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

Ruben Fields
November 6, 2019

Lesser known but beloved characters such as Wendy, Rouge and Zavoc will be unlocked on the main menu to play in their respective events when you have beaten them in story-mode, giving you even more incentive to play the already enjoyable and often times amusing Paper Mario style story. They put characters in traditional Japanese garb in some scenes, and in many events, the playable characters were dressed accordingly - for example, I was able to swim as Dr. Eggman in swim trunks, and Waluigi had on an adorable riding outfit in the equestrian event.

The NES section of the story also has exclusive Olympic Games to play and they're surprisingly some of the most enjoyable. SEGA first united the hedgehog and plumber in Mario & Sonic at the Olympics in 2007, and though the graphics and scope have greatly improved, the general format remains the same here. Yet it wouldn't be the case had the modern elements of Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games not been smooth, polished, and as well animated as they are. It backfires and now he, Sonic, Mario, and Bowser are stuck in the game. But it's less about strategizing a pick and more about watching your favorite character compete; the differences seem negligible. It's soon revealed by series deep-cut Eggman-Nega (PSP Sonic fans rejoice!) that the only way to return those egg-heads to the real world is by charging a magic battery (begrudgingly provided by Magikoopa) which gains power by the excitement and cheers of Olympic audiences. At the Tokyo Olympics though, anything could happen. While free-style skateboarding may sound fun in theory, when the result is simply a toned-down Tony Hawk Pro Skater, the replayability just doesn't cut it. Dream Karate switches to a 3D grid, as you brawl and throw around three other opponents to cover panels with your respective colour.

You can hit the track, the gym, the ring, or the water in dozens of different party games.

A standout feature of Tokyo 2020 is its fully-fledged story mode, which is ideal for those playing alone and takes roughly five hours to complete.

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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 reviews are based on ten being the highest unless noted. Skateboard and boxing are quite easy to approach, while events like Gymnastics and the Discus Throw are more hard to wrap your head around. Each game is played individually followed by the pedestal scene if a human-controlled player wins a top 3 spot, followed by the options to play the game again, select a character, select another event, or go to the main menu. This somewhat seeps into a gripe I have with the game.

Essentially, if you are a stalwart of the series and you've collected each one, there's not a MASSIVE amount that's new, aside from a Tokyo aesthetic and the game's new "story mode". Online play even has a Ranked mode, if you are wondering how you stack up against the rest of the world in any event. Of course, Eggman and Bowser team up to try and defeat Mario and Sonic. Each minigame takes on a variety of Olympic sports and contextualizes them into simple and competitive multiplayer games. With a giant over-world map, Olympics (and Mario and Sonic) trivia, and events that need winning, the campaign appears to be comparable to the recent Super Mario Maker 2 in terms of scope. There are ton of incredible and unique character interactions, some fun, quirky dialogue, and plenty of cutscenes to make die-hard fans happy.

The most enjoyable and in-depth new addition is story mode, providing an often amusing and always enjoyable romp through the past and present of Tokyo. For 2020's Tokyo games, Sega mixes in a little bit of linear storytelling and a lot of NES era nostalgia in order to expand this anthill into a full sandbox. It's a sure way to get your sporty friends into gaming and your gaming friends excited for next summer in Tokyo. As a mini-game focused title, it just can't compete with similar offerings, it's games either too obtuse or too quick and easy to capture the hearts of players. If it went to the Olympics, it would get bronze at best.

Despite being the best in the series, by virtue of having the most content, Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 still carries the same baggage as the previous entries. Screen Rant was provided with a digital copy for the objective of this review.

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