Mario Tennis Aces will be released June 22 on Nintendo Switch, the company announced today during its latest Nintendo Direct presentation.
It will be the first entry in the sports franchise to be available on Nintendo's latest gaming platform. The previous Mario Tennis game, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, launched in November 2015 on Wii U. Nintendo unveiled Mario Tennis Aces during a surprise Nintendo Direct Mini video in January.
A lengthy segment of today's Nintendo Direct focused on Mario Tennis Aces, with Nintendo detailing the gameplay features available in the tennis title. More than 15 characters will be playable in Mario Tennis Aces, among them Nintendo stalwarts such as Mario, Waluigi and Donkey Kong as well as more surprising characters like Chain Chomp and Toadette. The game will support up to four players in local and online multiplayer; Nintendo is promising online events and tournaments, with rewards such as special outfits and even bonus characters.
Mario Tennis Aces will offer multiple control schemes -- including motion controls for aiming a special type of shot, the Zone Shot. Zone Shots, which can damage an opponent's racket, are one kind of powered-up option that players have at their disposal. Taking three hits will break a racket, and if you have no rackets left, you forfeit the match. If an opponent times their swing perfectly, though, they can block Zone Shots and even the most powerful attack, the Special Shot. Another ability is Zone Speed, which works like bullet time, allowing you to get to balls you wouldn't normally be able to reach.
All those moves consume energy from a gauge that slowly fills up over the course of a rally. A much faster way to replenish it is to use a Trick Shot, which lets you jump to cover more ground, but also must be timed properly. If you don't want to deal with any of this stuff, you can play with "simple rules," under which only basic shots -- topspin, slices, lobs, etc. -- are allowed. And casual players can swing a Joy-Con controller to play the game.
Mario Tennis Aces will feature a story mode -- the first game in the Mario Tennis series to do so since 2005's Mario Tennis: Power Tour on Game Boy Advance. The campaign will feature missions as well as boss battles with enemies like a giant piranha plant. Camelot Software Planning, the Japanese studio behind Nintendo sports franchises such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, is developing Mario Tennis Aces.