I got Mario and Sonic at The Olympic Games a long while ago so it’s cool to finally get to play it. I did dabble around with the game briefly before now but the intense difficulty and length of the games temporarily caused me to retreat. Going back to the game, it’s still quite difficult but fun nonetheless. It’s just made solely for multiplayer as the 1 player option just won’t have a great deal of entertainment value in comparison.
There’s no plot of course as you are here for the games. There is a reasonable amount of variety with the games although there isn’t quite as much as the game will have you think. You unlock a game after each tournament but these are effectively just longer versions of the games you already have. Of course I’m still glad to have more options so it’s not as if this is a bad thing. For the first game in the series it’s a rather solid start. You’ll be spending most of your time in this game in the Circuits. There are 5-6 tournaments in each difficulty level. Progress as far as you can in order to beat them all and unlock all of the games. The tournaments tend to have 4-5 games inside. You are given a token which you can use to double your points for claiming victory in one event per tournament, but use it wisely. If you don’t come in the top 3 at the event where you’ve bet your chip, it will be lost. If you use it right, you can afford to bomb one event as long as you do well in the other ones.
Another mode is Mission Mode. There you play one event at a time and accomplish the objective. Finish in 2nd place is one for example. It’s a pretty nice little mode although I didn’t play it too much. I completed Shadow’s missions and called it a day. It’s a nice way to add in some replay value though. At the very least you can’t say that this game was lacking in content. It’s got enough to keep you busy for a very long time and then some. You can unlock emblems, music, and of course the games. Completing all of the tournaments should also take a while. I’d say we’re looking at a game that’s at least 10 hours which is really solid for a Sports title. Although I guess sport titles usually last a while if you think about it. Lets talk about the games.
The first one is the Swimming event. This one’s pretty fun as you just push and pull the Wii Remote/Nunchuk as fast as you can while pressing whatever the screen tells you too. It takes fast reactions to complete, but is certainly a game of skill. There is no luck to be found here and it’s pretty satisfying. I was able to wrap my head around this one pretty quickly. Next up is Archery which isn’t nearly as good. The instructions were unclear and it felt heavily luck based with the wind factor and all. I may just not be properly appreciating the nuance of this event though, but it was one of the weaker ones for me.
The sprinting event is the best one. It’s very simple, just shake your remotes as fast as you can and get to the goal. You’ll get a real workout here, especially in the longer versions. You also have to jump over obstacles in some versions, throw a baton to a teammate, or even use items to slow the others down. I enjoyed these levels quite a bit and wouldn’t have minded seeing more of them in the tournaments. It’s just an event that you can get behind really quickly and we never did get that Track and Field Mario game that I always wanted.
There are also the jumping/spear throwing minigames. Essentially you have to make a throwing/jumping motion as you approach goal. The problem is that the game is incredibly unclear and misleading on when you have to time your jump so you have to do it quite early in order to get it right. Otherwise the game penalizes you. I figured it out the hard way after several shots, but with something like this you should be able to tell where you have to jump on the spot.
There’s also sword fighting which is pretty decent. I’d enjoy it more against a human opponent, but any kind of combat is always hype in my book. It plays out like a Pirates of the Caribbean game as there is a lot of parrying and feints. There’s also a Trampoline minigame which is handled really well as you press a lot of buttons and go for a high score before you finally land. I feel like this was my best minigame as I always beat the computers here. Finally we can’t forget about Ping Pong. That game is a classic and certainly one of the best ones. The computers don’t just roll over either so you really have to earn your win here. Watch out for their slams.
There are quite a lot of games here and for the most part they were all solid. There were a few lackluster ones, but they were in the minority. While these are all of the main minigames, there are also several variations of each one so the gameplay stays fresh. I do have to question what Nintendo was thinking when they made the A.I. though. I seriously can’t imagine a kid being able to beat most of the tournaments. The computers are simply too merciless and you have to really compete to take them down. I beat all of the tournaments under Beginner and Advanced, but Master Class is really something else. Even Beginner was really tough at first and I lost a few times there. Having a practice run before doing the real minigames would help a lot since I didn’t understand quite a few of them.
The graphics are really good and certainly hold up well. It’s definitely nice to see Mario and Sonic racing side by side. I feel like Sonic was still faster, but Mario did a good job of keeping up. The music is also on point to be sure. The technical aspects of the game were certainly on point and as a result this is a very complete game. You’ll have a lot of fun playing it for sure and at this point you can get the game at a good price. I will say that the game is a lot more fun when you’re playing with someone else though. As with most party games, the minigames are made for multiple people. With the emotionless computers, it’ll feel a little repetitive after a while. They’re also surprisingly good as I mentioned earlier so while you may post a score that you feel would have won the bout in multiplayer, that may not be the case here.
Overall, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is a lot of fun. If the game didn’t have a multiplayer mode, then I would take off one star so keep that in mind if you’re buying it to play by yourself. I’ve played a lot of party games over the years so I can definitely confirm that this is one of the better ones. Actual effort is put behind it and there were no glitches that I could see. I already own the next game in the series so I’ll definitely be playing that one pretty soon. I remember thinking it was a significant upgrade so I’m excited to check it out.