Mario Tennis Open
Mario Tennis Open is a sports game for the Nintendo 3DS and the sixth (fifth in PAL regions) installment of the Mario Tennis series (developed by Camelot Software Planning). The game features gyroscope support and online multiplayer (using the Nintendo Network procedures). This is the first handheld installment in the series to not include a Story Mode or RPG elements and the first handheld installment with a Tournament mode. This game is also the first Mario game to use QR (Quick Response) codes. In this case, it is used to unlock playable characters and the Yoshi costume.
The gameplay features the traditional basic elements from previous Mario Tennis games. To win, the player must score points by hitting the ball into the other side of the court and bounce twice, the basic objective of tennis. Players earn 15 points for every shot that is successful and can win the game by earning set, game, and match points by earning 60 points on each game. The amount of set and game points can be set by the player in exhibition mode but not in tournament mode.
This game uses the buttons of the 3DS during single or multiplayer matches, though players can perform various tennis shots by selecting the shot panels on the touch screen, which will light up to alert the player of the best shot to use in a given situation. By holding the 3DS vertically, players can make use of the aforementioned gyroscope support, disabling 3D functionality. This places the camera behind their character, whose movement becomes automatic, and allows players to control the direction of their shots based on the position of the console. The gyroscope support can be disabled either by holding the console horizontally or by disabling it in the Options menu. There are also Special Modes in the game, such as "Super Mario Tennis", where the player needs to hit enemies, blocks and coins with tennis balls in some levels of Super Mario Bros..
Chance Shots can appear if the opponent performs a bad rebound. In that case, a small colored area with a symbol of a Mario enemy or item appears in the player's court. The color of the symbol matches the colors of the panels in the touch screen (if the touch screen is set to the 6-panel shot panel). To perform a chance shot, players have to perform a shot whose color corresponds to the colored area when they are in that spot, either by pressing the correct button or button combination or by touching the matching color on the touch screen. Otherwise, the shot is a normal one. However, players can perform a simple shot that automatically selects the appropriate shot, but this Chance Shot is slightly weaker.
Players on the receiving end of a Chance Shot experience special effects that can hinder them. However, they can lessen the effect by pressing the opposite shot. For instance, red Chance Shots may not make much of an impact if the player retaliates with a (blue) slice shot. The recommended counter button is lit up for the receiving player.
Here is a list of Chance Shots and their effects.
Tournament mode is very similar to that in the previous Mario Tennis games. However, two more cups are added and are arranged differently. Players must have a star ranking to participate in the second set of cups. To do that, they must beat the Champions Cup. However, in the Doubles Tournament, only the character they control earns the star rank. Beating Champions Cup unlocks the Pro difficulty, which is more difficult than Expert, while Final Cup unlocks Ace, the most difficult COM level for Exhibition Mode.
Once the player has unlocked a cup, he or she can play it at any time, using any character. As a result, characters do not have to clear all three cups to beat the Champions Cup to earn the Star Rank, unlike in the previous titles.
Similar to the preceding Mario Tennis games, exhibition mode is a basic versus mode. Players can choose a singles or doubles match. After that, they can choose their character and opponents and press the or to give characters a left handed dominance or a star rank, respectively, if they want. The opponent's CPU's difficulty can be chosen after that, ranking from lowest to highest: Novice, Intermediate, Expert, Pro, and Ace (Pro and Ace are unlockable). A blue triangle means Novice, a yellow circle means Intermediate, a green circle with a dot in the middle means Expert, a red diamond means Pro, and a rainbow star means Ace. After this, players can choose any court they currently have, and then they can determine the games and sets. After this, the match starts. Chance Shots cannot be turned off, unlike Power Shots from the previous games.
Another regular feature of the Mario Tennis series, the Special Games, is also present in Mario Tennis Open. These games, like the name says, have special rules and features that differ from normal gameplay. Some of these games bear a very strong resemblance to the Special Games in the previous Mario Tennis titles. However, unlike in the previous Mario Tennis games, Ring Shot is included within the Special Games rather than as another option for exhibition matches. Each Special Game has four difficulties, which are named according to the Special Game. Other than Super Mario Tennis, the last difficulty is a challenge that tests how much a player can do before running out of tries.
Players can unlock characters by clearing Level 3 of each Special Game. Players can unlock outfits for their Mii if they meet the requirements for unlocking them in level 4.
There are a total of 25 playable characters in Mario Tennis Open. Four of these are unlocked during normal game play, but multicolored Yoshis and Metal Mario can be unlocked using QR codes. Additionally, each character will be in one of the six player classes available in the game, excluding the Miis as they can be customized. The four hidden characters can each be unlocked by completing level 3 in the respective Special Game.
QR downloadable characters
The Yoshi Hunt
In Europe, a Yoshi QR Chase was set up in 30 participating ASDA stores, and in participating EB Games and JB Hi-Fi stores in Australia and New Zealand. This special QR event allowed consumers to scan the code via the game to unlock certain Yoshis to play as. All countries where the game has been released have all QR codes in regards to the colored Yoshis.
Although not part of the Yoshi Hunt, a Yoshi costume (pictured right) can also be unlocked for the player's Mii by scanning a specific QR Code.
The QR Codes can be found here. In order for the player to scan a QR code, they must go the file select screen and press both Up on the +Control Pad and Start. However a save file must be created first before they can scan a QR code.
Gear may be bought for the players Mii with coins that that are earned by playing Special Games. They must be bought at the Clubhouse for a certain amount of coins each and alter the Mii's statistics. Costumes may also unlocked by clearing certain conditions, such as Staring a character.
Mario Tennis Open received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with aggregate websites Metacritic and GameRankings giving the game a 69 based on 58 reviews and 69.26% based on 38 reviews. Critics often cite that while the title is considered a solid title, they lament that it plays and feels too similarly to previous titles in the series, with Chance Shots not greatly improving or changing the gameplay up to make the title stand out, and the game was overall a disappointment. Reception towards the Mii customization was mixed; the overall customization was praised, but the pie-chart system of viewing stats has a universal negative reaction. Some critics complain that Miis receive too much focus compared to the Mario series characters as well. Praise has been given to the Special Games, however, especially the Super Mario Tennis Special Game.
Eric L. Patterson of Electronic Gaming Monthly has felt that while the title is a solid one for any Mario Tennis fan, it is not a great Mario Tennis title, and gave the game a 7 out of 10. Richard George of IGN has concluded that the game is "Okay", acknowledging that, "Camelot’s decade of tennis experience means they understand how to make the sport engaging and addicting...Yet Mario Tennis Open struggles in just about every other regard.", where the score is a 6.5 out of 10. Griffin McElroy of Polygon has lambasted the Chance Shots system in his review, calling out the over-reliance on them and their random spawning. On a more positive note, Matt Helgeson from Game Informer has given the game an 8/10, appreciating how Mario Tennis Open goes back to the basics due to him disliking the Power Shots feature of Mario Power Tennis, and that the game introduces online to the series.
Camelot Software Planning, which has developed previous Mario Tennis and Mario Golf titles, also worked on this title. The director was Shugo Takahashi while the lead designers were Hiroyuki Takahashi and Shugo Takahashi, as with previous installments of the Mario Tennis series. Motoi Sakuraba composed the music. Mario Tennis Open has a different set of announcer voices for each version, a rare aspect in a Mario game. The executive producer was Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo while Shigeru Miyamoto was the supervisor.
References to other games