|System: Wii U|
|Release: November 20, 2015|
|Players: 1-4 Players|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.|
There are a few unlockables to be had, either by performing repetitive tasks or via in-game currency that you earn simply by playing. Most of these are “star” versions of the regular cast and new types of courts. I saved up my coins to grab the Ice Court, thinking that could lead to some fun shenanigans, but I was disappointed. It was just a teeny bit slippery, but mostly felt like playing on any other court. The crowd didn't even look any different – at least throw some of those adorable Super Mario series penguins in there, Camelot!
Other than these unlockables and the ability to rank up an amiibo partner (my Yoshi amiibo had way more important Smash Bros. data on him, so I didn't try ranking him up), Ultra Smash lacks the RPG elements that were once a mainstay in Mario sports titles. You can't customize your players at all – Toad will always just be fast and Rosalina powerful – and you can't change your racket or the ball.
I couldn't tell you why Ultra Smash is so bare-bones, a fact that comes through in everything from the fanfare-free startup to the lack of options and character flair. I just know it feels like a half-hearted Mario skin on top of a basic arcade tennis game. Mario sports titles are usually far more feature- and fun-filled than this. Big tennis fans will probably enjoy the Mega Mushroom-free mode, but I see most other players (particularly children) getting bored quickly with the title.
If you're looking for a casual tennis game to play with friends, Wii Sports Club Tennis is still where it's at. You can grab it for your Wii U on the eShop for under $15. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will do ya if you're big on using buttons instead of swinging Wii Remotes or if you absolutely must perform fancy shots. Just know that this is a full-priced game that says, “Here, play some tennis,” and not much else.
Date: November 18, 2015