Since the NES/Genesis days, fans have wondered what game would finally get Mario and Sonic in the same game. When that day finally came with Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games in 2010, fans felt slighted and were confused as to why something that big wouldn’t have had more work put into it. Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is what that game should have been.
Right off the bat, it is evident that more work has been put into completing the experience and making something gamers would actually want to play. Right off the bat, the character select screen is filled with twenty of the top characters from each universe. While the main mode that appeared in 2010 Winter Olympic Games returns in London, the main improvement is the London Party Mode. Let me give you a quick rundown of this mode is and try to think if it feels familiar to you. Four players run around a map collecting points and when they come across a certain point, a minigame is triggered. These minigames tend to be free-for-all, two-on-two, or one-on-three games with the winner getting some sort of reward. In this case, that reward is stickers. The first player to fill up his entire sticker book wins. But wait, that’s not all, every once in a while, those minigames turn into boss encounters in which one or more players must play a minigame against the boss. If any of that sounded familiar, you have probably played a Mario Party game at some point in your life. This mode is almost the exact same as the party mode in Mario Party, yet for some unknown reason, it is still completely fun.
While most of the minigames in London Party mode are exclusive to the mode, there are instances where Olympic Games are played. They didn’t show us much of these games, in fact, they only showed one, “Rhythmic Ribbon”. Yeah. It is what you would expect, your character runs around a gymnastics mat and you have to swing the remote at certain times to do ribbon moves correctly. That’s all that I am going to say about that. London Party Mode and the Dream sequences are what you really care about. They showed us one of the dream sequences during the time that we had. In this dream sequence, all four players are on horses collectively pulling a cart behind them that is filled with little Yoshi eggs. The goal of this is to work together to get to the end without any of the Yoshi eggs falling out. While this sounds easy, the game’s development team’s record for E3, at the time of our demo, was finishing with two. It is something that really requires communication and should probably be attempted without grandma.
The three games that we were shown out of London Party Mode were Tag-O-Rama, Break Neck Marathon, and Collect Toad’s Coins. Each minigame was different than the rest, which made for a great looking mix of action. Tag-O-Rama takes the map of London that is used as the gameboard and makes it 3D. The players are then split into two teams, cops and robbers. I’m sure that you can guess what happens next but I’ll break it down for you anyway.
The team of cops must catch the team of robbers before time runs out or else they lose. That’s it. For something so simple, it looked like a great time. Break Neck Marathon has players line up on a street Excitebike style and attempt to get to the end of the marathon while trying to avoid obstacles. When a player hits an obstacle, they are stunned for a few seconds until they can shake their Wii remote to recover. The final minigame that I saw was Collect Toad’s Coins, which is pretty self-explanatory, but you wouldn’t expect how they do it. Players must navigate a Pacman style map that is filled with coins. The player with the most at the end of sixty seconds wins but there is a fixed number of coins on the map so players must jump on each other’s head to make them lose their coins.
While the game may seem like just another minigame collection at first, it is evident that the team learned from their mistakes last time around and are putting the time in to make it a solid effort. Whether you are into the actual Olympic events, killing baby Yoshi’s in dream sequences, or just want to have a fun time with friends in London Party Mode, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games should have something for you. Look for it this November on Wii and February 2012 on 3DS.