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Smash The Competition In Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

The weather’s getting colder, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dust off our virtual rackets and tear up the courts with Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom pals. For a plump plumber, Mario’s actually a pretty sporty guy. When not saving Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser, he golfs, go-karts, plays baseball and soccer, and even competes in the Olympic Games. But one of Mario’s most beloved pastimes is Tennis, and much has changed since he first appeared as a referee in 1984’s Tennis on the NES.

Technically Mario’s seventh round of tennis (the series really didn’t get started until 2000’s Mario Tennis on N64), Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U offers a major facelift that takes you closer (the camera is literally much closer to the action) into the game than ever before. Like any Nintendo title worth its salt, it’s also eye-poppingly pretty, boasting a dazzling colour palette and some nifty moves. But it’s not all about presentation—there’s plenty of fun to be had during the cold months ahead, so here are six ways to smash the competition in Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash.

Team up with your amiibo

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Don’t feel like teaming up with a human friend? Not a problem, you can tap any compatible amiibo to your GamePad in order to team up against an AI opponent or as part of an online doubles match. After playing a few rounds with your selected amiibo, it’ll even earn “Perks” to make it even more fierce on the court.

Play with and/or against friends

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While AI opponents offer a sufficient challenge, local and online multiplayer is where you’ll really practice your swing. Whether you’re online or on the couch with friends, mastering jump shots, count slices, and top spins is essential to crushing your opponent. It’s also fun to make them curse a lot in frustration, which makes for a somewhat jarring contrast next to the game’s adorable visuals. Also, feel free to use the GamePad as a super handy second screen.

Knockout Challenge

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Ultra Smash lacks a traditional career mode, but in its place we get Knockout Challenge. Not unlike your typical tournament, you’ll come face to face against all of the game’s characters, with the difficulty level cranked up with each subsequent match. After 15 consecutive “Knockouts,” you’re character will transform into a “Star” version of themselves—ooh la la.

Mega Ball Rally

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If you’re the kind of player who likes to keep score, Mega Ball Rally is the mode for you. See how many times you can knock the ball back and forth between two players as it gets faster and faster and smaller and smaller. It’s like a way over-caffeinated Pong.

Mega Battle

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If you’re a fan of the many augmentations Knockout Challenge has to offer, you’re going to want to check out Mega Battle, which is a new addition to the series. Here, you’ll get plenty more opportunities to enlarge and enhance your character with Mega Mushrooms or find those lovely glowing spots that allow for powerful, virtually unstoppable strokes.

Good ol’ Classic Tennis

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Those more into the customary aspects of the sport can hit up Standard Classic Tennis and Simple Classic Tennis. The former still retains all those swing-boosting glowing spots, but nixes the Mega Mushrooms, while the latter does away will power-ups altogether.  With all of these groovy options, surely you’ll find the right mode you.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is out now on Wii U. Game on!

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