Mario Tennis Open
| Mario Tennis Open

Six years ago, Nintendo's Wii Sports served up a simple game of tennis.

Despite your not being able to directly control your player's movements on court, Tennis's accessible nature made batting balls back and forth a peaceful practice that blew up like a modern-day Pong.

Six years on, Mario and co.'s long-overdue return to the tennis stadium has picked up more influence from the Wii version than previous handheld iterations.

Giving a toss

First off, though: the way in which you hold your 3DS for Mario Tennis Open is just as important as the way you'd hold your tennis racquet in real life.

Hold the 3DS flat and you're given a wide bird's-eye view of the court. Hold the handheld upwards and you'll be shifted to an over-the-shoulder perspective.

From this close-up view, the AI assumes complete control over your character's movements, allowing you to focus on returning power shots, which you aim using the gyro sensor. Alternatively, you can turn off the gyro sensor to play from the more traditional tennis game perspective.

Labour of love

Super Mario Bros.-themed levels (playable in both singles and doubles varieties) help spice up the standard assortment of championship games.

The multiplayer options are pretty much standard issue - you can team up for four-way multiplayer offline using a single cart or go online for a knockabout via the recently established Nintendo Network.


The inclusion of Mii characters in Mario Tennis Open, meanwhile, shouldn't come as a surprise, but their appearance is more than just a token gesture.

In addition to playing as Bowser or Peach, you can step onto court as your chosen avatar. You are also given the freedom to kit your Mii out with around 170 items that you unlock with each win and loss.

But, for all its fresh ideas, Camelot's efforts to open up Mario Tennis to a wider audience have been in vain. There's still a solid tennis game here, with plenty of content, yet with autopilot mode one tiny tilt away, it just feels like a slightly deeper version of Wii Tennis.

Mario Tennis Open

Putting accessibility over its heritage, Mario Tennis Open is likely to win over more newcomers than returning players
Tom Worthington
Tom Worthington
Fresh out of the packaging, Tom joins Pocket Gamer with a chip on his shoulder and a degree in Journalism. Naively, Tom believes there's a star-studded career in video games and has penned words across the internet in between praying to the almighty Nintendo gods.