Let’s be real. The Mario & Sonic franchise is weird. First released in 2007 to coincide with the Beijing Olympics, a number of sequels have been released. The latest, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, is another collection of mini-games but this time it also comes packing a campaign with an actual story.
Eggman has created a video game called Tokyo 64 which is an 8/16-bit representation of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. His plan is to trap Sonic and Mario inside so he can win all the medals in 2020, but both he and Bowser are also trapped in the game.
With the battery on the game running out and the only way to escape being to collect gold medals, Bowser, Eggman, Mario and Sonic compete in Tokyo 64 while Luigi, Tails and any other character to ever appear in either franchise competes for “excitement” to charge the game’s replacement battery.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Review
I sneer, but in all seriousness, I really enjoyed the story element of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. There’s a lot of humour throughout and watching Bowser and Eggman play off each other is a real treat. Sadly, Mario and Luigi remain mute throughout — even Yoshi talks! — so they don’t really add much to proceedings.
Across the 20 chapters of the story, players will criss-cross back and forth between Tokyo 1964 and 2020, compete in mini-games and work towards freeing Mario and Sonic. You can skip the campaign if you like and get straight into the mini-games, but that would mean missing out on the best part of this release.
The mini-games themselves are what you’d expect. Button mashing affairs that require you to press things at certain times, hold buttons down and press them very quickly.
That’s not to say they’re all bad, most are actually pretty good, they’re just not really much different from California Games on Commodore 64.
While the Olympic themed mini-games are fairly standard, and still enjoyable, there are a number of other, specialty mini-games that can be unlocked by playing the campaign. These include racing a bullet train, sailing on the Tokyo river and even breaking into a museum as Mario.
These add some extra flavour to the game and move away from the bog-standard Olympic theme.They’re still pretty simple but they do add a bit of variety.
Aside from the games themselves, the visuals are a real treat. The 2020 stuff is colourful and cartoony, which young players will get a kick out of, while the retro world of Tokyo 64 is where older players are going to get a real nostalgia hit. Tokyo 64 is a mish-mash of retro Sonic and Mario and looks great with its pixellated, flat coloured visuals.
The audio is also a real treat with beeps and boops and muffled voicework of the announcers.
Outside of the campaign, you’re able to play quick matches, set up local play with multiple Switches or play online. With 31 playable events and 10 additional mini-games, there is tonnes to do in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Mileage will vary and the button mashing does get quite samey after a while, but little players will definitely have a good time.
If you’re after mini-games, you’re better off playing Super Mario Party, but Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a close second.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was reviewed on Switch using a digital copy provided by Nintendo.
Game Title: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Review
- A fun, silly campaign - 7.4/107.4/10
- Good variety of mini-games - 7.8/107.8/10
- Not enough variety in gameplay - 5/105/10
- A good way to spend a Saturday morning with little kids - 6/106/10