We all know how Tennis works. You’ve got a ball, some rackets, a net and a court — if only it was that simple in Mario Tennis Aces. This Nintendo Switch sports game pits two teams of classic Mario characters against each other in crazy, kooky matches that only barely resemble a true game of Tennis.
There’s a lot of new to grapple with in Mario Tennis Aces. This isn’t standard, simple Mario Tennis. This is a fighting game on a tennis court. Before jumping into the game, you’ll probably want to see how complicated this game can be. You’ve got four different shot types, two special shots, trick shots, blocks, counters, and even a time-slowing focus ability. Grab your rackets, let’s start serving.
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Your Character Determines Your Playstyle
Not every character plays exactly the same. There are differences — so it’s important you pick someone that fits your playstyle. Test everyone out and see what works for you; All-Around heroes like Mario and Luigi should be easy for anyone to pick up and play, but lumbering powerhouses like Donkey Kong and Bowser require a little more finesse. The toughest characters are the Tricky ones — Boo and Rosalina have weird Trick Shots and Special Shots.
There Are Four Different Types Of Shots (And You Should Learn Them All)
There are four standard shot types assigned to each of the four face buttons on your controller. Each one has a different effect, too — Topspin, Slice, Flat, and Drop / Lob Shot. Topspin is your standard shot, while the Slice is a trickier low-bounce shot that has a controllable sharp curve. The Flat Shot sends a ball straight forward, giving it very little height and lots of speed.
The Drop / Lob Shots are some of the most important shots that you will want to learn early. The Lob Shot sends the ball extremely high, while the Drop Shot hits low and gives the ball a tiny bounce that can easily trick players if they’re on the far end of the field. If you want to step up your Tennis serving skills, you’ll want to master every shot.
You Can Counter All Those Different Shot Types
To increase your energy meter, all you have to do is tap your shot button early. Hit it early enough, and you can charge / Max Charge your shots — and Max Charges are strong enough to send your opponent sliding back. Max Charge shots are really powerful, but they can all be countered.
- PRO TIP: Look at the color of the trail to see the type of shot. Topspin is Red, Slice is Blue, Flat is Purple.
To stop all that back-slide action, you’ll want to counter certain shots with a different shot type. This is really advanced, but here it goes; Topspin counters Slice shots, and vice versa. Flat Shots counter other Flat Shots. Look at the colors to see which type of shots you’re facing!
Save Energy With Trick Shots (And Star Shots)
Like I mentioned earlier, Trick Shots are another type of shot that are all unique to each individual character. Trick Shots are special shots that require precise positioning and timing — usually your character will slide far left / right and return the shot. If you’re late, you’ll spend energy, but if your timing is perfect, you won’t use any energy at all.
Speaking of energy, there’s another unique shot you can use when a star appears. Normally, the star is used to pull off Zone Shots. Zone Shots require at least 1/3rd of the energy meter. If you don’t have any energy, you can still use Star Shots. Quickly rush to a star and hold [Y] to launch a super-powered Star Shot.
Zone Shots, Special Shots, And Power Shots
Let’s finally talk about energy. Energy is used for a couple different powers. When you hit 1/3rd of your meter, you can start using Zone Shots. Rush to a star that appears, and press [R] before the ball lands to jump and enter first-person mode. You’ll be able to perfectly aim your shots and send them to a tough corner or straight into your opponent.
When you fill your meter to 100%, you’ll unlock the Special Shot ability. Tap [L] when the ball is in your court to instantly launch a Special Shot. Like the Zone Shot, you’ll enter first-person mode and aim your shot. Both Zone Shots and Special Shots can damage your opponents’ racket if they don’t perfectly time their shot.
Special Shots are incredibly dangerous to block. Zone Shots take off 1/3rd of your racket if you miss a hit. Special Shots shatter your racket in a single hit if you miss. If you need one more point to win, you’ll probably want to save your energy and unleash a dangerous Special Shot for a free point.
Use Zone Speed To Block Zone Shots & Special Shots
Zone Shots and Special Shots can be blocked! Whether you’re too far from a shot, or want to perfectly time your block, you can hold [R] to slow down time. Get very, very close to a ball and take a shot to block. It needs to be practically right next to your character for a successful block. If you hit too early, your racket will take damage. It’s really, really hard to block Zone Shots, and insanely hard to block Special Shots. If you have no other choice, slow down time and attempt to stop those Special Shots!
Play Through The Story To Unlock More Stages
At the start of the game, it looks like you don’t have many stages to choose from. You’ll start with only a few variations of Marina Stadium. Don’t worry, the weird and wonderful stages from previous tennis games can still be found. All you have to do is play through the campaign. You’ll unlock six more stages with weird gimmicks. Complete all five worlds, and you’ll get each one to play randomly in local or online.
You Can Turn Off The Kooky Gimmicks
Don’t like the gimmicks? Want to pick your stages? You can do that! In Local, just press [+ / -] to open the Custom Playlist. Here, you can select the maps you want to appear randomly. You can also disable stage hazards on each individual stage. If you want to play a specific map only, just put a single court on the playlist that will repeat.
You Can Turn Off Energy Too
Energy is the new mechanic that changes everything about Mario Tennis Aces. If you’re looking for a more “pure” version of the game, you can play with friends or online without any energy. In the Rules Settings, change the gameplay to “Simple” — it’s really easy to play without all those extra powers.
Want More Characters? Join Those Tournaments!
More characters are incoming! Update your copy of Mario Tennis Aces, and you’ll see more “?” on your character select screen. More characters will release with monthly Tournaments. If you play in the Tournament, you’ll unlock that month’s character way earlier. If you don’t want to participate, you can just wait for the Tournament to end. The character will be unlocked for everyone.
Got your own beginner tips you think we need to know? Drop a comment below!