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Earlier this week, Nintendo gave us a chance to take a look at a couple of its upcoming titles for the Wii U and 3DS. I talked about one of them here and there were a couple more than I only got a brief look at. A game that we actually got an opportunity to take for a whirl was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. I can't really tell you the last time I played anything in the Mario Tennis series but I'm pretty sure I was lukewarm on it back in the day so I was a little skeptical of the game at first. Then we actually started to play and it was, hands down, my favorite game that we got a chance to demo.
Marco and I dove right into a doubles match in Mega Battle mode, one of the new features in the game. In this mode, Mega Mushrooms sometimes pop up in the field which increases your player's size, power, and range. Our opponents were lucky enough to have it first so we were both dominated in the beginning since we didn't know what was happening for the majority of the first game. After that we had a heart to heart and learned the meaning of friendship and teamwork. I'm happy to report the Unofficial Moviepilot Mario Tennis Doubles Friendship Duo (I couldn't think of a shorter team name) dominated the field after that. Anyway, back to the details about the game.
Other cool new stuff they're putting into the game outside of Mega Battles are the various different modes you can use to suit your style of play. There's Knockout Challenge where you play in tie breaking matches against harder and harder opponents, as well as Classic Tennis split into two modes: Standard and Simple. Standard has some of the newer elements of the game but no Mega Mushrooms. Simple mode breaks things down even further. No mushrooms, no special game elements; it's just you, the ball, and whatever button mashing skill you have. They're also including online multiplayer so you can flex your court skills with players from all over the net.
Other improvements from previous games also include a new move called the Ultra Smash which I didn't figure out how to do in the time allotted but I was told it's a devastating move where your character jumps high into the air and smashes the ball down towards your opponents. There are also Colorful Chance Areas that can help your shots be that much more difficult to return. The game will also have a couple of new characters making their debut in the series.
To round it all out, the game also has Amiibo compatibility. Players can use supported Amiibo figures as their doubles partners in online games or use them in offline Knockout Challenge mode. The more you play your Amiibo, the stronger they get as it gains skill and experience from every match. Right now, supported Amiibos include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Yoshi, Yarn Yoshis, Rosalina, Wario, Toad and Donkey Kong.
Long story short, it's a lot of cool new stuff that promises to make this latest entry in the Mario Tennis series incredibly fun with a lot of replay value. I honestly could have played it the entire time I was with Nintendo and I would have left happy. Also we were winning. I like winning.