Every Mario tennis game, ranked

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The different Mario The sporting efforts of Nintendo and a few other studios have remained among the funniest and most memorable board games to hit Big N consoles, dating back to the ’90s. Although The Plumber has at least dabbled in a number of sports, the Mario tennis games are among the most notable examples.

The tennis formula has proven to be an excellent match for the frenzied arcade sensibilities of Mario brand, while also serving as highly addicting multiplayer games. The franchise has certainly varied in style and quality, but has remained a staple for social gatherings and online showdowns.

RELATED: The 5 Best Mario Sports Games (& The 5 Worst)

But what title can be crowned champion? This article will provide an overview of each entry in Nintendo and Camelot’s hit spinoff series, ranking them from worst to best.


8
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash Mega Mushroom

This title remains largely overlooked – and while the lack of sales of the Wii U is a factor, it is not the alone due to the game’s lack of success.

There really is little to this obscure version of Mario tennis apart from its vibrant and sometimes funny Mega Mushrooms visuals. But most even see these bonuses as more than a benefit, as they are quite overused and overpowered. It implements the Wii U GamePad in a practical way, allowing a second player to have a closer and clearer view of their own character’s perspective.

At the end of the day though, Ultra SmashThe multitude of gadgets, rudimentary content, and spotty online support tend to bog the game beyond redemption for the most part.

7
Mario Sports Superstars

Mario Sports Superstars Tennis Exhibition Baby Mario Serving

In a very anti-Nintendo movement, this 3DS title seems to emphasize quantity more than quality, with a mishmash of sports that include tennis as well as soccer, golf and even horse racing. While this diverse lineup may appeal to some players, the somewhat shallow nature of most events – and shallow online play – detracts from its longevity. Many critics and fans consider him a jack-of-all-trades, even if these takes have their moments of pleasure.

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Not only are most of the games fairly straightforward, Bandai Namco and Camelot don’t particularly take advantage of the unique hardware. Still, many have pointed out its local multiplayer features as a highlight and its variety of sports games that are at least proficient.

6
Mario Tennis Open

Mario Tennis Open 3DS Stage Decor Mario 1 Classic

Even in the early 2010s, there was no ideal way to play a portable version of Mario tennis it was not somewhat archaic and flat. For that alone, the 3DS game deserves some accessories, especially with its subtle but strong stereoscopic 3D visuals that add to the experience.

The game uses more 3DS bells and whistles, including QR codes, gyroscope movement, touchscreen functionality, and online multiplayer. At the same time, the emphasis remains on a solid and enjoyable tennis experience. Some fans and critics have considered Mario Tennis Open as quite dull, rough around the edges and missing on the country front in particular.

Still, there’s a lot to enjoy in this colorful and varied version of Mario tennis – including a neat minigame that lets players interact with an on-screen projection of classic Mario.

5
Mario Tennis (Game Boy Color)

Mario Tennis Gameboy Color level robot clear

For a game limited to early ’90s tech, Game Boy Color’s interpretation of Mario tennis is surprisingly decent, especially for a game that apparently requires 3D visuals. Sure, tennis depth is a bit limited considering the D-pad’s lean hardware and stiff controls, but Camelot does a lot with a little bit in its 2001 version of the franchise.

While it’s still tennis, the game takes a refreshing deviation from the norm. It focuses on new characters Alex and Nina, who embark on a quest to topple tennis champion Mario. In addition to fairly solid tennis mechanics, the game also explores unexplored terrain by venturing somewhat into the realm of RPG.

It gives the impression of being a little Golf history prototype more than a Game Boy version of the classic N64. While purists of the original may be put off by this, Camelot makes this version stand out by using its RPG pedigree and creating a fun and unique experience.

4
Mario Tennis: Power Tour

mario tennis power tower

With (relatively) more powerful hardware to work with this time around, Camelot shines even more with its GBA rendition of Mario tennis. Even as the DS began to grab some of the limelight, the studio proved that GBA gear can still do the job with this vibrant, fun and in-depth tennis game.

Power tower continues the trend towards manual watering role play elements while emphasizing the solo experience. Those expecting a thrilling party may be disappointed, especially compared to the fan favorite Power tennis, released a year ago. Still, fans of the show’s more campaign-focused RPG direction are almost sure to get a kick out of this one.

3
Mario Tennis (N64)

Mario Tennis n64 Mario in the service of Troopa

Dating back two decades, this designer may not have aged too well compared to some of his Mario tennis peers. Either way, it’s hard to deny the fun, nostalgic charm, and still solid mechanics of this addicting sports game. Being the humble first entry in the series, Camelot and Nintendo haven’t strayed too far from the beaten track, keeping the focus on fun and fundamental tennis.

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Although there is a touch of nuance, Mario tennis balances arcade elements (such as objects) with a fairly fast pace it gives it more appeal than a tennis simulation. The handful of moves are diverse enough that seasoned players will shine, while the controls are simple enough that almost anyone can jump in and get the ball rolling. These features complete one of the most enjoyable 4-player games the N64 has to offer.

2
Mario tennis aces

Mario Tennis Aces Pose Mario Cinematic

Apparently hear the criticism leveled at Ultra Smash, Nintendo and Camelot have responded convincingly with this explosion of a board game for Switch.

Ace Much of the problem solved fans had with its predecessor Wii U, delivering a more solid and robust online mode, cutting down on gimmicks a bit and adding a diverse palette of gameplay options. This includes a Swing mode controlled by movement, co-op challenges, and even a dynamic single-player campaign closer to handheld games.

The range of shots – including Flashy Trick Shots and Epic Special Shots – allow ample chaos and skill. At the same time, the game retains much of the accessibility and instant fun for which the series is known.

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Mario power tennis

Mario Power Tennis themed level Donkey Kong with the Kremlins

The beginnings of GameCube Mario tennis categorically ticks most of the boxes, with a sleek layout, robust content, and addicting gameplay. Mario power tennis is home to a plethora of multiplayer options, colorful terrains, fun mini-games – including a wall painting game – and a huge range of distinct characters.

Power tennis draws on the successful formula of its predecessor while polishing and fleshing things out with more depth and variety. While the main campaign is slim, it can take several dozen hours for the finalists to cover the whole pitch and earn every freebie the game has to offer.

Camelot offers broad arcade flair and quirks like powerful hits and game-changing item battles. At the same time, the studio offers the possibility of reducing things to a more basic and classic tennis game. The result is a well rounded party title whose appeal is about as wide as it gets.

NEXT: 10 Best Nintendo Sports Games, Ranked


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