Traditionally, Mario and Sonic come together a year before the Olympic Games to participate in their own Olympic crossover. This time it is up to the Nintendo Switch to sponsor the new title of the series and for SEGA this game is even the most important of the year.
Yes, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games have a long history, but they also have fans. It appears that Mario and Sonic have anonymously received strange console games. Although anonymous, we refer to Bowser and Dr. Eggman who planned to lock the plumber and the blue hedgehog in the games, but the bad guys are out of luck and the four are imprisoned in a virtual world. That is the story behind the presence of the various game stars at the Olympic Games.
The only way to escape is to get gold medals, so you’ll have to compete for glory in this 8-bit version of the Tokyo ’64 Olympic Games. For their part, Luigi and friends will also try to free them by earning their medals in the real world.
It is through this story mode that you get to know all the events that the game offers, both in 3D and the 2D retro version. Mario and Sonic chase the villains Bowser and Dr. Eggman in the retro world, while everyone else competes in the Tokyo 2020 disciplines. It’s nice that they have chosen this approach and you can see it as a kind of tribute that combines the new with the old.
When you are not busy with events, the story unfolds through dialogues between characters. It is nice to see how nobody was aware of the Bowser / Dr. Eggman plan and how people wonder who or what created a game like this. From there, everything around the story weakens a bit. The story mode is an introduction to each of the available events with a little humor in between. You can also find a number of cards scattered across the map with trivia from the Olympics or the characters, just to give an impression of what happened.
Most events – or mini-games – require good timing and the right button combinations. An example of this is gymnastics, where you have to press the button at the right time to achieve the best score. Timing is the crucial part of the mini-games and you will probably have to repeat them a few times to get a perfect score. Some other athletes are more direct. This is the case with disciplines based on skills such as fencing or karate. The latter is one of the funniest in the entire catalog when you play with friends.
Mario and Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games can be called a collection of disciplines. We call them disciplines, because in story mode you also unlock some mini-games that have nothing to do with the Olympics. A variant of “Where is Wally?” but with Toads instead is one of them.
Similarly, we have 3 “Dream Events” that add a little chaos to the mix, such as Dream Karate. If you take down an opponent in this small game, you have control over the panels where they fall and whoever controls more panels wins. Not everything has to be that traditional, so the Dream Events add a little more variety and freshness.
You have more than 30 events to choose from in total. Moreover, you can play locally, on a split screen with a joy-con for each player or online. There are even rankings to view the best scores in the world.
If you would ask what is most fun between normal or motion controls, then it is still a difficult choice. Some games feel nicer with buttons but others are funnier or just better with the motion controls such as the obstacle sprint. Either way, both options are always available, so there is a way for every type of player to have fun.
Mario and Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is a very complete package that gives you hours of fun as long as you have some company. This type of games is usually played with friends or online, so it is difficult to return only once you have finished the story. Visually it all looks great and the 2D history is a wonderful nostalgia. Mario and Sonic offer hours of multiplayer fun again and this time with an interesting story mode as a bonus. However, the game remains the best with some good friends to share the fun with.
Mario and Sonic are back in a very fun and rewarding multiplayer package. The singleplayer is as always the weakest link but the story is a fun time waster.