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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 review – button-mashing magic is best in series by a long shot put

ALI vs Frazier, Coe vs Ovett, Kean vs Vieria, Alien vs Predator . . . and Mario v Sonic.

Yes it’s the rivalry to end all rivalries as the two giants of video games go head to head in the brilliant instalment of everyone’s button-mashing favourite.

 Retro 2D games are button-mashing magic

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Retro 2D games are button-mashing magicCredit: Nintendo
 There are 20 3D events plus all your fave characters

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There are 20 3D events plus all your fave charactersCredit: Nintendo

And SEGA have done a brilliant job in ensuring that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is as fresh and fun as its previous five outings. 

There are over 30 events to choose from with all your favourite characters lining up to take gold – Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Tails, Dr Eggman etc.

As always with Nintendo and SEGA, it’s a perfect family gaming sesh, and will be sure to drive everyone Christmas crackers on the 25th.

This time round there is a 6-hr story mode. In all honesty, this feels like a bit of a pointless exercise. It’s a fairly tedious journey where a machine called Tokyo ‘64 sucks Mario, Sonic, Bowser and Eggman into the past, converting them back to their 2D, retro originals – cue an unnecessary storyline which detracts from the fun itself. However, you’ll need to slog through this mode in order to unlock new characters and minigames.

 Multiplayer includes Dream events like Shooting and Climbing is new

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Multiplayer includes Dream events like Shooting and Climbing is newCredit: Nintendo
 Karate is just one of 30 disciplines the game offers

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Karate is just one of 30 disciplines the game offersCredit: Nintendo

But once you’ve stormed through the campaign, it’s time to enjoy 10 2D events. These are old-school classics like 100m, 400m hurdles and long jump. But they also include the likes of ke kayaking and trap shooting.

The 2D concept is a brilliant addition to the franchise – but why only 10 events? What a shame it this retro-style section isn’t stuffed full of more options.

But the  joy of Mario & Sonic at the Olympics is the variation in the mechanics for each event. It’s not just button-mashing. For example, surfing needs astutely executed QTEs whereas Archery is all about careful aim and wind judgement. Meanwhile, Karate is an intense game where you need to hit different body locations and master the grappling.

There’s a complexity to it that goes beyond the old days of Track & Field.

You can choose between motion control or button pressing, either works well (though, if you are an old fart like you’ll  no doubt opt for buttons).

 The events are all highly enjoyable and replayable

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The events are all highly enjoyable and replayableCredit: Nintendo

Multiplayer is an absolute blast and while the 8-player online was a little laggy at times, the local multiplayer for four players was smooth as a Goomba’s head.

But the best multiplayer offerings by a long shot-putt are the three Dream events: Shooting, Karate and Racing.

 Mario & Sonic is full of button-mashing magic

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Mario & Sonic is full of button-mashing magic

These, along with the single player 3D games, are highly replayable and scarily addictive. 

Overall, Marion and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 delivers what you would expect from the series with a couple of lovely additions. While it won’t break any world records, for me it’s still a personal best.

Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 review verdict

The final score is…4/5

  • Formats: Nintendo Switch

  • Price: £49.99

  • Publisher: SEGA

  • Developer: Nintendo

  • Release Date: Out Now

  • Age Rating: 7+

  • Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Switch at Amazon for £39.79 – buy now

In other news, a new clip from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been revealed inside Fortnite.

Outrage has emerged over a Jesus Christ video game with a ‘Satan’ fight scene.

And Microsoft looks set to launch two new consoles in 2020.

Which is your favourite Mario & Sonic Olympic event? Let us know in the comments!


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