The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
I'm a little torn. On the one hand, I want to rip Nintendo for doing a cheap and easy cash-in title – this game is nothing more than a slightly enhanced port of the old GameCube title with motion controls. On the other hand, the Wii is drowning in poorly made ''casual'' titles that provide neither the depth of an actual game nor the family fun promised on the back of the box. While it's disappointing that this is a retread and not a proper new Mario Tennis title, Nintendo knows how to craft a quality game.
I've always been a fan of the Mario Tennis series, and I am impressed by the responsive motion controls. The basic swing works well, and by swinging in diagonal motions you can apply top and back spin. Special shots are performed by holding A or B and quickly flicking the remote up or down. Players can select from four different difficulty levels, allowing them to make some functions automatic for novice players. This is one of those rare cases where the motion controls add something fun to the experience, rather than detracting from it. After playing so many Wii games with horrid response times, I wish Nintendo would share whatever secret it has with other developers.
The game doesn't have much new content. A few new courts and characters won't attract anyone who's spent serious time on the GC version. Still, I couldn't help but find myself getting wrapped up it the game again, even if I had the nagging feeling that this version seemed a little easier than it had before. But let's be honest: I'd rather have leftovers of last night's steak dinner than today's lunchroom goulash.
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This title is superior to the tennis game in Wii Sports in every way. Perhaps Mario Power Tennis is a better candidate for being a free pack-in game, seeing as how it's criminal that Nintendo is charging you for a port of the GameCube Mario Tennis with some so-so motion controls. While adding definitive drop shot and lob motions is an unrivaled bonus, I was disappointed in the unresponsiveness of some basic backhand and forehand motions. In particular, the game would sometimes mix up backhands and inside-out forehands, totally screwing up your positioning and return. Perhaps Wii Motion Plus would have smoothed over problems like this, or maybe Nintendo could get crazy and make an entirely new Mario Tennis game.