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Game review: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

11 Nov 2019
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Nintendo has always been the king of party mini game compilation games. Since the release of Mario Party, Nintendo fans have been waiting for a new party game full of mini games they can play alone or with friends. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is exactly that.

Story

The main story is just as weird as it is interesting. Bowser and Eggman team up to take down Mario and Sonic. Their scheme involved them building a retro game system that will trap Mario and Sonic inside of it. In a classic villain failure style, the game console ends up sucking Mario, Sonic, Eggman and Bowser in and sending them back in time to 1964. This was the last time Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games.

Somehow the characters decide that their only way to escape was for their 8-bit and 16-bit selves to compete in the 1964 Olympics and win. Meanwhile in the present time, Luigi and Tails team up to save their friends. They also somehow decide that the way to do that is for them to compete in the 2020 Games. While this is a strange concept, I think it was a clever way to introduce the retro style games.

Story mode gives single players a reason to play the game alone, however it is not perfect. A lot of the cut scenes were repetitive. Every time they met a new character, the entire story was narrated all over again. Once the story mode is over, there is really no more motivation for single players to play the game again.

Story mode includes 10 bonus mini games, five retro ones and five modern ones. They can be replayed from the main menu after you beat them in Story mode.

The Games

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 has 21 3D Olympic games and 10 retro style games. The games vary from good games to boring ones. Games like the 100m run, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles and the long jump are classics that are easy to play and are always good fun.

Things start to beef up when you look at skateboarding, karate, surfing and sport climbing. The surfing and karate games were underwhelming; however the skateboarding and the sport climbing are fun. Sport climbing ended up being my favourite game this year.

The cherry on top this year was meant to be the three Dream Events: Dream Racing, Dream Shooting and Dream Karate. Dream racing was the only game I actually played again after trying it for the first time. It is a skateboarding race that takes place in a Sonic Universe themed track. The mechanics are really good and it felt like a skateboarding version of Mario Kart.

Dream Shooting was the most disappointing of the three. It has terrible motion controls and the gameplay gave me anxiety.

Controls

The controls in Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games 2020 are versatile. In most games you get to choose between using two JoyCons for motion control, one JoyCon for motion control or plain old simple buttons.

While the motion controls work just fine, I didn’t like them. You need to practice a few times before perfecting them and that was not something I wanted to do.

I found myself scoring better when playing with buttons, so I stuck to that. However, the motion controls would be an absolute hit in parties.

Verdict

Overall, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 is a decent game with a decent number of mini games and a not bad story mode. It would make a good addition to any family or group of friends that enjoy competitive party games.