Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

mario tennis ultra smash box art review
4.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Controls: 8/10

Plays fine

No depth to the game

Game Info

Game Name:   Mario Tennis:  Ultra Smash

Developer(s):   Camelot Software Planning

Publisher(s):   Nintendo

Platform(s):   Wii U

Genre(s):   Sports

Release Date(s):   November 20, 2015 (US)/January 28, 2016 (Japan)

ESRB Rating:   E

mario tennis ultra smash vs luigi gameplay screenshots

It’s brother vs brother in the Cain and Abel of the video game world!

Restring your rackets and grab a super mushroom, Mario and his friends are hitting the courts again!  Get your best lobs, drop shots, and serves and be sure to put some spin on them as you and Mario smash the competition.  It might start out as 0-0, but you must come out on top!

Mario Tennis:  Ultra Smash (マリオテニス ウルトラスマッシュ or Mario Tenisu Urutora Sumasshu) is a sports game for the Wii U.  The game is part of the Mario Tennis line that was preceded by Mario Tennis Open for the 3DS in 2012.  The game was released to largely negative reviews.

Tennis for the NES was fun, but Super Tennis for the Super NES, I played into the ground.  The game didn’t feature Mario, but Mario (who had been the line judge in the NES game) was soon stringing up his racket for N64.  I didn’t play the Mario Tennis series until the 3DS, but I’m amazed that the games haven’t advanced much since Super Tennis…which makes it even worse that this game has very little depth.

mario tennis ultra smash mega mushroom princess peach screenshots

Nobody puts Princess in another castle!

The big problem with this game is that there is little gameplay variety nor is there much room for repeat play.  There is a Mega Battle which features a power-up Mega Mushroom allowing your character to grow (and which does require some strategy in its use), the Knockback Challenge which is a mini-tournament mode where you go through various characters in a seven point game, an online mode to play with others (which due to the Wii U’s unpopularity is difficult), and a classic mode where you can set-up traditional scoring tennis games with no power-ups.  The game is amiibo compatible and allows you to build your amiibos.  There is no true tournament mode (something even the 3DS had) and therefore trying to win the Knockback Challenge with all the characters is about all you have to work toward.

The game features the typical Mario characters with Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, Daisy, Rosalina, Bowser, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, Boo, and Donkey Kong being available at the onset and Toadette, Bowser Jr., Dry Bowser, and Sprixie Princess being unlockable.  For the most part balanced characters like Mario do the job best, but mixing it up with some of the specialized characters does give the game the little variety it does have.

mario tennis ultra smash mega mushroom boo vs donkey kong gameplay screenshots

Donkey Kong lays the boom down on Mega Mushroom Boo!

What makes it so similar to other Nintendo tennis games is the controls.  The Wii spiced up its tennis with the motion detector, but here, the gameplay is simply tied to button mashing and the controls haven’t really changed since Super Tennis.  There are things like jump smashes (and the Ultra Smash to give the game its title), but pretty much if you time the button right and get to the spots indicated on the court, you’ll make it.

I’m glad I got Mario Tennis:  Ultra Smash at a discount because I’d be pretty upset if I had paid full price for it.  The game isn’t garbage in that the play is pretty slick and can be fun at points, but it is a game that you don’t need to play very often or very long to master.  If the game had included unlockable tournaments and events (like some of the previous entries), it would have been better and better received.  Unfortunately, it went bare bones for its presentation…something a video game can’t do nowadays.  Mario Tennis:  Ultra Smash is followed by Mario Tennis Aces for the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

Related Links:

Mario Tennis Open

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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