With only a few months to go until the Olympic flame will be lit up on the Olympic Stadium in London, Sega, in collaboration with Nintendo, has released a new game to celebrate the event. Before the upcoming official Olympics game, which will be available in June, the publisher has already released the 3DS title Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, dedicated to the same event. Story
The game offers a single player mode, multiplayer and even a story mode that will give you a taste of almost every Olympic event. You might think that no story is good enough for the Olympic Games, given that it's an event that occurs every four years, but you'd be wrong to assume that.
It appears that the invitations for this year's Olympics got a little mixed up, and Dr Eggman and Bowser were left out.
Seeing that they don't get their invitations and their ego has taken quite a hit, they plot to sabotage the Olympic Games, preventing the event from taking place ever again. While visiting the British Museum, Dr Eggman discovers an ancient urn with a magical type of fog inside.
Harvesting the power of this urn through his evil machines, Robotnik and Bowser manage to cover all London in a thick fog that might endanger the start of the Olympics.
Seeing this, but unaware of its cause, Mario and Sonic, along with their friends, set forth on an Olympic adventure to find an explanation and a solution for the problem, so the opening ceremony can start without delay. Gameplay
As you might already know, the Olympic Games take place every four years and include over 35 sports, 30 disciplines and nearly 400 events. The game will cover over 50 of the most important, as included in the world’s greatest sporting competition.
You will get to compete in events like: hammer throw, pole vault, marathon swim, platform diving, beach volleyball, table tennis, football, handball, judo, boxing, Taekwondo, gymnastics, cycling, sailing, shooting and archery, weightlifting and even combined events, like triathlon and modern pentathlon.
The list could surely go on with a lot more fun events to compete in.
Most mini-games are very well thought-out and use some ingenious controls, customized for each. The game manages to use all the features that the 3DS has to offer from buttons, circle-pad and directional keys, to touchscreen input, tilt controls and even microphone activated mini-games.
Similar Olympic events have different control modes for a touch of personality.
Compared to the Wii version of Mario & Sonic’s latest Olympic game, the events of Nintendo 3DS are transformed into mini-games limited in design and control. A boxing match has been reduced to a simple one-punch game, while football or marathon events have been turned into a penalty kick contest or a mere grab a bottle game.
As you play them, you will realize that some of these mini-games are far better than others. You will love most of the shooting games as the console tilting capabilities are put to good use but, at the same time, you will find that some of the events are rather annoying and very short.
Most of the contact sports, except Fencing, are a bit dull and can be finished with a well-placed move or punch. Some events feel ridiculous: for instance, you might need to yell at your 3DS to prompt weight-lifting. Other events from the aquatics category require you to blow air at your system to adjust the sail of your boat, or to take a breath of air in Breaststroke.
Winning medals in events will earn you tickets that can be exchanged for 200 collectible badges (they can be used on your ID tag and will appear in online rankings).
Somewhat annoying is the fact that you can only choose between four characters in each of the events. The characters are categorized generically as “Heroes,” “Girls,” “Challengers,” “Tricksters” or “Wild Ones.” This wouldn’t really matter anyway, as none of these characters has different abilities or skills. Multiplayer
In multiplayer mode, the game supports 4 players at most. The good news is that, besides local play, where everyone needs to have their own game card, you can also play on four different 3DS consoles with only one game card using the Download Play option.
All events can be played with up to three friends in a direct challenge like the 100m or 20km race walk, a ladder-style event found in various contact sports or taking turns to perform each challenge. Graphics and Audio
For every game on the Nintendo 3DS it comes down to this: the 3D effects. The 3D perspective is one of the best I’ve seen on the 3DS. The game pushes you to earn more medals on higher difficulties and playing for a prolonged time won't make your eyes sore, as is the case with some other titles. Nice – but few and repetitive – character animations complete the visual scheme.
The music is decent and complements well the game as a whole. Not the same can be said about character voices, which become rather irritating after some time. Conclusion
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games unfortunately does not live up to its Wii counterpart, and the clumsiness of some events might spoil the fun. On the other hand, there are some events that you will surely have a great time playing, trying to acquire as many gold medals and badges as possible.
The story mode is not that interesting and, after some time, the cut scenes become a real pain in the neck to listen to, but the overall gameplay will certainly offer a few fun hours on your 3DS.