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Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 6 - 2019

Going for gold.

 
There was a time when the idea of SEGA and Nintendo’s mascots appearing in a game together was as likely as Donald Trump becoming president of the USA. Well, time moves on and all things come to pass, and so in this day and age seeing Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario turning up in the same video game is no surprise, especially when it comes to celebrating that four yearly sporting event, the Olympic Games. Both Sonic and Mario, along with loads of their buddies, have been performing at their own Olympic Games now for some years, and now, way ahead of the actual summer Olympic Games, we travel to Tokyo. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 brings Mario, Sonic and a host of other well known characters to take part in a wide selection of mini-games themed around various sports, all in the spirit of good-natured competition.

 


 
With the Mario & Sonic Olympic games being around for such a long time, it would be difficult to imagine any gamer not knowing what to expect. At its core, we are talking about a collection of sports-themed mini-games that have been created not only to show support for, and cash in on, the next Olympic Games, but also to provide relatively simple multiplayer fun. More on that fun in a minute though, as Mario & Sonic Tokyo actually has a nice little story mode for the single player.

 
Exclusively on Nintendo Switch, a console which screams instant multiplayer fun, any mini-game collection will likely get some love. However, with the launch of the supremely portable and much more single player Switch Lite, a big title such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would miss a trick without some form of single player offering. To this end, there is a story mode that actually weaves a fun tale. Bowser and Eggman have teamed up, as they would, to create a retro games machine to trap Mario and Sonic. Things go awry however, and the result is that all four characters are sucked into the machine, taking them back to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. To make things more interesting, it also reverts the characters to their original 8-Bit and 16-Bit sprite versions, which is a nice touch of nostalgia. Following this theme, the player will have to compete in retro-styled events, of which there are ten. However, it doesn’t stop there as Luigi and Tales will be battling away in the modern Olympic Games events to try and free their friends.

 
The story mode is pretty impressive and, while not all of the mini-games are equal, provides a solid block of single player entertainment. Playing through the mode, players will find lots of fun facts regarding the stars of the game and the Olympic Games themselves. They will also be able to unlock a collection of ten new mini-games that are only available in the single player game or through the menu once they have been beaten.

 


 
Despite the enjoyable single player mode, I would doubt anyone would pick up this game for that alone. The real meat of the game comes with the multiplayer, which runs across 21 standard events alongside the ten retro events. The standard events include many returning favourites, from Badminton to the Triple Jump. There are however four new events included in Tokyo 2020 – Sport Climbing, Karate, Surfboarding and Skateboarding. The skateboarding plays like a lite version of Tony Hawks, while the surfing understandably feels like an even simpler version of that, on water. They are both quite good fun though. The karate is a tense brawl, while the sports climbing is a surprisingly skilled race to get as far up a climbing wall as possible. In all, they are nice additions to the series.

 
To top off the collection of events are three Dream Events. I must admit this number is a little disappointing, but the quality is there are they provide the most fun for returning play. Dream Shooter means running around an arena shooting targets, while Dream Karate is a grid-based game where the player tries to change the panel colours to their colour by knocking down opponents. Finally there is Dream Racing, which is an incredibly fun hoverboard racing game.

 
Each of the events come with their own instructions and a variety of control schemes are available for many of them, including motion controls for the more casual audience. A lack of tournaments or playlists is a missed opportunity, but different events have the options for local split screen or pass and play, linking of multiple Switches or online multiplayer.

 


 
With the Olympic Games 2020 looming, though still a good few months away, there was no doubt that the blue hedgehog and plumber would once again team up. An enjoyable single player mode along with a collection of more than 30 events to play with others does mean that this is the largest Mario & Sonic Olympics game so far, making it good value for money to fans of the series. However, missing ways to tie the events together for multiplayer fun does lower the longevity for party play. Still, the events are mostly fun, especially when playing with others, and those looking for an enjoyable collection of multiplayer mini-games with an Olympic theme will have a blast with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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