Sub-5.0 Scores for Mario Tennis Unwarranted «
I’ve been playing Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for a good while now, and frankly, it is not the greatest game. However, I have been reading reviews of others, and while I agree with almost 100% of what they are saying, I’m shocked by the scores I’ve been seeing. Most notably for me was the 3.5 the game scored from Nintendo World Report. Now, to be fair, I agree with everything the author said in his article, and in fact, have a lot of respect for the author himself. In my own experiences with the game, however, I’ve come to realize that Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is the perfect example of how there is a HUGE disconnect between reviewers and consumers.
Our review for Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is not live yet, but I know we will be scoring it around 6.0/10. The game isn’t great, but at the same time, it is tennis. You get what was advertised, and if you love Tennis and Mario, you will probably enjoy this. The only way to get a higher score would be to recreate Mario Tennis on the GBA in full 1080P glory!
A couple things should be noted here. This game is not getting bad reviews because it looks bad, or because of graphical issues, or lag problems. It’s getting bad grades because of content.
So yes, the game lacks modes, lacks venue options, lacks character selections, and many other things. But it is still a damn fun tennis game when played locally. Here is where I see the disconnect. I’ve been running a weekly, hour long “Game Reviews Seminar” for 8-10 students in grades 5 and 6. For a few weeks now, these kids have been putting Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash through its paces. They played every mode, tried all the characters, and played on all the courts. Last night we turned the game off and sat around the table to discuss the game. After all, the purpose of these events – part of a larger kids program run out of a local church – was to let kids have fun and teach them something valuable, in this case, critical thinking and writing.
The reactions I got were not 100% positive, which is why I myself could never justify a 7+ score. However, none of these kids felt Mario Tennis was disastrous, and all would eagerly ask for it as a Christmas gift. Naturally, the sub-5.0 scores and my experiences with kids – who, perhaps, this game is ultimately aimed at! -highlights the disconnect between reviewers and consumers. Reviewers – myself included – look at the franchise, look at past titles, look at the options, and assign a score. When it comes to Nintendo products especially, a good segment of the consumer base doesn’t care what options Mario Tennis: Open had, or how the character options don’t line up with offerings in other Mario Nintendo titles. They care about the product and whether it is fun. When played locally, Mario Tennis is fun.
Frankly, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is far from perfect, but for these 8-10 kids at least, it was entertaining for hours upon hours. What do you think? Are we seeing a greater disconnect between reviewers and consumers, especially when it comes to more causal Nintendo players?