Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash feels just right


Expectations exceeded

Its reveal came and went without much enthusiasm during Nintendo’s lackluster E3 2015 Digital Event but, you know what, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smashis fun as hell.

I played a match against a random attendee and won through liberal use of the new Jumpshot ability and the occasional Mega Mushroom tossed onto the court. They’re straightforward additions that add a surprising amount of tension and energy to the usual back and forth.

After snapping up a Mega Mushroom, a short transformation scene rolls and it’s back into the action you go. (If that sounds jarring, it isn’t. I didn’t have any trouble working out the timing.)

While the E3 demo was super barebones, I can say with certainty that Ultra Smash feels great. I’m not sure what else if anything the game will do to differentiate itself from prior installments — there will at least be new characters, according to Nintendo — but it’s in a good place right now. Build up from that foundation and we’re in for a solid entry. More Mariosports excursions, please!