December 14th, 2005, 21:55 Posted By: wraggster
An article from SuccessHK
Since 1999, Camelot Software Planning has been serving up excellent sports games on Nintendo consoles that feature Mario and friends. Its handheld offerings blend sports action with RPG elements, offering a character-driven experience that really draws you into the sport. The latest game in this vein is Mario Tennis Power Tour. It's a great single-player title with plenty of features that give it legs and a fun game to play with up to three of your friends.
The core game play of Power Tour is a mix of reality and fantasy. The surprisingly accurate use of topspin, slice, and flat shots will appeal to purists, while sidespin and power shots add an arcade element to the game play. Each player has primary stats of power, control, sidespin, and speed, as well as secondary stats of serve, stroke, volley, topspin, and slice. Each of the stock characters has a unique feel and molding your own player is entertaining.
The main mode of the game is the titular Power Tour. You select a male or female character to kick things off and must make your way to the top of the tennis academy. There are dozens of characters for you to talk to at the academy -- some give you helpful advice, while others are there merely for decorative purposes. On the practice courts, there are numerous instructors that teach you the mechanics of the game and a bunch of competitors that test what you've learned in mini games.
Your goal at the academy is to become the top player at the school, working your way up the junior, senior, and varsity ranks in singles and doubles. After you win a match or beat a mini game, you gain points that can be used to boost your primary and secondary stats, allowing you to shape your player's style. After you become the top dog at the academy, the Island Open tournament is unlocked. Players from around the world (and with higher skill levels) are there to challenge. Once you get past that, you get a visit from Mario, who invites you to participate in Princess Peach's tournament.
Power Tour mode offers a wide variety of gameplay. The singles and doubles matches progress nicely as your skills improve. The mini games are a bit mixed; the skills-based games are a bit bland, while the power shot ones are much more compelling. Unlike the GameCube version, power shots are more balanced and useful. Plus they don't litter the screen with distracting effects that distract you from the match. Once again, Camelot's blend of sports action and RPG features delivers. If this cartridge only contained Power Tour mode, it would still be worth the purchase.
Up to four players can participate in a multiplayer match using the link cable or wireless adapter. Multiplayer matches can be a blast if players are around the same skill level and use the stock characters. If you're using your jacked-up character and playing against a friend, expect an unappealing blowout. Also, note that gamers with a Nintendo DS cannot join in on the multiplayer action.
When you add it all up, Mario Tennis Power Tour is a solid title that will appeal to Mario fans, sports gamers, and RPG players. Storming through the Power Tour mode in singles and doubles is an entertaining ride, and there's plenty of replay value with the multitude of unlocked mini games and characters. Even though it's not as good as its golf counterpart, Mario Tennis Power Tour sails over the net, and stands on its own as a strong game with broad appeal.
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