Originally released on the Gameboy Advance, Mario Power Tennis gets a welcome release on Nintendo's Virtual Console for the Wii U. Players take control of Max or Tina, both new students trying to make their way up the ranks at the Royal Academy, a school for tennis hopefuls.
Soon we find that the star pupils of the school have been beaten in a match with some mysterious masked aces. A veil of secrecy falls over the teaching staff, who refuse to reveal the identities of the winners. The only way Max and Tina can find out the identities of these elusive racquet masters is to win the Island Open, a prestigious tennis tournament.
After a slightly tedious walkabout that ends in the Royal Academy restaurant, your character begins a series of exercises with coaches and participates in matches against higher ranked players in order to work towards a good enough rating to enter the Island Open. After gaining access to this tournament, some familiar Nintendo characters make an appearance as opponents.
Mixing traditional Mario Tennis gameplay with RPG mechanics rewards players who practice regularly, allowing players to level up in different areas, working on serve, stroke, volley and speed among other characteristics. Initially the game seems a touch on the easy side, but by the time you reach the island open there are serious challenges to be found, not least in some of the addictive minigames. The more you play these, the more points for your Power Shot you build up.
The visuals still look bright and clear despite their age, and the soundtrack is one of Nintendo's more memorable efforts, making a cute and fun package well worth a look if you've been starved of racket action since the Wimbledon final.