Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Review

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It’s almost time for the 2020 Olympic Games which means Mario and Sonic are back to compete. Find out what we thought in our Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Review!

Release DateNovember 5th, 2019
GenreSports
PlatformsNintendo Switch
DeveloperSEGA of America/SEGA Sports R&D
Price$59.99 US
ESRB RatingEveryone 10+
Players1-8 Players

 

*A copy of this game has been provided to FYIG by SEGA for review purposes*

The Mario and Sonic series was one that many thought would never be possible and yet here we are with yet another installment in the series. I’ll be the first one to say that I just didn’t see the appeal of these characters appearing in an Olympic game and just didn’t understand why this concept would sell but it has been a long-lasting series and one that’s been great for kids and families alike. This edition is no different with challenging and fun mini-games to off-set the lackluster Story Mode and Online offerings.

Mario & Sonic 2020
Metal Sonic gets the gold!

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020’s bread and butter is its story mode which lasts about 6 hours. I genuinely had pretty high hopes for this because I thought if SEGA could tie in some type of career to the mini-games, this could become something pretty addictive. The story itself consists of Mario, Sonic, Bowser, and Eggman getting trapped in a retro video game and competing in the 1964 Olympics which is as absolutely strange as it sounds. It’s just really out of place in a game like this to me. Everyone else ends up being in the 3D version of Tokyo competing in the 2020 Olympics.

I really liked the world map being a complete recreation of Tokyo with the actual Olympic buildings that these events would be taking place in. It’s really nice to look at and it makes it feel like you’re actually doing a little more than just slogging through mini-games. I was absolutely bored to death with all the lines that each character had to say, though. I felt like I was reading, and reading, and reading. It’s not why I play a game like this. I understand it’s a STORY mode, but we don’t need nearly as much banter between characters. Just a general story is fine and then let us on our way. I just thought it was a lot of filler to unlock some extra characters and events.

Mario & Sonic 2020
A shot of the world map in Story Mode.

The events themselves are a great mix with over 40 to choose from. It’s a bit of a hit and miss group with some being completely simple while others are painful to try and perform properly. I was pretty terrible at the gymnastics events, I just couldn’t seem to get it down fast enough. I also ran into an issue when playing in handheld mode during some events where I couldn’t read the button prompts to complete the event. If you plan on playing handheld mode a lot, this could be a big issue for you.

The 3D mini-games are pretty diverse with things like Sport Climbing requiring you to time your button presses to climb up the wall as fast as possible while Surfing and Skateboarding requiring you to nail tricks at the right time to get the most points. Karate is a pretty complex thing to get used to despite it looking fairly simple at the outset. Table Tennis is painfully basic and it was actually really annoying to try and play through it. You’re just making sure you hit it and where there’s no skill in how you move or anything. It just seems like the developers put a lot more thought into some mini-games and barely any in others.

Mario & Sonic 2020
Surfing the waves.

The thing I really enjoyed about this game is that they still have Dream Events which are fantasy events based around each of the Mario and Sonic series. There’s Dream Racing which is kind of like Mario Kart on foot, Dream Shooting which is just target shooting, and Dream Karate which requires you to knock your opponents down to fill a board with your colours. I like that these events take you out of the traditional environment and put you in more of a Mario Party-type game. I think it helps the game be more accessible and gives it a bit more fun factor than sticking to real events.

A lot of the 3D events can be played with motion controls, but it feels more gimmicky to me than anything else. I didn’t like using the motion controls at all and I opted to use the button controls every chance I got. It’s all in preference, but buttons were a lot easier to manage in my opinion. 

Mario & Sonic 2020
2D events are a great addition to the game.

 

2D events make their debut in the series in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. it’s a nice change to see the old 2D sprites on the screen even if there are only a handful of characters available. It looks like they just chose the characters that already had pre-existing sprites so they didn’t have to do anything extra which is understandable. These events are pretty fun and bring me back to the old days when button-mashing was the difference between winning and losing. They’re not all like that, but they are all pretty basic. It’s a nice touch even if the reason for having this mode is a bit strange. 

Mario & Sonic 2020
Boxing is a fun button-mashing game.

Multiplayer is a mixed bag. Local works as-advertised, but online multiplayer with 8 people can get frustrating with some lag. It’s hard to get through a game that requires you to have timing when you’re having network issues. You also don’t have the choice to use a playlist for events, this means you might be done an event in 10 seconds and have to go back a choose again. It’s tedious and it doesn’t have to be that way. I mean, why would you ever want a game to be that way? There should always be a choice.

ProsCons
Lots of events and charactersOnline lag with 8 players
Multiple control typesBoring/strange story mode
2D eventsHit & miss quality of events