Mario Tennis Aces is out and it’s pretty good (check out my first impressions of it). But is it my favorite Mario Tennis game? The shining star of the Mario Tennis franchise to me doesn’t actually star Mario. Mario Tennis on the Game Boy Color gave me some of the most joy in a tennis game and this is a game from almost 2 decades ago. But what about it drew me in? Why is it my favorite?
First, there actually is a story in this game. The player takes control of either Alex or Nina who set off to a prestigious tennis school, Royal Academy, in hopes to take on the best tennis player, Mario. The player takes part in lessons and challenges from various coaches to level up their skills to challenge better opponents and work their way up the ranks to take place in the Island Open. And if they are successful at winning the Open, they are given the opportunity to face off with Mario.
Yes, you heard that right, you level up your character’s skills. This game has RPG elements littered through the story mode. Each character has some slight boost to certain skills and certain characters are much harder to beat after a certain point. The progression through the ranks feels rewarding and the difficulty scales up appropriately.
I honestly want to play it again after talking about it, but I don’t know exactly if it aged well at all. A recent game that gives me similar vibes is Golf Story on the Nintendo Switch. However, that is a golf game but I still recommend it. I’ll have a write up in Golf Story at a future time.
Overall, I do want to play Mario Tennis GBC again, mostly for nostalgia sake and for an actual tennis story that Aces does not fulfill. Mario Tennis GBC gets an 8/10 from what I remember of it, plus or minus 1 point if I play it again and remember more about it. If you don’t mind taking a trip back in time, definitely pick this game up and give it a try.