Mario Tennis Aces is a sports game. It features several playable characters from across Nintendo franchises, and has both couch co-op and online multiplayer matches.
Pro You can compete against others online in multiplayer
When you run out of single-player content to enjoy, you can hop online to play against random opponents. The main game mode is the tournaments you can play, which rewards you with special characters if you score well. Online connectivity is good too, especially with the choice to drop out of matches beforehand against players who have bad connections. Playing online is a really great way to test your skills and improve your play, since anyone you get matched with is an actual player who has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Pro Couch co-op with a friend is tons of fun
Playing with a friend right beside you makes the game much more enjoyable. Reacting to each other in real-time is just better than playing against a computer opponent. There's no online co-op -- only multiplayer matches against random people -- meaning you'll have to be in the same room together to play.
Pro Solid roster of Nintendo characters to play as
There's a good variety of characters you can play as. If you're familiar with first party Nintendo games, then you'll see a lot of familiar faces here, like Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Luigi, Peach, and of course Mario. Everyone has their own playing styles, with bigger characters like Bowser and Donkey Kong favoring hard-hitting power shots, and others like Yoshi and Mario that have a more balanced approach. You can go with whichever style or character you prefer, practicing with them until you master everything. Getting to see all of these characters together in one game is great for fanservice as well.
Pro Intense and engaging tennis matches
Mario Tennis Aces is incredibly addicting to play. Matches are fast-paced and exciting, with one particular mechanic that keeps things unpredictable. Every time you successfully hit the tennis ball to your opponent's end of the court, you build up a power meter that you can use in a couple of different ways.
When you want to quickly finish off a match, you can slow down time and take aim at a vulnerable corner of your opponent's court for an instant win. Or, if they try to do that to you, you can instead expend some of your power meter to quickly reach the ball and hit it back. Things can get pretty tricky when you both use up your power meters at the same time, leading to some satisfying wins.
Con Single-player adventure mode is pretty difficult
The game's adventure mode makes up for its short length with some real difficulty. It's a rough introduction to the gameplay, as some of the matches and bosses are really hard. There's plenty of variety to things, like courts that have certain hazards in your way and uneven terrain such as tall grass, as well as inventive boss designs like a giant squid that shoots out tennis ball-shaped blobs of ink. But all of these things can get quite overwhelming, especially if you're using the single-player mode to get better at the game.
Con Certain characters are locked behind online tournaments
The primary way to unlock new characters is to win tournaments, but this isn't entirely fair. They're only available for a limited amount of time, with the rewards changing from tournament to tournament. Even though some of these characters are in the actual game as opponents in the single-player adventure mode, you can't get access to them unless you unlock them through these tournaments. If you don't like playing online, or if you don't have the means to pay for Nintendo's online service once it's implemented later on in 2018, then you're basically out of luck.
Con Limited gameplay options for solo players
If you're the type who prefers to game alone, then Mario Tennis Aces might not be for you. There's only one single-player mode, while the rest of the game is mostly dedicated to co-op and online play. The solo mode is also extremely short, clocking in at around four hours. Aside from that, there really isn't much else for you to do.
Con Very wide skill gap between experienced and inexperienced players
Mario Tennis Aces can be unwelcoming to new players. While playing co-op or online, it's tough to catch up with everyone else who knows how to time their power shots with the meter. If you don't pick up on this mechanic fairly quickly, you may feel like you're getting left behind. You don't necessarily have to use the mechanic if you and a friend agree not to, but this sadly makes matches pretty dull. Running against computer opponents is a good way to get your feet wet before moving up to other levels of play.