Nintendo characters are a multi-talented bunch. Seems like they have no problem taking on whatever life dishes out, whether it's a call to save the world, or an invite to pad out a team in sports-ball.
Mario Tennis Aces for the Nintendo Switch is the latest gathering of Nintendo alumni, and it's honestly a well-deserved chance for the crew to mingle, forget about their troubles, and just relax. That's why Nadia and Hirun took the time to pick each participant apart and laugh at how silly they all look in their tennis get-up. Nice visors. Dorks.
16: Bowser Jr.
Hirun: Fuck Bowser Jr. Do I feel bad saying that about a child? No, because Bowser Jr. isn’t a child, he’s a monster. If a child is a reflection of their parent, then Bowser has some questions to answer. Bowser Jr. is undoubtedly the most annoying character in Mario Tennis Aces by a country mile, being able to zip back and forth to deflect shots with ease, all from the comfort of his robot underling. That’s right, Bowser Jr. isn’t even the one playing tennis, he’s just watching as his robot does all the heavy lifting. Certified hack.
Nadia: Oh my God, how do you even—Like, what the—Sheesh. Poor Junior. Flay me alive if you must, but I like Bowser Jr. The spiky little bro's dedication to making his papa proud just warms my heart. Bowser and Bowser Jr's interactions even add personality to something as rote and boring as a video about parental controls on the NIntendo Switch. I'll always stick up for this little dude, even if his introduction in Super Mario Sunshine was—well, weird. Though to this day, I don't think Junior calling Peach his mother is nearly as suspect as Peach answering the accusation with "Oooooohhhh…?" instead of "What the hell are you talking about, you thrice-mutated Ninja Turtle? Get out of my face."
Hirun: I don’t even know where to begin with Spike. I don’t even know who, or what, Spike is. A Google search tells me that Spike is an enemy from Super Mario Bros. 3, but Mario Tennis Aces tells me that Spike is a prick. There’s nothing more infuriating in this accursed game than watching a small green gremlin scamper back and forth across the court, rebounding your most powerful shots with ease. Spike seems to have power and speed on his side, which only makes him one of the more annoying opponents you can face.
Nadia: Spike is three decades of trust issues squished down in a squat, detestable package. Most of Super Mario Bros 3's wildlife is divided into two phylum: Enemies you can stomp, and enemies you can't. Spike is both. If you don't time your jump right, this reptilian kidney stone pulls a spiked orb out of his mouth and provides Mario a soft landing on a bed of nails. Spike, you suck. Not surprising to learn you cheat at tennis, too.
Hirun: We’ve had to place Toad near the bottom of this list, not because of his actual tennis skills (which are remarkable for a man of his size), but because there’s an issue of cheating in Mario Tennis Aces. Look to the sidelines of the court in Mario Tennis Aces, and you’ll see fellow Toads as line judges. How you can expect a fair game of tennis against Toad with this blatant collusion going on, is beyond us.
Nadia: By that logic, aren't human judges also guilty of collusion? I think we know what needs to happen: Wimbledon umpired by dogs. It's the only way things'll be fair. As for Toad, I'm just impressed he doesn't have a heart attack on the court. Have you heard his voice? By all rights any mortal creature who smokes that much shouldn't be alive.
Hirun: The above also applies to Toadette. But one of these characters is trembling with fear throughout the main story of Mario Tennis Aces, and it sure ain’t Toadette.
Nadia: I maintain the relationship between Toad and Toadette is the last pure thing in the universe. I dare not say anything that might besmirch it.
Hirun: He’s just a plumber. Let’s be honest here, Mario can’t be much good at his day job of being a plumber, if he’s off on the other side of the world slumming it up, playing tennis with his pals Luigi, Peach, and Toad. Get back to your day job, Mario. You’re not even that good at tennis.
Nadia: Or maybe Mario has time to play tennis (and go go-karting, and compete in the Olympics) because he's so damn amazing at plumbing, doing one annual job is enough to fund his leisurely pursuits. Like, maybe Nessie gets sucked up into Buckingham Palace's poop-pipes, and Mario charges the Royal Family an astronomical amount of money to dislodge her. Then he's free to play tennis or whatever for as long as he likes.
Hirun: We’ve been on a journey with Luigi recently. The world was recently cursed with knowing the size of Luigi’s penis, thanks to our sister site VG24/7, and the lesser of the two Mario brothers doesn’t exactly cover himself in glory in Mario Tennis Aces. Luigi’s never exactly been a courageous character, but to fall on the floor in despair after losing a point in the game is a bit much. Pick yourself up Luigi, we know/think you’re better than this.
Nadia: Don't believe in yourself, Luigi. Believe in me, who believes in you.
Nadia: Daisy is my favorite Mario princess outside of Rosalina, who's more of a Queen Mother of the Universe than a Princess. Her tomboyish manner and disregard for traditions and decorum befitting of royalty really speaks to me (because I am totally royalty). Oh, and Daisy's general interest in sports means she's—surprise—pretty good at tennis. You go, chick.
Nadia: Bowser is my go-to Turtle King for all of the Mario series' extracurricular activities. That's because most of the Mushroom Kingdom's denizens are wee slips who Bowser can smear across the pavement like a toddler mushing around a banana. It's no different on the tennis court, where Bowser's lack of speed means nothing when he's got a backhand that's more powerful than God's own revolver. I always bet on Bowser, and that bet usually pays off.
Hirun: I like to imagine that Mario Tennis Aces takes place after the events of Super Mario Odyssey, where (SPOILERS) Peach ditched both Bowser and Mario in favor of a life on the road. Since then, Peach has taken up a life of playing tennis professionally, even if she does have to sometimes play alongside the mustachioed plumber that she dumped.
Hirun: Wario held us at gunpoint and forced us to put him this high up on our list of the top Mario Tennis characters. There’s literally no other explanation for how he’s at number seven.
Nadia: Oh come on Hirun. Wario acts tough, but his manipulation techniques leave a lot to be desired. In the '90s, he tried to get us to "Obey Waaaaario!" and "Destroy Mario!" as part of Super Mario Land 2's ad campaign. How did that work out for him? Hint: It didn't. I'm just putting him at number seven because I admire the fact he hangs out with such a cool group of friends in the WarioWare games. Man, I want to be friends with Ashley the Witch. Why aren't I friends with Ashley the Witch?
Hirun: We love Yoshi here at USgamer, mainly because of his dopey demeanour. Yoshi is like the old family dog, that’s now somehow aspired from being punched in the head by Mario to playing tennis professionally. How Yoshi’s managed this is beyond us, but we’re still cheering him on.
Nadia: Yoshi carried Baby Mario—loaded diaper and all—across Yoshi's Island in search of Baby Luigi. A lesser being would've run for the hills the first time Baby Mario belted out his predator-attracting wail. Yoshi is made of stern stuff. Acing the grueling mechanics of tennis is nothing to him.
Nadia: Don't let Rosalina's motherly demeanor fool you. One flick of her pinkie finger, and suddenly Mario's wearing his own face as underwear. I maintain Rosalina is one bad day away from becoming the Mario universe's own Anthony Fremont, and the fact she hasn't flipped out is proof something more powerful than Rosalina is looking after them all. Hey—notice how the Lumas do Rosa's dirty work in Super Smash Bros, Mario Tennis, et al? Those twinkly bastards know what's up. Anyway, Rosalina's in our top five because we just don't want to risk her flipping out.
Nadia: Sometimes Boo drifts effortlessly through walls and objects, and sometimes he's a solid as a cliff face. I don't know how Boo turns itself "On" and "Off," and I doubt these little ghosts will ever give up their secrets. Not because they're rude, mind you. I honestly believe they enjoy the idea of talking to company. They're just very shy. However you want to interpret Boo's anti-social nature, can we just celebrate their willingness to overcome that shyness and show up on the tennis court? Now that is spirit.
3: Donkey Kong
Nadia: When I die and stand before the Throne of the Lord, I intend to apologize for one thing, and one thing only: Doing nothing while the country of my birth conceived and developed the Donkey Kong Country cartoon. So the gorilla can play tennis. Big deal. A fancy performance by a trained ape can't erase atrocities. Uh, well, I guess he's good at hitting the ball, so that's going to have to count for something on this list. Crud.
2: Chain Chomp
Hirun: Who wouldn’t want Chain Chomp to achieve his dreams of playing tennis as a pro? Yeah, laugh all you want at the sentient ball holding a tennis racket in his mouth, but at least he can actually play the game as a pro, cutting loose from a society that wants to restrict him to a life of patrolling levels in Mario games. I’ve never been entirely sure whether Chain Chomp believes he’s a dog or not. He’s certainly got the bark to match, and who are we, as mere mortals, to deny Chain Chomp his life long dreams of playing tennis?
Nadia: Chain Chomp is indeed based on a dog: Specifically, a bulldog that terrorized Shigeru Miyamoto on his walk home from school every day. As someone who grew up on Super Mario Bros 3 (the game Chomp debuted in), it's still a bit weird to see Chomp be chummy enough with Mario to get an invite to a friendly tennis competition. His snaggle-toothed design and repeated, silent lunging kind of makes him terrifying in Mario 3. Oh, and Chomp can also break his chain in that game. If Mario's in the way when the wolf breaks free, he'd best make peace with whatever deity he prays to. If Chomp passes him by, however, both are allowed to live their lives peacefully. Huh. Maybe Chomp dreamed of being a tennis star before he slipped his chains. Way to overcome your murderous tendencies, Chomp. You're doing great, sweetie.
Hirun: It’s the Year of the Wa, baby! After being cruelly snubbed by Nintendo in 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey, Waluigi is back in serious style in Mario Tennis Aces. With every little movement, no matter how big or small, you’re always guaranteed to hear the iconic “wah” from the man himself. Mario Odyssey already established that the upside down L means “winner”, and all Waluigi ever does in Mario Tennis is win.
For his super special shot ability, Waluigi catches a rose in his mouth. There’s now absolutely nothing that Nintendo can do this year, that’ll top establishing Waluigi as a sex machine.
Did we mention that he moonwalks across the court?
Nadia: Waluigi's great. Trust me. I'm a certified Waluigi historian.
Mario Tennis Aces out on the Nintendo Switch right now! Read our review of the game, or zip on over to our Mario Tennis Aces guides for tips and strategies. You can't completely rely on the inherent talents of the Mario crew to get the job done, right?