Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo is a sports video game based on the 2020 Summer Olympics. The game is the sixth instalment in the Mario & Sonic series and is exclusively available for the Nintendo Switch.
The game features a variety of events found at the Olympic Games, with the likes of swimming, gymnastics and various track and field events all returning from previous Mario & Sonic games. Tokyo 2020 also includes a host of new events, with the likes of skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing all making debuts to the series. In total, there are 25 different playable events within the game, in addition to 10 2D events from the 1964 Summer Olympics.
Gameplay varies with each event, with some sports such as boxing and triple jump simply being a bit of a button mashing combination, compared to sports such as archery and discus throw, which require a certain level of skill. Despite a few of the sports being fairly similar i.e. javelin and discus, each event is slightly tailored to differentiate from one another and as a result, no two modes ever feel the same. Visually too, the popping colours and animations for each event are smooth and really bring the game to life.
Undoubtedly, my favourite events within the game have to be football and rugby sevens. Granted, these are arguably my favourite sports from the bunch, but I was really impressed with how seamless these sports play out. Football is hugely fun and at times is reminiscent of the Mario Strikers games from back on the GameCube and Wii and it does beg the question, why haven’t we seen a Mario Strikers game since 2007?! Similarly, rugby sevens absolutely captures the essence of the sport in its simple yet brilliant gameplay and its franticness at times really sets it apart.
The game includes an additional 2D mode, based on the 1964 Summer Olympics, featuring 8-bit and 16-bit styles for Mario and Sonic. These modes are played using button controls only and the overall gameplay is fairly decent. The 2D modes offers a nice throwback to games of that era, but in all honesty, they feel like a bit of a gimmick shoehorned into the game. I’d much rather have had a couple more standard events added to the game like volleyball or basketball instead.
Ultimately, the 2D modes feel like they are added into the game to pad out what is a fairly lacklustre story mode. The story mode follows Mario and Sonic as they compete against Dr Eggman and Bowser in a series of events from 1964 and 2020. The story mode is at times tedious and its dialogue is so slow that I often found myself losing interest in the game. On the upside, some of the minigames within the story mode are inventive and fun and really do help to break up the laboriousness of the narrative.
Multiplayer is undeniably where this game thrives! Whilst Tokyo 2020’s toughest AI provide a fairly adequate challenge on certain events, playing with friends adds a whole new dimension to the game. Whether it’s working together as a team during the 4 x 100m relay, or competing against one another in the 100m dash, multiplayer brings a huge amount of replay value to the game. From battling against one another to break the world record in an event, to trialling out the best character combinations in team events, I certainly got my most enjoyment out of the game when playing with friends.
All in all, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a whole lot of fun. Despite its story mode leaving a lot to be desired, there’s plenty to enjoy about the varying events within the game. Some events are even that much fun that Nintendo should certainly consider branching them off into their own series!
Best played with friends, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 features a number of fun minigames which will keep you competing for hours.
You can purchase Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Amazon here – https://amzn.to/369PnDe (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases).