Reach for a racket and get ready to head courtside, Mario Tennis Aces is coming online with a free beta version in June.
Nintendo's popular Mario's Tennis launched on the Virtual Boy back in 1995, with Aces becoming the seventh installment in the series this June on the Nintendo Switch. Fans already knew that online tournaments against other players would be a big part of the game, but now Nintendo is using it as a clever way to draw people in ahead of the game's full release.
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According to Nintendo, Mario Tennis Aces will briefly be available online from June 1 at 3pm UK time until Jun 4 at 11:59pm. Currently, only the UK timings have been announced, with no news whether the tournament will reach North America and Australia. The Aces tournament will offer a brand new gaming experience for the series by pitching players against each other online or single-player head-to-head with an AI.
The roster of characters is set to expand in Aces compared to previous entries in the series, meaning gamers can pick from staples like Mario and Peach or other choices like Chain Chomp and Boo. During the demo, only Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser will be available. Players who earn enough performance points however, can unlock up to another five characters. Also, those taking part in the Pre-Launch Online Tournament demo will be rewarded with a gift for Aces when it is released on June 22. Although it may not be the best prize in the world, tournament participants will be able to unlock Mario's classic dungarees as a cosmetic look for the full game.
As one of this year's bigger Nintendo exclusives to hit the next-gen portable console, Mario Tennis Aces is aiming to make a "racket" for Nintendo with the beta tournament and adopting a similar campaign to how Splatoon 2 and Arms did it last year. Aces will be the first Mario Tennis game to feature a story mode since 2005's Mario Tennis: Power Tour. Also, instead of just looking back at previous titles, Aces is heading into the future too.
Promising to add new mechanics thanks to the use of the Switch's Joy-Con, Aces will introduce a technique known as "zone shot," where players can more accurately send their ball while the game is in a paused state. Alongside this is a slow-mo mode and a new feature that can see everyone's favorite Nintendo faces actually inflict damage on an opponent's racket - prepare for some John McEnroe-style tantrums when Mario Tennis Aces hits the Nintendo Switch on June 22, 2018.