The Mario Tennis Aces Stage That (Almost) Bested Me

The Mario Tennis Aces Stage That (Almost) Bested Me

Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch has a level that emerged as my own personal hell, and I am still silently cursing Kamek.

Games wouldn’t be fun if they weren’t challenging. Sometimes there’s no better feeling than grinding your way through a tricky part of a game and emerging victoriously on the other side.

However, the end doesn’t always justify the means. For every rewarding experience that comes from playing a game, there is often a Blighttown, a Dr. Wily, or a Nergigante lurking in the distance. These tough enemies or locations in games often serve as “walls”– steep difficulty spikes that make even your most valiant efforts seem futile. Surprisingly, I had one of these experiences in Mario Tennis Aces.

Yes, you read that correctly, Mario Tennis Aces. From a distance, it may seem like the game is a lighthearted romp featuring Mario and company, however, underneath its bright Nintendo exterior lies a mechanically robust, challenging game. While players can complete most levels in the game’s Adventure Mode within the first or second attempt, I found myself hitting a wall after the fourth boss battle. This was no ordinary wall; it was an impenetrable wall, a stopgap that would ultimately burn up all of the precious hours of my Saturday morning. It was a wall that almost soiled a perfectly good day and almost led to a pair of broken Joy-Cons.

You may be wondering the identity of the architect of my despair, the nefarious character from the Mushroom Kingdom that put me through this heartless trial.  You’re probably guessing it was the villainous Bowser, the greedy Wario, maybe even the lanky Waluigi. If these were your guesses, you’re gravely mistaken. The architect of my despair was none other than Kamek.

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Yes, Kamek. A mere advisor to Bowser, a lowly bureaucrat, Kamek was the one that almost ruined my day.

One of the types of levels in Mario Tennis Aces‘ Adventure Mode is something called a Rally Challenge. Essentially, all you have to do is volley the tennis ball with your opponent a set number of times. If you fail to return the ball or hit the ball out of bounds three times you lose. This is all well and good. However, when you reach Kamek, the game asks you to volley the ball four hundred times.

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Sure, you get a sizeable point-multiplier if you and your opponent have a volley streak. However, it doesn’t make things easier. For starters, Kamek’s shot is inherently tricky to grasp — it’s often hard to tell where the ball is going to end up off of the racket unless you’re familiar with Kamek’s repertoire. Additionally, the match takes place on a ship, with the mast of the ship obstructing the center of the net. Following the laws of physics, hitting the ball into the mast will make it bounce off it the appropriate direction. However, if you hit the ball too hard into the mast, it will often go out of play. When all is said and done, Kamek’s unpredictable shot, combined with the protruding mast in the center of the court, are some prime ingredients for a headache.

After an entire morning of heated volleys, I ultimately completed the level. When I finished, I was surrounded by coffee-cups, empty water bottles, and a sleepy cat resting beside me. There was shouting, laughter, and genuine joy in the room. Kamek was defeated, and nobody could say otherwise. I’m not yet sure if completing the level justified my torment, however, I’m happy to continue on with Mario Tennis Aces, a game I’m very much enjoying.


Stay tuned for the DualShockers review of Mario Tennis Aces from my colleague Michael Ruiz. The game is now available for the Nintendo Switch, and you can pick it up on Amazon.


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