Mario Tennis Aces doesn't let you play a regular game of tennis - and some people are so upset they're trying to refund the game.
The Nintendo Switch game came out yesterday, 22nd June, and while it's going down well with players (Martin called it "fun - if a little fuzzy and fiddly" in Eurogamer's Mario Tennis Aces review), it didn't take long before people noticed there's something very odd about the game settings.
It turns out, outside of the CPU tournaments, Mario Tennis Aces forces you to play a shortened version of tennis that follows the same scoring rules as tennis, but not the established game, set and match rules.
Regular tennis is broken up into sets. To win a set you either need to be first to win six games or, if it's a tie at six games each, win a tiebreaker. The final set (either best two out of three or best three out of five) must be won by two games, for example 6-4, 8-6, 10-8 and so on.
In Mario Tennis Aces, it's best of three games wins the match. There are no sets. So, you can win a match in just eight points. It's pretty fast-paced!
I presume Nintendo set Mario Tennis Aces to play this way to keep match length down to a minimum (pass the pad and all that). But what's odd here is there is no way to tweak the settings. You can't change the number of games that make up a set. You have to play best of three games and that's it.
It's also odd in the context of previous Mario Tennis games, which did let you tweak the game and set count in the settings.
There are some Mario Tennis Aces players who are pretty furious right now. Redditor Ventus55 said forcing quickfire matches on players "removes all the deep analysis you sort through when battling a tough opponent".
"It belittles the mental warfare you and your opponent are having as you try to outplay one another," Ventus55 continued.
"It dispatches the adaptability of techniques you need to utilise when your opponent has figured your playstyle out.
"It erases the incredible comeback victories you can have after being down 90 per cent of the match. It completely shatters the rewarding feeling of fighting tooth-and-nail for 20+ minutes to come out the victor by a tiny margin. It makes for very shallow gameplay for most matches because there isn't enough time to feel like you are developing a good strategy against your opponent."
Some players are so incensed that they're trying to get a refund. One such player is Redditor MarioKartGuy27, who said: "This sucks for Aces. It' a real game ruiner for me and I wish I could get my money back."
MarioKartGuy27 has tried and failed to get a refund. "I pushed that the game was not sold as advertised," they said. "You can't call it 'tennis' without it actually being a tennis game. Wouldn't you be pissed if you bought an NFL football game that only allowed for you to be on offense once or twice before the game was over?"
MarioKartGuy27 isn't alone. I've seen plenty of people on Reddit and on social media saying they feel hoodwinked by Mario Tennis Aces and regret pre-ordering the game for this reason.
Essentially, this debate about Mario Tennis Aces boils down to a question over what kind of game Mario Tennis Aces is trying to be. Yes, it has the word "tennis" in the title, so there is of course a reasonable expectation that the game should be a, well, tennis game - at least at its core.
But even a cursory glance at any screenshot, video or even the box art will tell you Mario Tennis Aces isn't a tennis sim. It's a game of trick shots and super shots, super jumps and slow-motion and, in the case of Waluigi, moonwalking. I've heard some say Mario Tennis Aces is more like a fighting game than a tennis game. Should it, then, have to play by real world tennis rules?
For some, this argument is moot, because Nintendo should have simply allowed players to adjust the game settings of Mario Tennis Aces to suit - as it did with previous Mario Tennis games. Why not let those who want to play a full set of tennis do so - at least in local multiplayer offline? I'm afraid it's another baffling decision by Nintendo.
Nintendo plans to add new characters to the game post-launch. Koopa Troopa is due out in July. Blooper is due out in August. Perhaps Nintendo will patch in some much-needed options to the game alongside one of these characters.
Until then? It's a case of game, game and match.