New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis
After teasing us for years with Wii Sports, Nintendo has finally released a Wii tennis game... sorta.
- The graphics have held up exceptionally well and the game is full of Nintendo's most charming characters.
- The Wii controls work terribly, where are the Miis?
New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis is contradictory to what the series should be doing. The game controls much worse on the Wii, and what's more, it wasn't a treasured title to begin with. You're better off going back to Wii Sports Tennis.
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After teasing us for years with Wii Sports, Nintendo has finally released a Wii tennis game... sorta. How does New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis handle the transition from the GameCube to Wii?
Wii Sports is cursed. As much as Nintendo loves their all-time best-seller, it's sure making it hard to issue standalone sports games. Mario Super Sluggers struck out, and the company hasn't even said word one about a golf or bowling game. Hopefully Punch-Out will turn the tide, because Nintendo's solution to creating a total tennis experience on the Wii ended up almost earning our love. And by love, I mean the tennis term for zero.
Launched alongside Pikmin, New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis updates a game from the GameCube, adding widescreen visuals and motion controls to introduce the game to a new audience. Unlike Pikmin, which adds more intuitive controls, Mario Power Tennis has been made all the worse for the Wii.
Lame, Set, Match
On the GameCube, Mario Power Tennis was a solid title. With a standard controller, it's pretty tough to make a bad tennis game. With a wealth of buttons to use, you can map tons of different shots and spins, making matches extremely competitive and strategic. Unfortunately, New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis tries to cram a bunch of moves into various Wii Remote motions. It would work if the controller was about twice as responsive, but the many matches we played were marred by mishaps made due to the wrong moves being performed.
Particularly, I often made weak lobs or drop shots when we wanted a forceful spike, due to the three moves sharing similar vertical movement. Things don't work all that better on the x-axis, as your character should perform a backhand or forehand depending on whether you swing away or from the body, but more often than not, you'll end up swinging the wrong way. Maybe I haven't had enough experience on Wii tennis courts yet, but figuring out which one to use when the ball was coming my way was a bit like chewing gum while walking.
Love? Not quite...
Unfortunately, this control malady bleeds into every mode outside of the standard one, too. Trying to hit balls through rings or paint a canvas with coloured balls by accurately aiming your shot is now frustratingly impossible. And since playing a standard set is crazy enough with the new controls, adding turtle shells and banana peels to the mix makes the matches unmanageable.
While the game's graphics and visuals have held up well in the GameCube-to-Wii transition, New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis is a shining example of how to break a game with motion controls. Take a simple game with an easy control scheme and shoehorn in awkward, unresponsive substitute, and you've got a game that will have people dashing back towards Wii Sports.
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