Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Nintendo Switch) Preview

By Neil Flynn 11.10.2019 1

Review for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Nintendo Switch

It is hard to believe that there have been five other Mario and Sonic games based on the Olympics now. Developed by SEGA, the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games series is coming to the Nintendo Switch in November 2019, this time, based on their home nation of Japan, incidentally where the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be taking place. The series is on its sixth incarnation, surely SEGA are flogging a dead horse by now, right? Right?!

Right off the bat Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 feels slick, polished and just the type of game that will light up any child's face on Christmas Day. Despite this being released in the winter time, it revolves around a number of summer athletic Olympic events ranging from the 100m Dash and Swimming to team-based sports such as Rugby and Volleyball. Gameplay-wise, most events can be over relatively quickly, and only require the use of tapping A as fast as possible.

If events don't require rapid button pressing or motions then they usually come down to precision timing. For example, the gymnastics event requires quick button presses in a slowed down QTE sequence, and little else. A large number of sports can be played with motion controls or buttons depending on the user's choice. The initial fun part of the original Wii version were the gimmicky motion controls of the time, and the series has not really evolved past this point.

Screenshot for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Nintendo Switch

The roster of characters has slimmed down from the 3DS' and Wii U's 2016 outing, as a large number of characters have been cut, including Diddy Kong, Toad and Rosalina to name a few. Additionally, Mii's have been cut altogether but it understandable given that Nintendo have seemingly distanced themselves from Mii's in general, other than their inclusion in Super Smash Bros Ultimate . Rather than having individual stats, each character now has particular advantages in each event, such as being good at certain aspect, like better at super moves, with faster super starts, or just being an all-rounder. This stops people hogging the best character for individual events, and helps balance the roster much more.

Screenshot for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Nintendo Switch

Despite the lack of innovative modes, the real fun comes in the guise of local or online multiplayer, which is a vastly more competitive affair. Most events can be played with a single joy-con, meaning that four people can get in on the fun. The only problem is that the number of rounds or game time can't be extended or tinkered with, meaning that players often find themselves spending longer selecting their character than participating in the event itself.

Screenshot for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Nintendo Switch

It is a minor flaw, but one that really disrupts the flow of the fun, and makes people constantly feel like they are in menu screens instead in the flow of the action. Even the game's story mode feels similar, with a long-winded yet comical script that often pits the user reading through a fair amount of text or wondering around a hub world with very little purpose. The plus side is the addition of the retro 1964 events. These can only be played with a certain number of characters, but are beautifully animated in their 8-bit and 16-bit counterparts. These events are fewer in number, with only 10 available from the outset, but are a worthy addition to the line-up.

Screenshot for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Nintendo Switch

Final Thoughts

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 evokes memories of the fun that was first offered in the original outing. The throw back to the 1964 Olympics is a delectable addition that should remind children of the '80s of what various sports games were like. Hopefully there will be more challenging AI in the final build, as so far it has been rather easy to best the computer, but multiplayer is really where this will excel, and most fun will be had. November 5th can't come soon enough.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   


I'm really intrigued about the reported retro events! Other than that, I've never been a huge fan of these sorts of titles, sadly. Short-lived and not too exciting.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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