• Developer: SEGA
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Release Date: November 5th, 2019 in North America and November 8th, 2019 in Europe
  • Price: $59.99/€59.99/£44.99
  • Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
  • Review copy provided: Yes

It may be only 2019 at the moment, but with the 2020 Olympic Games happening in Japan next summer, the hype is on! Like for every Summer Olympic Games, SEGA is releasing a new entry for the collaboration between the Mario and Sonic franchises, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 Tokyo. Does this game earn a gold medal or does it fall into 8th place? Let’s find out.
The Mario and Sonic series started in 2007 with the title, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games and featured a groundbreaking collaboration between the Mario and Sonic universes. Now after 5 other entries, a new one is being released.

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Premise

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 Tokyo is a party and sports game that has you playing as various characters from the Mario and Sonic series while competing in official Olympic events. These events are under the form of minigames. There’s over 30 of them including dream events and 8-bit retro events (I’ll talk about those later). If you’ve ever wanted to compete in the Olympic Games, this game gives you the opportunity to do that, no matter your age or physical capabilities!

Presentation

The graphics on this game look amazing. They’re clean, colorful, bright and sharp. You’re really getting the full HD experience even while using portable mode. There was a lot of effort put into these visuals and graphics. Alright, now let’s get into the meat of the game. You many modes available to you but we’ll focus on three: quick play, story mode and online. Each offers a cool way to play the events. Quick play lets you jump right into the action alone or with friends and play some events. Story mode just as it says, has you going through a single-player campaign. Online mode lets you play with friends and strangers all around the world. There’s also local play for friends who have the game as well and “My data” which lets you look at your stats and all. It’s also got some sweet trivia too (which I love).ANO3mFUm

The gameplay

First off, there are 20 characters, 10 from each series. Each character gives you certain advantages during events so choose them wisely. For example, Sonic and Yoshi give you better speed or movement during the events. Due to the number of events, I can’t cover all of them, but I’ll cover the majority of them and give my overall feelings on them as a whole. Let’s start, shall we? You have the 100m sprint which has you mashing “a” or swinging your joy-cons up and down. Pretty basic event but it’s a classic that impossible to hate. You’ll be constantly wanting to up your score. Then there’s triple jump and javelin throw. All fun events but don’t necessarily stand out. Then there’s the discus throw which is ok. 4x100m relay is basically the 100m sprint but longer and with more factors in play. It’s good. Now we have climbing. I didn’t like it. It was poorly executed. It was hard, and just not fun. You must choose which hold you want to grip onto. Then wait for the hand to be right on it. It felt like a drag and was quite difficult. Don’t even mention the motion controls. They were awful. Either my joy-cons had an issue, or it was the game because I was constantly re-calibrating. I had to constantly stretch my arms, and nothing worked. It was impossible for me to play using motion controls. It’s not an event you’ll be coming back to. Surfing and skateboarding are fun but lack dept. There’s only so many tricks you can do, and it left me wanting more. Overall disappointed because they had a lot of potential. Boxing and karate are fun. Nothing beats slamming or punching an opponent to the ground. The motion controls are fun but do have a few hiccups here and there. Still, boxing gave me the most fun using motion controls. Soccer (football) is a massive disappointment. They managed to make it slower compared to previous games. If it ain’t broke why fix it? I wasn’t expecting something along the lines of Mario Strikers, but I expected a minimum of enjoyment. It ends up being a slow and boring event that could’ve been much better with a few small additions including a faster pace. Luckily rugby, my favorite event, was fun and had some dept to it. There are some tactics involved, and it feels exciting. I loved it. I never liked rugby until I played this event. Well done SEGA on this event!ElEQ4pgP.jpg

Canoe and swimming are fun but once again aren’t too complex. Gymnastics are just bad. It’s pressing buttons and the sticks at the right time. Sure, the previous games did that but here you can’t choose the music. It’s also very quick and barebones. There’s following the rhythm compared to previous entries. They took a very fun event and skinned it down. I was very disappointed with it. Equestrian is fun as well. Feels good and shows signs of dept. Badminton was ok. I’ll admit, I’m not very good at it so I’ll take away all personal bias. It’s good but not great. Table Tennis is another event that has me fuming. It’s a mess. There’s no controlling your character or anything. Just control the racket and choose which type of shot you want to take and aim it. Another event where I went “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”. They made it worse when previous entries had it done right. It’s a confusing and disappointing event. Fencing and archery are always fun.UEZFW8Ey.jpg

In this game, there are three dream events. They’re disappointing. Dream racing lacks dept and is at times confusing. There are tricks to do and points to gain but you’re also supposed to win the race. There’s also only one course, it’s a little slow, and it’s disappointing sadly. Dream shooting and karate are fun but also lack depth and creativity previous dream events have had. Add the fact that there are only three makes for a disappointing experience. The 1964 events are a cool retro throwback to the 8-bit era and 1964 Olympics when Tokyo hosted them before. There’s fun to be had, and the art style is cool but they’re not as good as I had hoped. They lack diversity and there’s only 10 of them. They all feel similar. Such a shame there isn’t more diversity and originality with those events. Sure, the art is amazing, and everything feels great with the old retro style done right. The problem is, the events themselves are lacking. I have to add how disappointed I am that there’s only one match with each event. Before, for certain events like soccer, you’d play one round then move onto the finals. No finals here. It’s a winner take all. It’s small touches like these that I don’t appreciate. It made the previous games more exciting and gave you an objective to reach the finals. Overall the events are disappointing. They lack depth, they feel barebones, at times they were made worse than previous entries, and while there are some hits, you won’t want to replay most of them. I say this with regret because the interface and visuals are amazing. It’s just the inside of it is lacking.

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The other modes

The story mode has you going through a story where Sonic, Mario, Bowser, and Eggman are stuck in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. You’ll have to win these retro events and figure a way out. Luckily, the rest of the gang are not stuck. You’ll be able to explore Tokyo and visit the Olympic events’ locations. Of course, you’ll compete in these events as well. I did like the story mode. It was fun to explore Tokyo and it’s fun to play the events in random order. There’s some awesome trivia hidden everywhere (yeah, I’m a sucker for trivia), and the crossover dialogue was very cool. Seeing some characters interact was neat! I’m glad they included this here because it works and adds more to the experience. Online mode works super well. It’s simple, you can play with strangers or with friends, make rooms like in smash, and most of all, it works. I tried it out with a fellow reviewer, and it worked well. Overall online is awesome and adds to the longevity of the game. It’s an important piece I didn’t expect in this game and I like to see it.

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Verdict

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 Tokyo is a game that has a fantastic presentation with amazing and colorful visuals. Sadly, all of that is a façade to the barebones and lacking minigames. Sure, some are hits, but a lot aren’t. They feel lacking and they break you out of the experience. Only around 25% of the events support motion controls but it’s not even worth a bother since using them is poorly done. For a party game, I expected better motion controls, especially from a series that originated on the Wii. That said, there’s still fun to be had and you can live out your dream of being in the Olympic Games!

6.75/10

 

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