Mario Tennis Power Tour – GBA – Review

You wake up,
having passed out during the Royal Tennis Academy’s orientation that consists of
a brutal welcoming exercise. It’s your doubles partner that wakes you up and
tells you that passing out is actually a good sign … a sign that you’re
dedicated to the Academy and the sport of tennis. Soon enough you discover that
masked rivals have challenged the school’s Senior class to a series of matches.
You’re determined to show these masked players who is the best. This is Mario
Tennis: Power Tour
, a handheld tennis game that will make a fan out of you
even if you’re not crazy about the sport.


Much like last
year’s Mario Golf Advance Tour, you are asked to pick your character and
take him or her through an RPG-styled story mode so it’s not all about the sport
itself. Here you can chose from a boy named Clay and a girl named Ace who finds
him or herself playing against the Royal Tennis Academy’s various students. The
story begins with Senior student and tennis prodigy Alex being challenged by a
group of masked tennis players that beat him in front of the student body. Who
are these masked star players and why does one of them sound like an Italian
plumber while the other one walks like a gorilla?

Of course, if
you really want to show your stuff during the main tournament against these
masked players you’ll have to go through the Junior, Versity and the Senior
class. Power Tour mode plays like an old-school RPG, allowing you to explore
various rooms and areas within the academy and you can talk to anyone that
happens to be wandering around campus. Yet if you want to upgrade your tennis
skills you’ll have to challenge a few classmates and talk to the coaches for a
few pointers. The more games you play, the more you earn experience points to
increase everything from your shot control, power, sidespin and even speed. You
can even boost your stats, leveling up your topspin, slice, stroke and even your
serve techniques.

You can compete
in singles matches or a doubles match with a partner. The matches themselves are
true to the sport of tennis so expect the rules to be intact … then again this
is a Nintendo game so all the usual madcap Nintendo elements are also present to
make the game of tennis a lot more interesting. There are the basic moves and
techniques and Mario Tennis handles them perfectly. While you do start as
a weak player at first, there are also mini-games used to upgrade your
techniques and skills. The mini-games are actually creative and really don’t
have much to do with the sport and thus allowing a nice break from the tennis
action. Just check out the treadmill mini-game that feels like a certain classic
Nintendo game starring a certain hairy ape.


The real fun
comes when you get a chance to play against Mario and company. While you’ll get
to unlock various other original characters throughout the story mode, the best
characters are really Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Waluigi and
Bowser. Each Nintendo character comes with his or her own style of playing plus
special serves that give each match a plat former-style. You can also use all
the characters you happen to unlock in the game’s Exhibition mode. The other
notable game mode is the Multiplayer option. You can hook up a Game Boy Advance
as well as a Game Boy Micro for an up to four player match (if you want to play
a doubles game with a group of friends) that’s  uses both cables or  wireless
adaptors. Believe me, this is one game you’ll want to share with your friends. 

Mario Tennis
sports some sharp visuals that really stand out during Power
Tour mode. The characters models and environments look pretty good on the GBA
screen. While the tennis courts look rather plain the characters, like Donkey
Kong and Mario look good in action. There are plenty of good visual effects,
especially when it comes to the special or power serves. The game’s sound is
also handled nicely, with tunes that, while recycled, don’t get on your nerves.
The rest is composed of platform-styled sound effects that work well enough in
this game.


Leave it to the
likeable appeal of Mario to make the game of tennis such a downright addictive
and truly enjoyable sports experience. Mario Tennis: Power Tour is one of
the best portable tennis games you’ll find on a handheld thus far and with so
much going for it who can’t resist a good sports game with RPG elements tossed
in for good measure? Really, if you’re looking for a good handheld tennis game,
you will definitely want to buy this game.

Review Scoring
Details for Mario Tennis: Power Tour

Gameplay: 9.2
It’s a tennis
game so how complicated can it be? Well, when there’s Mario and company involved
you can come to expect some truly zany elements added to the basic tennis rules.
The game’s controls work wonderfully and the various characters add more
personality to the singles and doubles matches. The game’s story isn’t anything
new but it’s still fun little RPG-styled jaunt.

Graphics: 8.9
The visuals
are sharp and nicely colorful so expect a lot to see while wandering the academy
grounds. The environments are pleasant to look at and even the characters are
endearing in that early Final Fantasy sort of way. Expect some flashy
effects during matches much like in Mario Golf.

Sound: 8.5
The tunes are
actually pretty good and never get annoying during exploration or while playing
a match. There’s not much in terms of dialogue but each character has his or her
own distinct grunt during serves. The sound effects feel right at home here
because it’s classic Mario.

The opponent
AI actually offers up plenty of challenges the higher you climb in the Academy’s
rankings so expect the Seniors to put up quite a challenge. The real fun comes
from playing against the familiar characters like Donkey Kong and Mario. Oh man,
does Princess Peach have a mean serve or what?

Concept: 9.0
Much like the
brilliant Mario Golf GBA game, Mario Tennis: Power Tour features two
likeable kids reaching for their dreams to be the best at their favorite sport.
Sure you can play an Exhibition match with all the characters you unlock in the
game’s main mode, but the real fun is playing through the enjoyable story mode.
There’s also a really good multiplayer option.

This game has
plenty of multiplayer options whether you’re a Game Boy Advance or Game Boy
Micro owner. Up to four players can hook up their games using the GBA Link
Cables or, with wireless adaptors, play a wireless game. Either way you’ll want
to share this game with a few friends. Doubles match, anyone?

Overall: 9.0
Tennis: Power Tour

is one of those great Nintendo games that takes a somewhat
interesting sport and makes it one seriously engrossing game well worth the
purchase price. With loads of great characters, a dash of RPG goodness and a
solid game of tennis with that Mario twist.