Every Mario tennis game, ranked


Few video game characters are as iconic as Nintendo’s mustached mascot Mario, and there aren’t many who are so recognizable. This is because the Italian plumber has appeared in countless video games over the years, including many spinoff series that are incredibly successful in their own right. Most of them were developed in the 1990s, or, as some prefer to refer to them; the golden age of gambling.

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Not content with creating one of the biggest platformer series out there, Nintendo started experimenting with other formats for Mario characters. This led to Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Golf, and Mario Tennis. Fast forward two decades and each of those series is still going strong as ever, with this latest quickly approaching its tenth installment. However, it was not all easy for Mario Tennis, with as many faults as there are aces over the years.

Mario’s tennis

Developer: Nintendo R & D1
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Virtual boy
Release date: Aug 14, 1995

Mario’s Tennis was one of 14 games to be released for Nintendo’s ill-fated Virtual Boy console in North America. It turns out that it was actually one of the best games for the system, but, given the overall standard, that doesn’t really mean much.

The game is incredibly basic when it comes to actual gameplay and in many ways feels more like a tech demo designed to showcase the capabilities of the Virtual Boy than a full-fledged title. There are seven different playable characters, however, which was pretty impressive for the time, with in-game data even suggesting that Birdo was at one point to be the eighth.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Wii U
Release date: November 20, 2015

The Virtual Boy is widely regarded as Nintendo’s worst console, but some consider the Wii U to be close second. The system has sold poorly compared to its predecessor and does not offer too many notable titles. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is certainly not one of them.

While it does a perfectly useful job in terms of basic gameplay, the lack of variety when it comes to characters, routes, and game types is incredibly underwhelming. The only notable addition is the Mega Battle game mode, which, like the game as a whole, offers nowhere near enough to keep players engaged for a substantial amount of time.

New game control! Mario power tennis

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Release date: March 9, 2009

Rather than developing a brand new Mario Tennis title for the Wii, Nintendo and Camelot have instead chosen to release an improved port of the previous installment in the series, Mario Power Tennis. Considering the popularity of Wii Sports and the success of the original game, this seemed like a good idea on paper. Unfortunately, the execution left a lot to be desired.

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While there were also a handful of small changes, the biggest difference between the Wii port and its predecessor was the introduction of motion controls. Unfortunately, these were poorly implemented, making the game incredibly difficult to play compared to the GameCube version. This, combined with people’s contempt for Nintendo’s decision to repackage an older game, has led to poor reception from gamers and critics alike.

Mario Tennis Open

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: May 20, 2012

Mario Tennis Open is a bit of a mixed bag. It has many flaws, the most notable of which is the new Chance Shot mechanic. Rather than enhancing the experience, this can often leave players waiting for their opponent to make a mistake rather than gaining a point due to their own skills or strategic superiority. The game is not that bad though.

Camelot’s experience with the series over the years has allowed the developer to master the basics of video game tennis, and that, at least, is clearly evident here. The way the game uses the 3DS second screen also improves the overall experience and some of the special games are actually a lot of fun.

Mario tennis aces

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: June 22, 2018

Mario Tennis Aces is packed with content and for the most part is able to take advantage of its obvious potential. The game modes are well thought out, the terrains all feel unique, and the massive amount of unlockable items should be more than enough to keep players going long after they’ve completed the main story.

Where the game is a bit short, however, is in its single player campaign and online abilities. Adventure mode, while fun to begin with, can start to feel a bit repetitive long before the climax of the story. The online issues, on the other hand, have more to do with limitations imposed by the Switch itself and Nintendo’s lackluster online infrastructure.

Mario power tennis

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: GameCube
Release date: October 28, 2004

Much like Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Power Tennis is a solid sequel to its predecessor N64, with Camelot choosing to refine the series’ core mechanics rather than trying to reinvent them. As a result, the overall gameplay is much improved, while the additional processing power of the GameCube allows for much better visuals and smoother animations.

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Had the developer stopped there, Mario Power Tennis would likely be considered the best offering in the series, but, perhaps out of fear of criticism for being laziness, Camelot instead decided to add some new features as well. Some of them weren’t that bad, but most like the powerful offensive and defensive shots changed the pace and tempo of matches a bit too much for some players to taste.

Mario Tennis: Power Tour

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Release date: December 5, 2015

The Mario Tennis series handheld offerings have often outperformed their home console counterparts and this is again the case with Mario Tennis: Power Tour. He builds on everything that made Mario Tennis’s Game Boy Color release so enjoyable, while still managing to sidestep some of the pitfalls that stumbled his big brother on GameCube.

The game looks great for a portable title and manages to pull a lot of the system’s four main buttons when it comes to controlling characters; of which there is again an impressive amount. It also features some of the best mini-games to ever graced the series, many of which remain enjoyable to this day.

Mario tennis

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64
Release date: Aug 28, 2000

Mario’s Tennis may have been the first game to see the Italian plumber enter the field, but it wasn’t until five years later and the release of Mario Tennis for the N64 that the series really saw the light of day. The game also marks the debut of Waluigi, who has since become a fan favorite character.

Where Mario’s Tennis looks more like a concept than an actual game, Mario Tennis appears more like a fully fleshed out and well-executed idea. The game modes are fun and the gameplay is tight, making it an incredibly enjoyable title and the perfect foundation on which future entries in the series could be built.

Mario tennis

Developer: Camelot software planning
Editor: Nintendo
Platform: Game Boy Color
Release date: January 16, 2001

It’s not often that a portable title outshines its home console counterpart, and yet it’s something we’ve seen time and time again in the Mario Sports series. Of course, it certainly helps that video game representations of sports like tennis and golf are not that graphically demanding and instead rely on precise controls and innovative game types to really impress gamers.

The Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis features both of these elements, along with an impressive amount of playable characters for a portable title. There are 29 in total, which is more than any of the home console versions in the series since. However, there are only five mini-games, although they are all quite fun, especially Fruit Factor and Boo Blast.

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