Dating back to the days of the Game Boy and Nintendo 64, Mario Tennis has become a permanent fixture on Nintendo consoles.
Offering simple arcade-based gameplay and some fun multiplayer action, it's become one of Nintendo's anchor titles, although it hasn't quite reached the lofty heights of Mario Kart and Mario Party.
Now, Nintendo's flagship tennis title comes to the Nintendo 3DS.
For the uninitiated, Mario Tennis Open is a fun, arcade-styled take on the sport, featuring over-the-top physics and of course, Nintendo's beloved characters.
So you'll see huge dropshots and impossible curveballs all around. It's all executed well though, with a shot for every occasion. For instance, you'll use the dropshot when your opponent is at the edge of the court and the lob when they're right by the net.
As expected, there's virtually no difficulty curve to be had, with straightforward controls as well. But the addition of power-ups makes the game stand out even more.
As you play, you'll encounter circles on the court, with symbols such as mushrooms, bob-ombs and more. Hit the corresponding shot button in the circle and your shot will be superpowered, such as a gigantic curveball or a drooping dropshot. You don't have to make use of the power-ups to progress but it certainly makes things a tad easier.
Visually, Mario Tennis Open doesn't push the 3DS hard at all, featuring the usual cartoony style. It's not a huge step up from the DS, with Virtua Tennis still managing to look better, but it gets the job done anyway.
However, the game runs at a smooth framerate, even when playing four-player local multiplayer matches.
Speaking of multiplayer action, this is arguably where you'll have your most fun, just like the other Mario sports games. Much like Mario Kart, the game supports single-cartridge multiplayer, with your friends only needing a 3DS to get in on the action.
As for online play, Mario Tennis Open brings a decent offering, with the ability to take on comers in your region or play with friends. It's a little barebones though, with just singles and doubles modes on offer, it would seem. Sure, you have monthly leaderboards, but regular tournaments and associated features would've been a great inclusion.
Another issue we had was that it took ages to find a game, something that shouldn't be a problem for a game as simple and popular as this.
On the single-player front, you'll have a decent variety of modes on offer, but it definitely feels like Camelot and Nintendo skimped on this front too.
You have a number of tournaments to play through, with about three or four matches in each tournament. As you progress, you'll unlock different items for your character, such as rackets, clothing and more.
Additionally, there are four cool minigames on offer to extend the life of the title. One game sees you trying to hit balls through rings, another sees you playing a variation of Super Mario Brothers. It's pretty fun, but nothing particularly in-depth or groundbreaking.
In fact, our biggest complaint is that there's simply not a great variety of modes in either the single- or multi-player types.
It's a pity though, as more game modes would've gone a long way to making Mario Tennis Open a must-have title for the Nintendo 3DS. As it is now though, it's a great game but one that won't last too long.
Mario Tennis Open is an enjoyable experience, but its lifespan depends on whether you have fellow 3DS-toting friends and dig playing online.
Score: 7.8 out of 10