Mario Sports Superstars (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Az Elias 17.03.2017 7

Review for Mario Sports Superstars on Nintendo 3DS

It probably isn't too much of a stretch to suggest Mario's recent sporting outings haven't particularly been hot stuff, and a handful of the sports the plumber and pals have partaken in haven't had new entries for quite some time, namely baseball and association football. It's with some mild excitement and slight scepticism that Mario Sports Superstars arrives on Nintendo 3DS, then. Some old favourites return in this 5-in-1 package, but with how unpredictable the Mario sports series has been of late, tempered expectations are required.

With core Mario sporting entries of golf and tennis on Nintendo 3DS already, the scepticism comes in just how fleshed out these games are really going to be. There is no way these renditions will have the same presence as the dedicated standalone counterpart versions that have been available on the system for a while. Sure enough, basically all of the activities are bog standard, with little in the way of presenting anything super exciting or unique. Rounding out the package following the aforementioned golf and tennis are football, baseball and horse racing - the latter of which is a new one for the Mario sports range, and comes off as the event that seems to have had the most effort put into it.

Horse racing features a number of courses with a few shortcuts to speak of, and some minor tactical gameplay. When riding in close proximity with other racers, the stamina bar refills much faster, so the biggest decisions come in when to stay with the pack or storm off ahead and waiting that extra bit longer for the gauge to fill up again. Outside of races, players can groom a horse, walking it, feeding it and cleaning it to boost its compatibility and stats, producing a better racing companion. This added involvement is the sort of thing expected of previous Mario sports titles, but sadly, it seems that being a new game for the series has meant only horse racing has received this bonus treatment here.

Screenshot for Mario Sports Superstars on Nintendo 3DS

The other sports are pretty lax in content. Football might be the first time Mario and company have played the game in a proper 11 versus 11 scenario, but it offers relatively little fun after the initial amusement. Baseball and golf have a bit more depth to their games, but are still generally simple affairs. Tennis features special moves and jump shots, and characters seem to have a better reach to get to serves and wider balls compared to previous renditions, but it is comparatively lacking to its older siblings, with fewer interesting gameplay mechanics and options.

This is echoed throughout the whole game. A small number of arenas, poor unlockable characters (just two), a single main tournament mode, a lack of other modes, annoying reused voice clips, simple presentation with little visual variety, scaled down gameplay… This is a really unimaginative bundle of games that becomes tedious very quickly, with little to no replay value at all - aside from the multiplayer mode that might just extend the life a tad. The in-game unlockable cards aren't enticing, and amiibo cards that are sold separately and can be scanned in just unlock stronger versions of characters to play as.

Each game works and achieves its purpose, but none of them have any lasting appeal whatsoever. They are generic, mindless and simplistic, and that usual fun factor that accompanies Mario sports games is non-existent here. It'd be far more worthwhile to search out the best versions of each sport on previous Nintendo systems, such as Mario Smash Football on GameCube, or Mario Power Tennis on Game Boy Advance. At least the old Camelot GBA games had those brilliant RPG modes on top of the main sporting goodness to keep players going for weeks at a time. If really keen on horse racing, though, well, this is still tough to recommend for that event alone, but Mario Sports Superstars will suffice for some half decent arcade action, particularly if planning to play online with friends.

Screenshot for Mario Sports Superstars on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It seems cramming five games into one has resulted in rather stripped back versions of each main sport when compared to Mario's previous standalone offerings. Most of the charm and range of options to extend the life outside of a few multiplayer sessions is absent, so Mario Sports Superstars ironically ends up as a pretty boring affair, despite the number of events to play. Fine for a few online bouts, especially if lamenting the lack of football or baseball main series games, but don't expect this to occupy the 3DS for long.

Developer

Camelot

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Ouch Smilie I wasn't a fan of the latest tennis game at all and the golf one looked like Camelot phoning it in, as well, so I was hoping the other activities in this would boost it...but clearly not Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Disappointing, but not particularly surprising! Smilie 

Flynnii (guest) 18.03.2017#3

Pretty much how I saw the game as well. Its surprising that they even bothered with this though, feels a bit odd. Maybe it's better to buy Mario and Sonic at the Rio Olympics.

^ I can attest to Mario Tennis on the GBA being incredible if no one else has played it before!

Same with the GBC Tennis & Golf, and GBA Golf - I loved the RPG flavour that used to be included.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Hoping Next-Level Games gets a shot at making a new Mario Strikers for the Switch.

Yeah, I was looking forward to football and tennis, but they really are just plain tedious tbh. Tennis was probably the most fun for me, but even that didn't last long. Every sport has just one main mode - a 3-match knockout tournament - plus the usual tutorial, training and multiplayer options. As mentioned, horse racing was the only one with anything extra going for it with the horse training/grooming.

Defo agree, Marzy - need a new Strikers game. Charged had bags of character to it - something these all lack.

( Edited 18.03.2017 20:32 by Azuardo )

Camelot have really put out some doo-doo games as of late, something makes me feel like they've lost their charm unfortunately.

Marzy said:
Hoping Next-Level Games gets a shot at making a new Mario Strikers for the Switch.

I'd prefer them to work on Luigi's Mansion 3... Smilie

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