’s a few descriptors (because I did not have foresight to take screenshots) of the emotions I experienced during my brief time in the tournament.
When I first saw the Nintendo Direct trailer for Aces, I was excited at “Swing mode,” where you could swing the joy-con like a tennis racquet. I was hoping we could do the same in the demo.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. We only had the buttons and analog sticks to work with to perform the different tennis shots, so my enthusiasm took a small hit when I realized I would not be flailing the joy-con about (oh, I meant “swinging”).
But there was still a global tournament, with characters to unlock! So I buckled up, ran through the tutorials relatively quickly, and entered the tournament.
I definitely spent too little time in the tutorial, as when I hit the tennis courts, I was having trouble charging my shots and moving into the appropriate position to volley back.
As it turned out, you can’t bloody charge and move.
However, there’s more! It definitely felt that the controls were a bit stiff. Even when I saw the ball sailing toward the left side of my court (while I was on the right), I would try to run to the left but there was always a delay before my avatar would move (it was input lag, more on lag later). As well, when I tried to do trick shots using the right analog stick, I sometimes went in the wrong direction – guess the game picked up the wrong input.
Nevertheless, I started to figure things out on the go and adapted relatively quickly, sometimes winning and moving onto the second round.
Players in the second round were a lot harder than the first – not only was I getting paired up with people who had 200+ points (I had about 20 – 50), but they were creaming me! We would sometimes continue exchanging volleys back and forth, when suddenly my opponent would return the ball toward the other half of the court I wasn’t at!
As RTLewis points out, humans love patterns. So breaking patterns made for easy points. On me.
So obviously I learned how to curve my shots, as well as looked into the different types of shots (e.g. the lob versus drop shot). Had to go back to the tutorials for this but I managed to get a handle on it, which made it much easier to get past the first round more frequently (every time you get defeated, you get sent back to round 1…so in theory you can rack up many tournament wins).
I learned to stay relatively in the middle of my court, so that I could reach either side, depending on where the ball was going. Sometimes I would send the ball straight back at them, see if I could get a body shot (sometimes!), but most of the time I would hit it to where they weren’t, watch them scramble to return it (without a charged shot) and when they started to go back to where they thought I was going to return it?
Sometimes, my opponents and I were neck-and-neck with the wins. I would win the first set, then they would win the next, tying it up to 1-1. That meant I had to win the next two sets, which was not easy. Many other times, my opponent and I both reached 40 (points go 15-30-40-match point), so one of us had to get advantage, and then match point. It was tough…and nerve wracking.
The nerves did not help, as I would fumble my way around the court, watching my character dive to return a shot. Sometimes, when doing an aimed shot or special, my nerves got to my hands and I would tremble as I tried to properly aim where to shoot it.
You know, I actually made it to semi-finals? I was very excited, and my opponent was a Rosalina (Rosalina!). It was intense! I never saw Rosalina prior to this, just Mario/Toadstool/Yoshi/Bowser/Waluigi, so it was pretty exciting!
My semi-final match was plagued by lag. I had a lot of stuttering, my inputs were delayed, and it was practically unplayable.
Only for me though.
The Rosalina player kept returning my balls to the other side of my court, so I was always playing catch up. Even when I was serving, he kept aiming for my far corners, so I just kept trying to go to them to return the ball, but could only do so without a proper charge. Sometimes, when I was in the back court, my opponent would do a drop-shot, so the ball sailed over the net….and then fell shortly after, hitting the ground twice and making me lose.
Sometimes I won though, and winning felt good. Whether it was a 2-0 or a 3-1, beating my opponent was exhilarating. I did not, I repeat, I did not run around on the court after scoring all the time.....just some of the time.
Nah, the game isn’t for me. It’s fun though, and if they fix up the lag issues then I can see it being a big hit. At the end of the day, it just isn’t up my alley, so I’ll be taking a pass at it.
Did you play the demo? Did you enjoy it? How many tournament wins did you rack up, if any?