VC Weekly 298
Posted 05 Jul 2014 at 17:40 by Sam C Gittins
Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins
It's the Summer season and Nintendo has been very generous with the sports sims recently, Wimbledon is still very much in play so it seems this release is rather topical. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!
Available for download this week we have...
Mario Power Tennis
Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Camelot are clearly undisputed kings of creation when it comes to making Mario sports titles - plus RPG's for that matter - because not only do they always deliver on the home console versions but they also serve up a tasty portable variant too which is the case for Mario Power Tennis on the GBA which has a lot to offer even today. With the GC versipn putting you straight onto the court, here you are more focused on 'being' the tennis player as you assume your role completely seeing how it all plays out; initially there is quite a bit of dialogue but then what would you expect from a game that reuses the brilliant Golden Sun engine?
This isn't to say that this is an RPG though even if it is a rather clever way to disquise things making it feel so much more than just 'another Tennis title' which this certainly is not, so you'll be advancing through areas as you discover more challenges for you to overcome and after partaking in these you will earn experience points which you can assign to your characters attrbiutes further making them your own. It's certainly a fantastic way to experience the game of Tennis but it might frustrate those who just want to get right into the action, though I would simply say if that's all there is to it for you then there are plenty of other more simplistic examples within the same genre available; alternatively you could play the console counterpart which would more than satisfy your gaming needs.
For those who want the full experience offered though then prepare to be indulged for there is a lot of variety to be enjoyed here, the actual Tennis is nothing short of spectacular as you'll experience on-court battles against some really finely balanced opponents who you'll no doubt relish in attempting to beat; the only drawback perhaps is that you will initially start off playing doubles match which might be annoying for those of you who are more than confident in your skills as an A.I partner can be seen as something of an unwanted crutch but once you get into the heat of the action it's all nothing short of spectacular with the various combinations of the A/B buttons suting your every need though you might want to turn the slightly ridiculous 'power moves' off if you're a purist. You also get a whole host of mini-games to partake in as you work your way through, these are designed to improve your skills but they are prety fun so it's a blessing that you can play them again seperately once you've unlocked them.
Top levels of animation were clearly employed here in addition to every ounce of power from the GBA hardware being used to create some of the most detailed depictions of Tennis ever seen on a handheld games console, for its time this was nothing short of mesmerising, still looking pretty nicely detailed even today either on the Gamepad or on the TV screen with smoothing saving the day once again. Sounding somewhat familiar in the audio department with remixes of Mario Tennis plus Golden Sun type background music, this doesn't matter as it all hits the mark every time along with some rather substantial sound effects to keep you utterly absorbed in the action.
Naturally if you love both Tennis titles and RPG's then this comes very highly recommended indeed as you're unlikley to ever see such a fine fusion of the two genres than that of what has been finely dsiplayed here in all of its glory, I think that even Tennis purists will find it hard to put down but even so, you can't please them all so if you really like your game of ball and racquet left pure then you might as well pass up on this even though it really shouldn't be allowed. Easily one of the most complete portable Tennis experiences that I've ever had the pleasure of playing, it's that simple... thankfully this now has a chance to meet many more potential players die to the Wii U along with Miiverse integration, this will keep you occupied for a long while.
Verdict : Game, Set & Match to Mario Power Tennis, may it never be bettered!
That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!