Hi, everyone. It’s me, Rie Kanari, N Masters Official Representative. ^_^
So Link-NM told me I could post and share this with all of you who are now trying Mario Tennis Aces through its Online Tournament Demo, specially since a lot of you seem to be new to the franchise.
So umm… first of all, you do need to learn the basics of tennis to get started. But this is really simple to learn and its all inside the game, actually.
I think the most complex rules and ones that some people may not much about are in the “Where to Serve” and “Double Sideline”, specially this second one. It’s not available in the demo but in doubles, the area of play is bigger. Getting an out is possible in both modes, but it’s also possible to save a rival from getting one, so be careful. What I mean is that your opponent could have sent a ball to a location out of the play area and if you return the ball before it bounces, you would have missed out on getting a free point.
Ok, so with that clear, let’s get to the real fun part, the part of Mario Tennis Aces.
To understand well how it plays, we need to start from the most basic Mario Tennis gameplay. So that means going back to the one that started it all, Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64. (Mario’s Tennis on Virtual Boy was different and not by developed by the same people)
First, please look at its controller.
As you can see, there’s not many big or main buttons to use. It only had B and A as the C were more like secondary or camera buttons usually. Please also note the way the B and A buttons are set up, one being slightly above the other.
Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64 had its controls based around this controller and it actually hasn’t changed since then. B and A were the only buttons used to keep the game as simple as possible but complex at the same time once you know how to play.
To hit a Top Spin, you used the A button. To hit a Slice, you hit the B button. I’m sure you can notice that this is the same thing in the latest game. But if you only had those two buttons and they were already used, you may be wondering how were Lobs, Drop Shots, and Flat Shots done. It’s actually quite simple and intuitive.
For Lob shots, these are balls that go really high and bounce on the edge of the opponent’s court, you had to press A and then B. For Drop Shots, balls that are really weak to just barely cross to the other side of the net, you had to press B and then A.
Now please look at the picture of the controller again. Notice something in the position of the buttons? For high balls, you needed to press A and then B, that means going up on the controller. For drop shots, which aren’t really high and low on power, you had to press B and then A. That means moving down your thumb on the controller. And this is how you can easily memorize the controls to do this move. Moving up = Lob. Moving down = Drop Shot . Easy! ^_^
But you are wondering, why do these controls matter since these are for Mario Tennis and not Mario Tennis Aces, right? Well, that’s where we get to the sweetest part. Every single Mario Tennis game after the original 64 one has the same controls! Yes, even Mario Tennis Aces has this!
So, even if the position of the buttons is not the same, you can still just press A and then B for a Lob shot. You can even memorize in a different way: alphabetical. 😉 Going up the alphabet = Lob . Going down the alphabet = Drop Shot.
But maybe now you’re wondering why should you play like this instead of the way the game teaches you, using the new X button and the Control Stick combo? Well, because using the original controls, you don’t have to worry about which direction you are holding on the stick and you will have more control over where your character is moving and where you want to send the ball to (which is one of the most important parts of the game). Also, I’ve read comments about people getting the new Trick Shots activating unintentionally since they share the same button. So by doing Lobs and Drop Shots the classic way, you never have to worry about this happening. ^_^
So now, how were Flat Shots done back then? By pressing A and B at the same time. Sadly, this has been completely removed now. I think the last time it was available was in Mario Power Tennis for Nintendo GameCube. Fortunately, it has it’s own dedicated button now, Y, so there are no issues with mixing it up with other shots.
And just to make this quick guide a bit more complete, before Mario Tennis Aces, the X button was actually used for the Simple Shots, which were balls that had nothing special as the name says. It was more like… umm… like the magical button that if you press it, you can solve any situation without having to learn how to play but at the same time couldn’t really do anything special or strong.
Back on the five basic type of shots and how to do and use them, these are actually the only usable moves in the original Mario Tennis and what is going to be available on the Simple Mode. This will be a great way to practice your basic Tennis strategy which is what matters the most. What you always want to do is to place the ball in the most awkward position so that your rival has a hard time getting to it and returning it properly. You need to notice the position of your opponent and choose a location accordingly. This also isn’t simply noticing if he or she is to the right or the left of the court, but also about how close to the net they are or how far.
The basic strategy goes like this:
- Opponent on the center? Move them to either side. Use either a Slice or Top Spin depending on the opponent sent you and whether you want less power but more curve or more power but less curve.
- Opponent close to the net? Give them a Lob. Make them go back and have a hard time returning the ball. Also, remember to direct the shot to either the left or right side. And remember, to Lob, go higher with A to B.
- Opponent far from the net? Give them a Drop Shot. Make them panic when they see the ball isn’t going to go where they are. To go low, go backwards, from B to A. 😉
- Remember to Smash it from time to time with the Y button. Flat shots are great for making even more powerful but really straight shots. Hit them right and they can go in really tight angles or simply be really fast for your rival to react on time. Usually, it’s best to send this type of shots to the opposite side of your opponent but maybe… once in a while, you can be sneaky and send it straight at them and hope for a Body Shot, specially if you know your Flat Shot will be really powerful (that you charged it a lot, specially on the star point) and if you notice them too close to the net.
- Try pressing the B, A, or Y twice as much as you can every time it’s your turn to hit the ball. This makes your shots more powerful and much faster. The side effect is that your shots’ direction will be more controlled, which means they will be slightly more centered but very unlikely that you’ll get an out.
- When you can, don’t wait for the ball to get to you before you start your return. Hit the button earlier so that you can charge your shot and return something even more powerful.
- Sometimes, though, you may mess it up and start charging in the wrong location. Are you done? Nope. ^_^ Simply press the L button once to cancel your charge as quick as possible so that you can fix the positioning mistake you had.
Without going into the new mechanics like Zone Shots, these are some basic pointers that you can follow and can help you a lot already.
As you can already notice, a lot of these tips are related to positioning. This is the most important thing you need to learn, knowing where to position yourself and controlling your rival’s position. With more advanced opponents, this actually is not as simple as it looks. This is where the mind games start. For example, you may think that throwing a ball to the opposite side is the best option, but maybe that’s already what your rival is predicting. So from time to time, it’s best to switch it up a bit and throw it to the side they were at, preferably with a fast shot. If you’re lucky, they will be caught off guard and you can usually get a point.
Continuing with the basics, let’s talk now about the character types.
There are six character types, they all have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are already listed in the game’s help but here is a deeper description to all of them.
- Power: These are characters that can hit really strong and fast shots. Their charge shots can be really really powerful. Their disadvantage, though, it’s that they are slow.
- Speed: Speed characters can move really quick around the court. Their disadvantage is that their shots aren’t that powerful and they don’t have much reach.
- Technical: Like the name says, these characters have great technique. What this means is that they can position their shots really well. Their downside is that their shots aren’t that powerful and they can be slightly slower than average.
- Tricky: Tricky characters can curve their balls a lot, so they will specially use Slices. Their Top Spins also have more noticeable curves. The downside to them is slightly lower power.
- Defense: These characters have great reach. You can identify them easily because of their longer body, like Waluigi. Their weakness is that they are usually not very fast.
- All-Around: These are balanced in every stat. They have no clear advantages or disadvantages.
So which character should you use? That’s for you to decide. Every character is good and each has their own strengths. In my opinion, you should first try simply using the character you like the most and adapt to its type, specially if it’s the first time you are playing a game in the series.
Now let’s talk about the final basic thing you need to learn, the court types. Every court has two characteristics and they are different on each court. These characteristics are Speed and Bounce. In the Online Tournament Demo, the only court available seems to be the Hard Court which is supposed to be the most balanced one. It has Normal Bounce and Normal Speed. In the full game, you’ll have several other courts. A great example of these unique characteristics is the Sand Court which has really low Bounce and really low Speed. Drop Shots can be really deadly here when used properly. It’s really helpful to learn how each court works and use them to your advantage.
With all the basics now taken care of, let’s talk now about the new features in Aces.
The new moves in this game are the Trick Shot, the Zone Shot, the Zone Speed, and the Special Shot. All of these moves can help a low skilled player catch up with higher level skilled one, so they can seem broken or cheap. The reality is that, while it is true that they can help lower level players, you can use them too and you should. And you should also be prepared for them as well so that you know how to counter them in the best way possible.
- Zone Shot: To use this you need to have your energy filled to at least yellow. Simply then press R while you are on a star point. Alternatively, you can press it when you are going to serve to use a Zone Shot right from the start. When you use this, try to not waste much time while aiming as that consumes even more energy. Try getting used to motion controls since they are a lot more quick. Also, a quick Zone Shot can easily catch your opponent off-guard.
When you are receiving it, you need to consider if you really need to block it or simply let it pass if you have a big point advantage over your rival. Your racket is a lot more worth it. If you want to block it, get ready to use your Zone Speed.
- Zone Speed: You can use your Zone Speed at any point that you have any energy. To use it, simply hold the R button. Zone Speed is only recommended when you really can’t reach a ball in any other way due to bad positioning or mostly recommended when you really need to block a Zone Shot or Special Shot.
- Special Shot: This is simply a more powerful version of the Zone Shot. To use it, simply press the L button when you have a full energy charge. If this shot isn’t blocked well, it will instantly break your racket. The only other way to counter it is by using your own Special Shot. If you really need to block it, I really recommend to use Zone Speed. If there’s no real need to block it, then just let it pass and give your rival a free point. Like I said before, your racket is a lot more worth it.
- Trick Shot: This is the hardest of the new features. The Trick Shot is the ultimate defensive move. I recommend it only as your last resort move until you’ve really practiced it well. The timing can be really tight. If you can master it, though, you will be almost invincible as you’ll be able to build up your energy quite easily and not have any drawbacks when returning any ball.
With the new features covered already, let’s now talk about countering Charged Shots of the five basic shots.
Every shot has a counter that can be used so that your return has greater strength and you don’t lose form. Making your opponent lose form is what you want so that you can create a bigger opening. When you lose form, you temporarily lose control of your character for like one second, but this is one second that is quite valuable. Losing form can happen by returning a Charge Shot with the wrong counter or when you have bad positioning when returning a ball.
Thankfully, the counters for each shot are easy to learn. ^_^
- Flat Shot = Flat Shot
- Slice = Top Spin
- Top Spin = Slice
Lob and Drop Shot don’t have specific counters but there’s still some logical recommendations to each of them, specially for Lobs.
Knowing that Lob balls are high, if you can easily reach the place where the ball will fall, counter it with a fully charged Flat Shot. Otherwise, try using a Slice.
For Drop Shots, the recommended counter is Top Spin. Slice is also possible but a Top Spin will give it more power and height.
I think this pretty much covers everything related to how to play Mario Tennis Aces and overall any Mario Tennis game. So umm… here’s also one tip that are specifically about when playing online. When you search for an opponent, please be careful and take a look at the connection rating. Three bars and above is fine but four is the preferable rating. Playing with lag is simply the worst, though, so I would advice you to not even try it. You can see below how I did in my first tourney in which I reached the final.
*sigh*.. Sadly, I lost there. But don’t worry, I did win the second tourney I went into. ^_^
You can also keep practicing against the CPU until you feel comfortable with the game. The CPU seems to actually be set the easiest level so if you have trouble with it, you shouldn’t go online yet. Once you feel the CPU is really but really really easy to beat, then you will be ok and better prepared when going online.
So umm… one more final comment would be that if you want to keep practicing the game before it’s released but after the demo time ends, I would suggest trying out Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash or playing Tennis in Mario Sports Superstars. Both games have pretty much the same gameplay feel, specially Ultra Smash. In Ultra Smash, you can choose Classic Tennis to play either Standard Mode or Simple Mode. Neither of them has Mega Mushrooms to worry about. Tennis in Mario Sports Superstars also has both Standard and Simple modes available. You could also use the original Mario Tennis to practice but please remember that that would be like practicing Simple Mode only.
I guess this is it for the quick guide. I ended up saying a lot, I guess. 😅 I hope you found this useful, though, and that you really enjoyed it. Thank you for reading, thanks to Link-NM for letting me post this, and good luck to all of you in the court. ^_^