Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games on Nintendo 3DS teams up SEGA’s iconic blue hedgehog hero with Nintendo’s friendly plumber for a fun filled 50 competitive sporting events. The game is split into three Olympic modes; single player, multiplayer and story mode.
Within single player, you can select highlight match in which you can play any one event as a single round, or you can play a medley match, which allows the player to compete in a selection of Olympic events back to back to gain a top score. If you’re feeling creative you can even create your own medley match or play within one that is pre-made. There are a whole host of lovable characters to choose from within medley match and they are all set into five person team categories; Heroes, Girls, Tricksters, Wild ones and challengers.
Story mode consists of bite-sized mini narrative stories of Sonic, Mario and their friends who hook up to try and stop Bowser and the evil Eggman from seizing control of the Olympics and completely destroying London with their deadly poison fog. The story is great with some brief and enjoyable cut-scenes, although it is cut up into small strips to stretch the storyline out a little. You do get to see a variety of different characters though, both good and evil. Some of the story-lines are set within levels in which you must win or defeat an end of level boss in a sporting challenge in order to move to the next story chapter.
Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games offers one of the best selection of sporting mini games so far on the Nintendo 3DS. Every event is measured and graded with an easy, normal or hard medal, ensuring that the player keeps coming back to improve their score. The events themselves are simple and most are played with the stylus or some major button mashing. All of the events test your skill and reaction times, and offer you the chance to retry, if your first effort wasn’t good enough.
With so many sports to choose from, I spent a great deal of time retrying each to gain the best score and hopefully come first. Here’s a brief rundown of those events I enjoyed the most…
Let’s dive right into the deep end with some aquatic sports. Choosing your favourite hero, you take to the water for a 100m freestyle Paddle fingers event. Laying the 3DS system flat down and touching the hand icons, you simply have to kick both feet by tapping left and right alternatively on the touch screen to make your hero swim across the swimming pool. Swim too fast and you burn out fast. I simply loved this event, and watching everyone swimming in the water, it was fun seeing them splashing around.
Once everyone had dried out from the swimming lanes, I tried out the 110m hurdles. In this event, the challenger heroes line up to race against each other as they jump over a series of hurdles. You would think it would be a matter of pressing a jump button to leap over hurdles, but it’s not. In this event, you have to actually memorize a displayed sequence of A, B, X, Y buttons and press them in that order to complete this event. This is all against the timer, so you must be quick and your reactions very responsive. I thought this was a great game and really got you thinking as you raced around the track.
After a leaping event, it was time to check out the shooting event. This is where you can choose from one of the wild one characters such as Knuckles, Bowser, Vector or Donkey Kong and brush up your sharpshooter skills. This event uses the gyroscope to move the 3DS system around in order to shoot targets that fly out from the ground using the R shoulder button. It’s a bit like clay pigeon and is excellent fun. I spent most of my time in the shooting range, either shooting moving targets with my pistol or competing in archery where I had to hit the bulls-eye to score high.
The court events consisted of table tennis, tennis and basket ball, of all which have the characters hitting balls or shooting some hoops. While the majority of the games use the stylus and touch screen, some events allow you to blow into the microphone. The sailing involved a pair of characters of your choosing, guiding a small yacht across a swimming pool. Using the circle pad to guide your boat across the water, you simply blow into the microphone to blow some wind into the sails. Occasionally you’ll come across a small whirlpool that will deter your journey and other times you’ll come across red panels which boost up your speed. It’s quite difficult to try and navigate the direction of your yacht and blow at the same time, but it’s a lot of fun and I should imagine rather funny to look at from another person’s perspective.
Time for some horsey action as I take the girl characters for a spot of show jumping. In this event, you’re placed into a showjumping arena and you have to jump a series of fences. Using the circle pad to move left and right and stay within the yellow guideline, you simply tilt your 3DS system and press A. It was a little tricky at first, and I can see the 3D effect causing problems within the event, due to the console moving around.
The gymnastics area allows your character to chalk up and head to the bars and rings. This event sees your hero swinging on bars using the stylus to draw hoops onto the touch screen, which sends your character spinning around the bars for the ultimate gymnastic performance. The last minute prompt at the end of your sequence requires you to grip the bar and make a refined landing. Again, you have to draw your loops quite accurately and not too quickly as it sends your character spinning out of control. I also wanted to see what would happen if my character had missed the prompt to grip the bar and it resulted in a squashed blue hedgehog on the floor.
While the majority of the sporting events were fun and there is such a massive selection to choose from, some of them were quite difficult to tackle. But with enough practice, I found myself repeating events in order to gain a better score and medal. But any game that has you coming back to try again has, in effect, gained your attention and will provide hours of enjoyment.
The multiplayer mode enables you to play with three friends in Local Play, which adds to the excitement. Or if they don’t own the game, Download Play comes in very useful for some competitive action. The Record Log shows you your online rankings as well as play data and medals. Within the game you can also earn tickets through sporting challenges and these tickets can be used in the special badge machine, which has you spinning a dial on the front to release a capsule ball containing a badge. There are 200 badges to collect that you can display on your profile.
Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is a great game. With more than 50 different sporting events to participate in, you’re really spoilt for choice. Some are a little repetitive, but the majority of the sports have you fully engaged in button jamming, stylus flicking or frantic blowing into the microphone. SEGA have got the London Olympic Games covered and I reckon you’ll have an incredible amount of fun trying out them all.