REVIEW: Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
For better or worse, Mario and Sonic have easily lent themselves, and their large supporting casts, to supplemental use in a variety of game genres. The most famous and popular of these are, of course, the kart racing games. But rarely does the chance arise for both Mario and Sonic to compete TOGETHER. They have, of course, been on opposite sides in the Smash Bros. series, but outside of that, the opportunity doesn’t come along very often. For the last decade or so, however, the chance has come along every few years when there is an Olympic Games scheduled to take place. At that point, SEGA releases a Mario and Sonic game built around the events and locations of the upcoming games.
And, so it is that Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is released this week. The game features all of the events taking place at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 games. You can compete in each event with up to 3 other players, both off an online.
You have a choice of control styles for each event, either using two Joy Cons, one Joy Con or buttons only. The control scheme you choose determines the actions you will need to perform to win. If you are a novice, or just not that good at using analog stick and motion controls, I recommend buttons only.
Aside from the myriad Olympic events, this game also has a story mode. In the Story Mode, Bowser and Dr. Eggman are up to their old tricks again, and an evil scheme is hatched involving a handheld game system programmed to replicate the Tokyo 1964 Olympics. Eggman and Bowser hope to trick Mario and Sonic into getting sucked into the game system. Sufficed to say, things do not go quite according to plan, and Dr. Eggman and Bowser get sucked in as well. Afterwards, Luigi and Tails find the game system and discover their friends’ predicament.
Meanwhile, Mario, Sonic, Bowser and Eggman find themselves in side the game, which, since it is meant to be a retro game, means that each of our heroes takes on a retro appearance. That means for Sonic and Eggman, it’s back to their early days on the Genesis, and for Mario and Bowser, it’s back to their 8 bit NES looks. Since they’re inside a game based on the Olympic Games, it only makes sense that they would have to compete against each other.
And, so they do, in glorious 2d events based on the events from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, back in the “real world”, Tails and Luigi also compete in events against Bowser Jr. and Eggman Nega, meeting a cast of characters from the Mario and Sonic fmaily along the way along the way. To navigate both worlds, you move from venue to venue on an extremely detailed map, showing all the venues and locations in both 1964 and 2020 Tokyo.
The graphics on this game are beautiful, the controls are tight and it is very cool exploring all of these different venues and events. But, the one thing that has stood out to me from the beginning, ever since a first played this game at a special preview in September, all the way to getting my hands on the finished game, is how much fun I have had playing it. It is truly a blast to play, and it has such an amazing whimsical quality about it. Every event has it’s own nuances and each one offers a unique playing experience. Alongside the main Olympic events, in both eras, are minigames sprinkled throughout, that are available to play anytime after you clear them. Like the Olympic events themselves, these offer varied and unique playing experiences. On top of all of these are the special “Dream” events, which are set in special fantasy settings and offer completely different experiences from the “realistic” Olympic events.
Here is the list of all the events included in the game.
- 10m Platform (Diving)
- 400m Hurdles
- Gymnastics – Vault
- Kayak Single (K-1) 1000m
- Long Jump
- Shooting – Trap
You will also dash, climb, jump, surf and more in these fast-paced 3D events:
- 110m Hurdles
- 4 x 100m Relay
- Canoe Double (C-2) 1000m
- Discus Throw
- Equestrian – Jumping
- Football (Soccer)
- Gymnastics – Floor Exercise
- Javelin Throw
- Karate – Kumite
- Rugby Sevens
- Skateboarding – Park
- Sport Climbing
- Surfing – Shortboard
- Swimming – 100m Freestyle
- Table Tennis
- Triple Jump
The fun even goes beyond the limits of reality with all-new Dream Events:
- Dream Karate
- Dream Racing
- Dream Shooting
In addition to all of these events and the minigames, you can also learn fun facts about the Tokyo Olympics, then and now, through various trivia questions sprinkled throughout the different venues.
Now, although this game is an awesome single player experience, it’s even more fun with friends. Multiplayer is available offline as well as online for up to four players total. All events are available for multiple players.
The different control schemes, either two Joy Cons, One Joy Con, or buttons only, allow every one to play in the style they are most comfortable. This game also supports handheld mode, so it can be played on the Switch or Switch Lite.
But, the thing I keep coming back to, and the point I must emphasize is that this game is REALLY FUN TO PLAY! It is a perfect party game and an incredible single player diversion. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is available now for Nintendo Switch at a Suggested Retail Price of $59.99
Pick up your copy by following the link to your favorite retailer
My thanks to Ved and everyone at SEGA PR for the review copy of this super fun game.