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Game Info:

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Developed by: SEGA
Published by: SEGA
Release date: November 5, 2019
Available on: Switch
Genre: Sports
Number of players: One to four players
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+for cartoon violence
Price: $59.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you SEGA for sending us this game to review!

Eggman and Bowser are teaming up to trap Mario and Sonic in a game console version of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately for them, they get sucked into the retro device too! Meanwhile at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Luigi and Tails try to rescue them with the help of their friends who are willing to lend a hand once they are defeated at various Olympic events.

You can jump right in and play a specific mini-game if desired or go through the twenty-chapter single-player story mode and get introduced to them one by one. In total, there are twenty-four 2020 events and ten 1964 mini-games to partake in. If you have Nintendo Switch Online, you can play in ranked or unranked matches online. Local play is an option as well if you have friends nearby who own a Switch and a copy of the game.

I had better luck doing an online group room instead of picking an individual event. If you’re flexible you can still have fun despite there not being many people online to compete against. Ideally, you should be familiar with all of the games before venturing online. If you’re not, you may want to stick with unranked matches.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Lots of fun mini-games to compete in; ability to skip the annoying ones
Weak Points: Poor and confusing controls; not many people online
Moral Warnings: Cartoon mischief

Not all of the venues are available immediately. You often have to complete a challenge to gain entry to them. One of the more fun challenges was locating characters “Where’s Waldo” style before the time ran out. After an event is cleared, it becomes available to replay again if desired. Some of the challenges are not as fun. For example, I have no desire to re-play the Museum stealth mission where Mario has to avoid the Koopas and Goombas walking around with flashlights.

The mini-games often incorporate button or motion controls. Since I played this game in the handheld mode a majority of the time, I completed the events with the button controls. More often than not, events are won by mashing the A button repeatedly and using the B button to complete an action like jumping. Sometimes the controls were not fully explained. For example, the Judo match against Bowser tells you how to attack and block, but does not explain how to throw your opponent.

Mini-games that require using the left joystick are trickier to master. For example, the discus and javelin throwing games require you to throw the object at a specific angle to be successful. You may have better luck with the motion controls, provided you can get them to register properly.

Mario
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 72%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 2/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Game balance is another issue worth mentioning. Many of the matches in the story mode are not challenging at all while others are brutally difficult. It took many tries to defeat Eggman on the easiest difficulty in the vault event, even with perfectly executed maneuvers. While I did eventually beat him, I had to throw in the towel on other events. Thankfully, after three failed attempts, you can skip the event and it will progress the story as if you’ve won.

I must admit that I have used the skip feature a handful of times. Many of the Olympic events are “cookie-cutter” and forgettable. However, there are a few gems that are worth playing with friends and online acquaintances. Some of my favorite mini-games include table tennis, rugby sevens, archery, skateboarding, and shooting.

Other than some cartoon violence and mischief, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a pretty family-friendly title to consider. The $59.99 question is if this game is worth spending full price on for a handful of fun mini-games. I would hold off for a sale to be honest. While the retro and modern graphic style toggling will appeal to multiple generations, I don’t feel that the gameplay will keep people interested for very long. That could be why the online community is rather sparse.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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