“Spending an Hour With” is where I go through either a demo or, as is the case with this game, a game that is freely available for a limited time, and share my thoughts based on the hour I played.

At the time of publication you can download Mario Tennis Aces on the Switch for free and play it to your heart’s content for a few more days. So I did that, took an hour to play through some of it and now here are my thoughts of one whole hour of Mario Tennis Aces.

I love tennis it is my third favourite sport behind football and blitzball but tennis video games are pretty hard to get excited about. I remember spending a few weeks playing one of the Top Spin games on the Xbox 360 and really enjoying it but quickly realising that there isn’t too much variety in what you can do with tennis. I haven’t played a tennis game since so the thought of playing a good fun tennis game is appealing to me and Mario has had some success with taking certain sports and making them fun since they do not have to adhere to the laws of reality. Mario lives in a cartoon world and so they can add cartoony elements to tennis.

Mario Tennis is a good tennis game but I have one issue – I do not know anyone else who has this game. This is a perfect game to play with a friend and have them hate you when you gloat about how much you beat them, causing them to storm out of the house as you bask in silent glory as your last remaining friend removes themselves from your lives.

However, since all my friends do not seem to have this game I will have to wait until I alienate them. Until then I just have to annoy the computer players. I played through some of the story mode where Wario and Waluigi accidentally release an evil tennis racquet (stay with me) which can mind control anyone who touches it (STAY WITH ME), it tries to trick Mario into holding it but Luigi gets their first and is kidnapped and now Mario must go rescue his brother via the power of tennis.

The gameplay is 80% regular tennis but there are super moves that would likely be illegal in regulation tennis. It helps turn the game of tennis into more of an arcadey experience while still being a decent simulation of the sport. Occasionally stars will pop up on the ground and if you press the R button (I think) you will do a powerful shot that if the opponent doesn’t block well will reduce the health of the racquet. The racquet health is a little annoying though – if it runs out you automatically lose. I have little sense of timing and so I have lost challenges because I cannot time my block shots.

The story is a mix between matches against various Mario characters and tennis based challenges usually revolving around a couple of mechanics which can help give the game a little bit of variety. I haven’t played through a lot of the adventure mode but I could see it getting old after a while – I’m not sure if I HAVE to go through it to unlock characters and courts but since I do not own the game this isn’t really relevant to me yet.

Some of the courts I’ve played has gimmicky elements to it. The match I had against Donkey Kong had Piranha Plants in the middle and if you hit the ball at them while they pop up they will shoot the ball back at you. It’s annoying since DK can hit the balls into them and they will only aim them at you but I got through it eventually.

HOWEVER, the question is – WILL. I. BUY. IT?

EH, maybe? If it’s on sale for a good price and I do not have anything else I want I might pick it up but there is a list of games coming out in the next three months that I am currently having to save money for so I might buy this game eventually as I have enjoyed my hour with it but right now I am….not going to buy it.

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