As kids, my friends and I would engage in some heated discussions/arguments on important topics of the day, like, whom between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior was better, for example. One of the more feverishly discussed topics though, was the debate on which console (SNES or MegaDrive) and its mascot (Mario or Sonic) was superior. As a long time Nintendo fan, I always sided with Mario, while my friends who were MegaDrive owners would choose the blue hedgehog.
Now, thanks to something that I thought I’d never see in a million years, Mario, Sonic and friends, all appear together in videogames. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games game is actually the fourth pairing between the two, and the third game in the Olympic Games series (the other game is Super Smash Bros. Brawl). The backdrop for this latest version is the city of London, the host for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
The game focuses heavily on London, with landmarks such as Big Ben featuring predominantly throughout. One of the game modes is even titled “London Party”. The objective in this mode is for players to run around the streets of London, competing in all sorts of zany and very entertaining mini-games, with the aim being to win as many stickers and completing your sticker book. While some of the minor games have no connection to the Olympic Games, the special events (which is announced via the chiming of Big Ben) usually is one of the many real or fantasy style Olympic events featured in the game.
There is the choice of completing one, two or three-page sticker books, unfortunately even the longer three-page books don’t take too long to complete (around 90 minutes is the estimate provided by the game, but I found that if one player dominates, it can end much quicker). If you play it enough, you’re bound to replay several of the events, but there are enough mini-games that the game should offer some variety each play through.
London Party is probably best played with friends, and while you can play this game by yourself, it’s designed to be played with others. I found this mode to be highly enjoyable when playing with three other people and you’ll find yourself really getting into the game as you compete to see who claims the bragging rights as winner.
The game includes a bunch of real Olympic Events as well as Dream Events, which are more outrageous and zany versions of the real events. The Dream Events offer the gamer an alternate option to the stock standard sport themed mini-games. Several events from the first Mario and Sonic Olympic Games return with some minor improvements, as well as some new events like the Football and Equestrian. If you’ve played Mario Strikers, you’ll find that the football game is very similar but a lite version. As well as these events, you’ll also get to participate in other smaller events in the London Party mode, like participating in trivia and chasing after a Shy Guy around the streets of London.
The games featured are aimed towards kids, so not overly complicated, but my friends and I (we’re in our mid 20s to early 30s) found the games to be quite entertaining, and fun to play.
Most of the game’s controls consist of waving the Wii Remote in either a fast and furious action or in a timed movement. Not too much variety there, and the similar style controls can become repetitive. For example, the controls for swimming and running are pretty identical, down to the use of a special power. The Dream Events do break away from the basic controls and utilise controls such as the Dream Trampoline event, where buttons need to be pressed in a certain sequence.
The game includes heaps of unlockables such as costumes for your Mii, as well as soundtracks from your favourite Mario and Sonic games. These are unlocked via scratch cards, which can be earned by competing in events or in the London Party. This feature adds replay value to the game, otherwise, you’ll probably forget about this game after trying each event once. There are some truly whacky costumes as well as some really cool Mario and Sonic themed ones to dress your Mii in.
It wouldn’t be a Mario and Sonic party game without them being joined with a host of their friends, and the game boasts characters such as Wario, Yoshi, Tails and my favourite, Daisy. Each character is grouped into a certain type that utilises their strengths – Power, All-Round, Speed and Skill. You may also decide to use your Mii in any of the events including the London Party mode, and as mentioned above you can dress them up in costumes that you unlock.
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games includes a great variety of mini-games that are highly fun to play, as well some of your favourite characters from the Mario and Sonic universe. This game is the perfect title to pull out when you have a bunch of friends over at your place.