A game with Tennis balls

SEGA and Nintendo may have teamed up for such cross-pollination titles as Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, but that doesn't stop either side from having their cake and eating it. Case in point: Mario Power Tennis. Mario and chums first started hitting the yellow ball back and forth in the year 2000 on the N64 and there have been various versions of the tennis game since. Mario Power Tennis for the Wii is essentially the same game that was released on the Gamecube few years ago, albeit with some 'Wii' changes to secure new fans. The tennis difficulties range between Easy, Medium, Technical and Manual (the Easy setting renders all your Power Shots and dives automatic, whereas Manual makes you do everything by hand). Mario Power Tennis is pretty much what you expect it to be. Apart from the amusing opening scene with Bowser training Waluigi and Wario to oust Mario and Luigi at a public tennis tournament (Waluigi can sure sneer with the best of 'em), this game offers nothing that Wii Tennis or Sega Superstars Tennis hasn't already given the world. So its impact is blunted by a flooded marketplace, but that's not to say there's no fun to be had. You can play as any of the 14 characters in the Mario universe including Daisy, Koopa Trooper and, of course, the super Mario brothers themselves. Complete Tournament mode and you'll unlock four other bonus characters to play with. From the menu, simply choose between a singles or doubles match with up to four players taking part at the same time (or three CPU controlled players if it's just you in your jammies at 3am. Not that we've ever done this you understand). Next you are asked to choose your type of court (sand, clay or grass) from various different character-themed worlds - so in Luigi's Mansion Court you'll need to avoid ghosts getting in your way during a match, or avoid crocs in Donkey Kong's Jungle Court. Nintendo and the software developers at Camelot have put a lot of effort into these sorts of tennis inventions on the courts, but they tend to just get in the way of the natural flow of things and ruin your overall rhythm. There are no prizes for guessing that flicking your remote in different directions controls what type of hit you perform but one of MPT's strengths is that it has more choices in this regard compared to many other tennis titles.