Mario Sports Mix is a game that definitely fell to the backburner on my wish list for a while. It always looked like fun but at the same time not fun enough to buy. I think it’s because when Mario focuses on one sport you know that you’re going to get something amazing. When it’s a bunch of different sports in one game then you assume they will probably be a lot weaker. Still, I finally bought this game and I would say it’s pretty fun. It’s certainly not touching most of the other Mario sport titles but it’s a game you can certainly have fun playing with some friends. The replay value will be considerably lower if you play by yourself though.
So lets talk about each of the sports here. First off is Basketball since that’s definitely the biggest draw here. At least it’s the sport that pops out at you from the cover. It’s pretty fun even if it may not be quite as strong as Hoops 3 on 3. You do have all the rules in and making the shots is satisfying. I think making the block a little more complicated by having you shake the Wii remote is unnecessary but I’m sure they wanted to push the motion controls a bit. The game is fun but one issue here is how long each game takes. You can be playing the same game for a very long time as there is no mercy rule and each score shuts down the clock. After I was winning by a massive amount I just started running around to waste some time. I think a mercy rule should always be enabled to prevent that. It’s not the standard though so I suppose I shouldn’t expect this game to have that necessarily.
Part of why the game feels so long is because the computer A.I. just isn’t very good on most of the settings. Either they’re broken hard or extremely easy but there’s not much of a middle ground. Then you have Dodgeball which may be my favorite from from the 4 sports. It’s never really gotten a big video game before and it’s fun to run around the field and try to hit someone. The controls can take a little getting used to but once you’ve got them down, you’ll be doing well here. It’s a game that is easy to understand and makes a lot of sense the whole time. It can also be a bit on the longer side but if you’re dominating the opponents then you can make the game quicker. There’s no big time limit you have to wait on after all, just knock everyone out instead.
Next up is Volleyball and that one’s fun. I would say that the minigame for it in Mario Party is still better but it’s hard to top that one. The Mario Party version is fairly iconic after all. This one has the motion controls to worry about as well, but it’s still fun to coordinate your moves and try to land a spike. You’ll be thinking of Haikyu while playing as you remember those hype volleyball moments. It may not top the first two sports for me but it’s another fun one into the mix.
Finally you have the Hockey game. It’s the weakest of the 4 but still makes for a good time. The controls are good and while it may be hard to score, that’s true for all hockey games. You get used to the goalie being super powerful after a while and just come to accept it. Either way the computer won’t be doing much against you so you can keep landing hits until you finally win. At that point you will have completed all 4 of the games.
Aside from the main sports there are also some minigames that use the same gameplay but switch things up a bit. They’re effectively using the game’s gameplay without the time limit. They’re fun and it’s a nice little touch that shows how the developers were trying to add some more content and variety in here. I appreciate that and the minigames are good so you can certainly have fun spending time there.
In general I would say the game has a good amount of replay value. You can play the sports in exhibition mode or in tournament mode. You have the minigames and of course the multiplayer content as well. So that’s enough to keep you playing for a very long time. Most multiplayer games by default have a lot of replay value for that reason. I’m still not prepared to put this up against most of the mainline sport games since I think they’re just on a different level, but this is a very capable game from start to finish.
The graphics are solid and will remind you of the classic Mario games for the Gamecube. It’s definitely got that kind of artstyle going for it. It’s also really nostalgic to see the characters one more time. It feels like a while since we’ve gotten some big Mario sport titles. Golf doesn’t really do it for me and the latest Tennis titles have gone in too hard with the gimmicks. We need a return to basics like this. The soundtrack is also good although it doesn’t really stand out the way it does for Mario Kart. Maybe next time they’ll be able to get in some really iconic tunes to go along with the game.
Overall, I enjoyed Mario Sports Mix. It’s a fun game and you can get it for a pretty decent price nowadays. If you enjoy Mario games and like your sports then this is one game that you don’t want to miss out on. If we’re lucky then maybe they’ll make a sequel at some point. Without the Wii Remote holding it back, I suspect the next ones will really be able to go all in on the fun gameplay. The sky’s the limit there and of course the game I’m really waiting for is Mario Football. One day they’ve gotta come out with that right?