Mario and Sonic At the London 2012 Olympic Games Review
Mario and Sonic made a few waves since they teamed up together – for the first time in gaming history – for an Olympic effort produced by Sega for the Wii four years ago. It wasn’t bad, but left a little bit to be desired. Fortunately, we were happily fulfilled by their return in the Winter Olympic Games two years later, mainly due to the inclusion of hockey and various racing events. Now we’re back to summer with Mario and Sonic At the London 2012 Olympic Games, and…it’s almost like something with seasons with these guys, because this one comes up a little bit short.
You’ll choose from various characters throughout both Mario and Sonic’s universe, including familiar villains, heroes, and the occasional oddballs. It’s a decent variety of characters, though some fan favorites may be missing. From there, you’ll make your way through jolly, old London, completing mini-games and taking part in traditional Olympic competitions, either alone or with friends. These include hurdles, soccer, and various others.
By completing these events and meeting certain criteria (relax, the game isn’t difficult), you’ll earn virtual achievements by way of stickers, which you can then collect in a book. It doesn’t serve much purpose outside of showing it off to friends, however. More unlockable stuff attached to said stickers would’ve been a pivotal addition.
Single-player is kind of a grind, mostly due to the fact that the AI isn’t entirely on its game – even in the highest difficulty – which makes some of the events a cakewalk. That said, it certainly gets better with multiplayer, as friends can join you on the soccer field or in a fencing arena to see who fares better. Some activities differ in quality, though. We guarantee you’ll have more fun kicking soccer balls into goals than virtually trying to knock someone out of bounds.
What’s sorely missing from London 2012 is the Festival mode that made the Winter Olympic Games such a blast. There, you could take on bosses, complete objectives, and work your way through what seemed like a lengthy campaign. What’s here is just a simple hub where you go from point-to-point. That takes out some of the much-needed charm that made Mario and Sonic work so well over the past few years. There’s a Challenge mode, but outside of the stickers, it really doesn’t have much to offer – leading you back to multiplayer.
Visually, Sega didn’t go overboard with London 2012. It merely sticks with what works, including cute animations and a basic set-up for each sport, which players will get into. It hardly innovates, save for some side activities – like dodging potholes in a city street – that may put a smile on your face. However, it feels more like a basic add-on to the first Olympic Games, rather than a solid continuation. Sounds about the same too, with repetitive character quotes and decent (if a bit bland) background music.
If you’ve got a family that enjoyed Mario and Sonic the last couple of times around, or just want something a little more competitive than the other Wii holiday fare, Mario and Sonic At the London 2012 Olympic Games may suffice. However, this is a series in need of a much-needed boost. With the Wii U forthcoming, we just might get that in 2013. Cross your fingers.