Mario and Sonic have become quite the Olympians as they’ve traveled across the world to compete in the last few Olympics. They kicked off their athletic adventures in Beijing in 2008, then traveled to Vancouver for last year’s Winter Olympics. Now, the dynamic duo has arrived in London for their latest offering on the Wii and 3DS–do gaming-dom’s most iconic characters put on a jolly good show in their latest incarnation as Olympic athletes?
Just to warn you, there are spoilers in here, so if you want to be surprised, click away now.
Still with me? Let’s go for the gold…
The Wii is pushed to its full power here, and the level of detail really shines–grass rustles, water ripples, lights sparkle, and every venue for the 2012 Olympics is faithfully recreated down to the tile and carpet on the floors. The character designs have also been polished–so well you can make out individual hairs and furs on each one. The London cityscapes featured in the London Party mode look like they could come out of a postcard. Details like these bring London into your bedroom or living room–making you feel like you’re right there in the middle of it all.
Music/Sound: Very Good
Festive and exciting is the word in London, from the opening shot of Mario and Sonic atop Big Ben to the medal ceremony music. You’ll be snapping fingers and tapping toes as you compete to both high energy songs for the competition events and classical remixes for the performance events. Unlockable remixes are back in this installment as well, and many new classics (such as Puzzle Plank Galaxy and Tropical Resort Zone, to name a couple) join old favorites such as the Mario main theme and Green Hill Zone. However, this is kept from being Excellent because of some of the odd arrangement styles on some of the remixes, and several remixes were recycled directly from Vancouver. Overall, it would have been nice if some of the returning tunes got new arrangements, but it is nice to hear some old favorites once again alongside some brand new songs.
This Olympic installment is bursting at the seams with things to do, and many new events join the party. Synchronized swimming, ribbon dancing, fencing, horseback riding, shooting, canoeing, and soccer are just a few new events for you to try alongside classics as track and field, Ping Pong, and gymnastics. Each event’s controls feel realistic and easy to use, although an explaination is provided if you’re ever confused as to what to do–although you will usually figure it out after one or two tries.
If you get tired of the events themselves, you can always run wild on the steets of of London playing mini games and completing missions in London Party mode. Earning medals will net you scratchcards, which are your tickets to the unlockables in the game. It tries to add an element of surprise as to what you unlock–you might get a new outfit with one card, a decal with another, and a song with a third. While the different events are just as fun alone, it gets even better with friends–up to four players can join in the fun. With so much to do and unlock, it is highly unlikely you will get bored.
Plenty of things to do and collectables to unlock make this the best Olympics game yet–I was actually saddened I only got to play it for a weekend, because I had only scratched the surface on the wealth of things to do both alone and with friends. A must buy this Christmas.