Mario Power Tennis is the latest in Nintendoâ€™s â€˜new play controlâ€™ line-up which consists of the best GameCube titles with their original controls replaced with Wii controls. Once again, players get to control their favourite Nintendo characters in a quirky Tennis title. All of the modes, characters and mini-games are present; the big difference separating this from the GameCube version is the controls - and unfortunately, they are terrible.
The different types of shots are pulled off via gestures; itâ€™s harder than it sounds as you can quickly end up flailing your hand around, missing crucial shots and maybe even throwing your Wii Remote at the TV in frustration. It will take a few hours just to master the controls - assuming you have the patience. This is a problem since the entire point of the line was to revamp titles with motion controls to make them easier to pick up and play. If anything, itâ€™s the opposite for Mario Power Tennis.
Before diving into the tournament mode itâ€™s a good idea to try the exhibition mode, as it will help you get to grips with the new control scheme. Setting up an exhibition match is as straight forward as ever. After selecting either singles or doubles, you pick your characters, switch between left or right handed, and pick from eight courts to play on. Each court affects ball speed and bounce and can give you the advantage, or leave you at a disadvantage, depending on your characterâ€™s style.
There are four types of controls to use: easy, normal, technical and manual. Although they have no affect on the swinging, each mode tweaks the power shot control a little â€“ the higher the selection, the more control you have. Ironically, normal is slightly easier to use than â€˜easyâ€™ because it selects and lunges automatically, while letting you choose when to trigger the power shot â€“ this allows you to get the timing just right.
After getting to grips with the new control scheme, you can check out the tournament mode. The original classes from the N64 version are back along with 14 characters to choose from, including the all-rounders (Mario, Luigi), speed (Koopa, Diddy Kong), and power (Bowser, Donkey Kong). On top of those, Mario Power Tennis also introduces Technique (Peach), Defense (Waluigi), and Tricky (Bowser Jr).
Once youâ€™ve played through the tournament modes, you can check out the selection of mini-games including Artist on the Court, in which you hit paint balls at a painting to colour it in; and Mecha-Bowser Mayhem, a boss battle mini-game where you hit bombs and grab the occasional power up to defeat Bowser.
Should you feel the need to torture three of your friends, Mario Power Tennis features a solid multiplayer mode â€“ one where you wonâ€™t be at a huge disadvantage because everyone else will be just as gimped by the new controls. On that note, you can take bets as to who will go insane and kill the other players first.
After the ball drops it seems strange that the gameâ€™s biggest flaw is a control issue that could have been avoided so easily if they just left the original controls in as an option. Unfortunately this will be remembered as an oddball in an otherwise great Tennis series. Camelot dropped the ball on this one.