Mario Tennis: Complete Switch Controls Guide and Tips for Beginners

Serve up an ace in Mario Tennis with this controls guide and gameplay tips.

Joining Mario Golf in expanding the Super Mario franchise to the sporting realm, Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64 was a nice mesh of the hyperbolic nature of Super Mario games and the intricacies of tennis.

Rereleased as a straight port within the Expansion Pass for Switch Online, Mario Tennis is sure to reignite the competitive juices while keeping it light, thanks to the aesthetic style.

Below you will find the complete controls guide for Mario Tennis and some gameplay tips further down.

Mario Tennis Nintendo Switch controls

  • Move: LS
  • Topspin (Normal) Shot: A (press twice for more power)
  • Slicing Shot: B (press twice for more power)
  • Lob Shot: A then B
  • Drop Shot: B then A
  • Flat and Smash Shot: A + B
  • Charge Shot: Hold A or B
  • Cancel Charge Shot: ZL (while charging)
  • Pause: +

Mario Tennis N64 controls

  • Move: Joystick
  • Topspin (Normal) Shot: A (press twice for more power)
  • Slicing Shot: B (press twice for more power)
  • Lob Shot: A then B
  • Drop Shot: B then A
  • Flat and Smash Shot: A + B
  • Charge Shot: Hold A or B
  • Cancel Charge Shot: Z (while charging)
  • Pause: Start

Note that the left and right analogue sticks on the Switch are denoted as LS and RS for these Mario Tennis controls.

What each character type means in Mario Tennis

Hold ZL/L while selecting a character to make them a lefty.

There are five different types of players in Mario Tennis:All-Around, Technique, Power, Speed, and Tricky.

  • All-Around players – only Mario and Luigi – are the most balanced of all players, mixing technique, power, speed, and trickiness at the ideal levels. These two are perfect for beginners.
  • Technique players – Waluigi, Peach, Daisy, Toad, and the unlockable Shy Guy – give up some speed and power to have the most precise shots in the game.
  • Power players – Bowser, Donkey Kong, Wario, and the unlockable Donkey Kong Jr. – excel at power shots as their typing suggests. They have the worst technique and speed, but reinforce that with the most challenging shots to return, including serves.
  • Speed players – Baby Mario, Birdo, and Yoshi – are the quickest at zooming around the court, seemingly able to reach every ball. However, they have the worst power in the game, making it more difficult for them to return longer balls and causing their smashes to be weaker than others.
  • Tricky players – Paratroopa and Boo – are adept at putting a little bit of character on their shots. They excel at slicing and curving their shots. They tend to be faster than power players but are slower than the others.

This means that you should use your character’s strengths to your advantage. Avoid charged shots with Speed characters, for example, and slice your way to victory with Tricky players.

How to save in Mario Tennis

Anytime during a match, click the Pause Menu (+ on Switch, Start on N64) and scroll to Save (the last option). You can save your progress to one of three slots.

You can also create a suspend point on the Switch through the Suspend Menu (press – on Switch) and then by clicking Create Suspend Point. Simply start the game again and opt to Load Suspend Data.

How to unlock Shy Guy and Donkey Kong Jr. in Mario Tennis

It will take time, but you can unlock the two characters by winning the Star Cup in singles (Shy Guy) and doubles (Donkey Kong Jr.). You will need to first beat the Mushroom Cup and Flower Cup on your way to the Star Cup.

Once you win the Star Cup with each set-up, you will unlock the characters to use. They are key to unlocking more tournaments.

How to unlock more tournaments

This will be an arduous task. You will first need to unlock Shy Guy and Donkey Kong Jr. before proceeding. After unlocking those two, you will then need to win all of cups in singles and doubles with all of the characters.

After that, when selecting a player, hold R to make them a ‘Star’ player. This will unlock the Rainbow Cup, which then unlocks the Moonlight Cup, and then the Planet Cup. If you defeat these three tournaments, you will unlock Ace difficulty for the CPU.

It might be beneficial to try the other modes like Ring Shot and the Piranha Challenge to help you become more creative in your approach to the game – especially if you keep losing at specific points. While not necessarily a training mode, these can help you to become more familiar with each character’s quirks.

There is also an Exhibition mode, in which you can play endlessly to improve those skills.

How to set-up an online multiplayer match

You can play with up to three more players by having them join you online, unlike in the past, where the revolutionary four controller ports took care of that issue. Of course, your friends will also need to have both the Switch Online pass and the Expansion Pack to play.

Once everyone is online, the hosts need to go to the N64 menu. From there, select ‘Play Online.’ Here, you can set-up a room and invite your friends to play Mario Tennis on the Nintendo Switch. The intended recipients should receive an invitation, allowing them to join your game.

How scoring and winning works

While Mario Tennis follows the standard 0-15-30-40-Deuce-Game scoring system of tennis, where it differs is in the number of sets that one needs to win to advance.

For every cup through to the Rainbow Cup, first and second-round matches are only one set, while the final round is a best-of-three. For the Moonlight Cup, the first round is one set, second round three sets, and final round five sets. For the Planet Cup, it goes three-three-five.

As the difficulty increases with each opponent and each cup, you will really need to hone your skills to beat your foes and tournaments, particularly with the accelerated pace.

Now you can show your mettle as the player with the most wicked forehand or backhand in Mario Tennis on the Switch!

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