A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mario Tennis Open is a family friendly tennis game for Nintendo 3DS with single-player and multiplayer modes. This game depicts tennis as a fun and challenging sport and promotes healthy competitive play among small groups. Online play allows kids to connect with friends and strangers, but does not facilitate communication. Note, though, that players' customizable Mii avatars can be shared in StreetPass mode. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Mario's first new tennis game in eight years, MARIO TENNIS OPEN for Nintendo 3DS offers both single and multiplayer modes. Fans of solo play can work through several short tournaments in singles or doubles format, choosing from several popular Mario universe characters with slightly different attributes. They can also play one-off exhibition matches and try a quartet of simple mini games that range from keeping rallies going through rings that hover in the air to novelty themed challenges, such as one that has players hitting the ball against a giant wall display across levels from the original Super Mario Bros. scroll, with points awarded for hitting goombas, coins, and other elements. Multiplayer modes are available for both local networks and online play, with players able to select courts and set their own rules. StreetPass play, meanwhile, allows players passing each other on the street to swap Mii avatars and then use them in matches and ring shot games.
Is it any good?
It may not have the universal appeal of other Mario games, but Mario Tennis Open bears the license’s hallmark accessibility -- including a clever gyro mode that lets beginners aim by physically shifting their 3DS -- and should prove fun regardless of whether you care much for the sport upon which it's based. That said, it may not have the longevity you'd expect. With no career or story mode, fans of solo play haven’t much reason to keep playing after working through the few short tournaments and mini-games.
If, however, you happen to enjoy local and online multiplayer matches, you'll likely get a lot more out of the experience. Human rivals are far more engaging than artificial opponents. Plus, the game's shop offers a wide variety of outfits and pieces of gear with varying attributes, which gives kids who like to show off the stuff they’ve collected good reason to keep playing and earning the virtual coins needed to buy them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about tennis. Did this game make you want to grab a racquet and hit the courts in the real world? Do you enjoy playing singles or doubles? Does your preference in the game reflect your preference in the real world?
Families can also discuss online safety. What would you do if you encountered an online predator or bully? When is it best to simply ignore them, and when should you tell your parents or an adult about what you've encountered?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Math: estimation, patterns, probability
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, strategy
Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, self-assessment, self-reflection
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: May 20, 2012
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.