Nintendo Direct: Mario Tennis Aces Launch Date, Gameplay Details Revealed

Mario Tennis enthusiasts were treated to a mammoth sized update at today’s Nintendo Direct presentation. Nintendo EPD’s Deputy General Manager Yoshiaki Koizumi introduced the segment, which revealed the game’s release date, finer points of gameplay, as well as the all star character roster.

The roots of the Mario Tennis franchise can be traced back to 2000 on Nintendo 64. But the dawn of the new millennium didn’t just deliver Mario’s first tennis outing, it set a template for years to come. In Mario Tennis Aces, that classic gameplay formula is getting refined. The zone shot is a powerful new move that can inflict damage upon your rival’s racquet; three strikes, and your racquet breaks, forcing you to forfeit the match. That sounds super harsh, but luckily, you can deflect zone shots with a block, a defensive gesture that protects your racquet from any damage. You can’t just mindlessly spam zone shots either, since they rely on a finite energy gauge. See below for a more compact list of what to expect.

Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch  key features:

  • Over 15 playable characters – Mario, Bowser, Toad, and more
  • Variety of shot styles – Basic, topsin, slice and lob
  • Multiplayer support – Lets up to four players compete together
  • Zone shot – High powered shot that lets you pinpoint specific areas on court using motion controls
  • Zone speed – Special ability that lets you slow down time to perform zone shots; expends energy gauge
  • Trick shot – Risky manoeuvre that lets you intercept out of reach tennis balls; correctly performed trick shots fill energy gauge, mistimed trick shots may cost you points
  • Special shot – Your ultimate weapon – the hadōken of tennis, the kamehameha of Nintendo; can destroy racquets in one hit, rapidly expends energy gauge, can still be blocked
  • Events & online tournaments – Play against friends and other players; matchmaking based on event record; bonus rewards include special in-game outfits and extra characters (the segment displayed Dry Bones’ silhouette)
  • Story mode – Injects fresh twist into strategic tennis gameplay (think Bowser Stage and Piranha Challenge from Mario Tennis)

Although it brings in a ton of flashy new updates, Mario Tennis Aces still caters to tennis purists in a mode that relies on basic shots only. Simple rules, classic tennis. You’ll also be able to use your Joy-Cons like a tennis racquet, but come on Nintendo, if you can bring out a steering wheel for Mario Kart Wii, we need a proper racquet here. I suppose we can construct Labo racquets in the mean time.

Clear your schedules and claim sick leave because Mario Tennis Aces is releasing on June 22. Nintendo will be hosting a pre-launch online tournament where players can test their reflexes in 1v1 matches against fellow competitors.