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Mario Tennis Aces trailer gets a timely guest star: Rafael Nadal

Rafa prevails thanks to replay technology

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

This is a rather slick trailer. Nintendo snagged Rafael Nadal, the 16-time Grand Slam singles title winner and sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, to face Mario in a spot for Mario Tennis Aces, arriving June 22 on Nintendo Switch.

But Rafa is playing on hardcourt, not clay, where he has been so dominant throughout his career (yesterday he dispatched Diego Schwartzman in four sets to reach the semifinals of the French Open). In a sequence showcasing all of the super moves available to the player — the zone shot, the trick shot, the special shot — Nadal prevails thanks to a feature that I didn’t see in the demo: the ability to challenge a ruling.

Mario Tennis Aces apparently has a Hawk-Eye feature allowing players to challenge a ruling. I either didn’t see this or didn’t know this was available in my playthrough over the weekend. But it should come in handy on those panic-inducing zone shots and special shots, where you’re lining up a pinpoint placement against a timer. In this case, the line umpire made the correct call (why wouldn’t he?) and can go home knowing Hawk-Eye didn’t beat him.

The rest of the trailer shows off Swing Mode, another feature that was not in the demo that ran this past weekend. Swing Mode lets users employ the Joy-Cons like a racket, somewhat similar to the tennis game in the Wii Sports series. The blasé Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash couldn’t feature this because of the Wii U controller, but with the ability to separate the Joy-Cons, it’s back.

Anyway, it’s nice to see Nintendo put some marketing oomph behind this midsummer title with an A-list name like Nadal. For more on Mario Tennis Aces, check out our impressions from the weekend demo.

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