Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance
Submitted by: Clarance Frank
There aren’t that many GameBoy titles with solid repeat-play virtues, but this effort contains them in abundance and has to be one of my favourites on the GBA.
Developed by Camelot, who were previously responsible for the excellent Mario Golf Advance Tour on the GBA, the presentation is equal to Nintendo’s in-house offerings, with nicely detailed, well animated and cute graphics only adding to the overall playability.
Two methods of play are available from the start, you can jump straight into the Exhibition mode, with four skill levels to choose from and six characters from the Mario world to pick from or you can choose to go through the very arduous Power Tour story mode. In the Power Tour you take control of Max or Tina as they fight their way through the ranks of the Royal Tennis Academy, playing in both singles and doubles matches, with your goal being to win the Island Open tennis championships and then onto a secret tournament at Peach's Kingdom where the Mario characters come out to play against you. All this is accompanied with a very tiresome RPG type story, which takes much longer to spool through than the games of tennis that they lead up to. There’s lots of dialogue to wade through here, to the point of exasperation some times, when all you want to do is play a game of tennis. However the story mode must be played through to obtain the various power-ups and unlockable characters included in the game. There are also lots of great mini-games which are obtainable from the main menu only after they have been accessed through the story mode.
Anyway, play through the story mode, forget the story mode, and concentrate on the wonderful gameplay. And gameplay really is what it’s all about here, with a great game of tennis to be had. Crazy power moves are easily pulled off, and although the controls are simple to learn, there is a deceptively deep and accurate game of tennis hidden behind all the froth and fun of the Mario World characters.