The Mario Tennis series is known for its accessible take on the back-and-forth chess match of a sport. With energetic characters and power-ups inspired by the Super Mario series and its peripheral franchises, the experience has always been over-the-top. Ultra Smash takes things to a new level of ridiculousness.
Nintendo is promising familiar faces from past Mario Tennis games, as well as some new ones. With the success of Mario Kart 8’s Zelda and Animal Crossing DLC, it will be interesting to see if Nintendo keeps injecting more of its franchises into its popular crossover titles.
Ultra Smash introduces Mega Battles, a mode where the characters collect mega mushroom power-ups to grow to massive sizes. Characters under the influence of a mega mushroom are more powerful and able to cover more of the court thanks to improved reach. The massive sizes on display are thankfully restricted to Mega Battles. Becoming giant feels fun and powerful, but it’s disruptive to the core game.
Even outside of that mode, fans will notice the new jump shot ability in their arsenals. Using jump shots, characters jump high to deliver a strong smash return. When combined with the selection of shots from previous titles, players have more control than ever on how to attack the other side of the court.
Thus far Nintendo has not discussed online play for Ultra Smash. Mario Tennis Open introduced this feature on 3DS, so it would be a definite step back for the next console version to have no online multiplayer. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash aims to deliver the same bombastic approach as previous titles. Joining Super
Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero in populating the Wii U’s scant holiday offerings, Nintendo hopes Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will be the title that has the advantage.