I finally decided to start up Mario Tennis Aces again to check the last update they did to the game. As expected, they have not fixed the biggest problems with the game menus and options available.
Besides the much needed gameplay balance, one of the things that Mario Tennis Aces really needs are new game options, specially when playing offline. Like I said in my Quick Review a while ago, the game barely has any content and it depends mostly on the replay value of its simple online multiplayer. And the little content that it has is quite complicated and confusing to configure the way you want. Sadly, the rushed updates clearly indicate that the game was released incomplete, similar to how it happened to Mario Tennis Ultra Smash.
So far, the updates are mostly focusing on one of the most important aspects that need fixing: the gameplay balance. This was clear when the first patch released not too far from the game’s release and it mentioned about future updates for gameplay mechanics. I can actually imagine that it was Nintendo that forced Camelot to get working on fixing the game since Nintendo seems to be pushing the game to their eSports lineup. So, of course, it really needs to get balanced as soon as possible if they want people to take the game seriously in the competitive sense.
Now, with the (currently) latest update (1.2.0), Camelot decided to also tackle some of the complaints related to the lack of game options. The big tutorial called that they called “Adventure Mode” has received some tweaking in balance but, most importantly, there is now an option to quickly retry a level. Sadly, this is where the good news end.
For the rest of the game, they apparently heard the complaints from people about the game length options available. Unfortunately, they still messed it up.
- We have added Full (6-game, 1-set match) to Free Play and Swing Mode.
That is not a full match. ?
I don’t understand how they can’t just give us the option to configure matches the way it has always been before. Even Mario Tennis Ultra Smash got this right. You can individually select how many sets and games you want for the match. Additionally, you can freely choose how the double partners will be set in a simple and really easy way to understand.
But nope, they like to make things complicated. So instead, we end up with the following confusing menu that, if you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss that it even exists.
As you can already notice from the screen, there is no way to select the exact length you actually want for a match. You just get the following ambiguous labels and need to select the closest to what you want.
- Quick Play (Tiebreaker)
- Extended Game (3 Set, 2 Games)
- Full Game (1 Set, 6 Games)
And yes, to see what each option is you need to read the description text at the bottom. And yes, Full Game is not an actual full tennis match since that would be a 5 sets and 6 games match. So something that was actually possible in every other Mario Tennis game, including Ultra Smash, is now suddenly not available in Mario Tennis Aces.
Then there’s also the Doubles Partner option which, again, uses text labels which can be a bit confusing. It’s nothing as clear and easy to understand as the option in Ultra Smash.
From this menu, it’s also worth pointing out that choosing a certain stage is harder than what it should be. Again, as an example, here’s that option in Mario Tennis Ultra Smash.
So how does picking a court work in Mario Tennis Aces? Well, you actually can’t. The game will always pick a random one from either all of them or the custom list you set. So if you want to play in a specific court, you need to press + or – while in the game configuration screen to access another menu and then disable all courts and only enable to one you specifically want. It’s worth noting that this custom list will always be reset every time you enter the Free Play mode.
So, unfortunately, Mario Tennis Aces is still a bad game. It is slightly better than how it was at launch but it’s still lacking overall.
(I know about the v2 update coming next week but that still has issues which I’ll talk about in a later post.)