For those 3DS owners longing for a decent tennis simulation to sink their three-dimensional teeth into, Mario Tennis Open is not the game you are looking for.
I wouldn't even go so far as to call this a sports game. It's a sports-themed game that also happens to contain Mario characters. No knowledge of tennis required here, just a feel for rhythm and pattern recognition. Mario Tennis Open is very simple to pick up and play and has been deliberately designed as such. But this simplicity comes at a cost - boredom.
Either button presses or touchscreen commands are used to make tennis shots, but using the face buttons is far less awkward. If the top screen is lifted to a 90-degree angle then the game switches to an over-the-shoulder view which could have been amazing in conjunction with the 3D feature. But for some reason 3D has been disabled in this mode and the view tends to flick between this and the traditional zoomed-out view as the game can't seem to decide which view to choose.
When you realise that the easiest way to win a point is to simply wait until a coloured panel on the ground appears, then run to it and press the corresponding shot command, all the skill and tactics are removed from the game.
After that, playing through 100 or so matches is an exercise in monotony.
Thankfully, there are a host of fun mini-games and multiplayer to give Mario Tennis Open some life and playing a human opponent brings the tactical aspect back into the game.
Double fault Mario Tennis Open
Rating: 3 / 5 stars