Though the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the 2012 London Olympic Games arrived a little too early to enjoy the pre-event hype, its Wiimote waggling shenanigans still managed to entertain. Now here we are, gearing up for the main event which is only a few months away and the 3DS version is also getting in on the Olympic action. But how does this predominately multiplayer experience cope on the small screen?
Sensibly, the 3DS version has been changed enough to separate the two titles, with the handheld hosting a whopping 57 events specifically created to utilise this mini console, all presented via various modes like quick play, Medley Matches (standard, quick or user created) or a story mode (which is painfully slow). Since Sonic and Mario have teamed up it is only fitting that their adversaries do the same, with Dr Eggman (Dr Robotnic) and Bowser creating a strange fog that threatens the opening ceremony and the Olympic Games with it. With Cameron and Seb Coe clearly dropping the ball by not inviting them it’s down to our heroes and friends to stop this evil pairing by defeating their numerous henchmen in a set of Olympic challenges and destroy the fog machines set around famous London landmarks.
As with any athletics title there is an element of button bashing and Mario and Sonic 2012 is no different, but don’t expect flat out mashing here as even the humble 100m event has been altered to keep things fresh with you holding the B button to build up power and releasing at the start to the rapidly hit A at the right time for a speed burst for the finish line. Others like 1500m also spice things up by constantly changing the controls, making this title it a bit more than an all out button basher.
The 3DS allows for a whole variety of inputs for you to look like an absolute tool on public transport, with the 100m Breaststroke requiring you to blow into the microphone every time your character comes for air, blowing to create a wind to propel your yacht in the Sailing (pairs) event and even shouting at the microphone to pick up the dumbbell in Weightlifting.
Humiliation isn’t really the aim of the Olympics so if you are on a train there are more than enough events to avoid strange looks using just the touchscreen and thumbstick like the 20km Race Walk, with you swiping the stylus left to right in time with some music, drawing the correct angle for a perfect javelin throw or tapping the screen for a fast stroke in swimming.
Some events have also been changed to represent more of a mini game than the actual event, so gruelling marathons are now played as a picking up a water bottle challenge; 110m Hurdles is a remember the sequence game and Judo is a quick reaction “Simon Says” event, pressing the correct group of buttons as fast as possible.
Most events have been perfectly crafted for the 3DS, with each one looking great on the handheld, though certain events require the 3D function to be turned off as they support the 3DS gyro feature, with the Long Jump requiring a quick flick to your preferred launch angle or spinning the console around to build power for the Hammer causing loads of ghosting on the screen when turned on.
The amount of events on offer covers all areas, with Athletics, Aquatics, Contact, Cycling, Equestrian and Shooting to name a few all covered by a variety of games. Just a playthrough of all of the events will take some time and then you have varied difficulties and of course World Records to break, some being a lot easier than others.
Because of the fast paced nature of the events, a true online mode really wouldn’t work but to keep things competitive you are able you to submit your results and see how well your a faring against the rest of the world in the leaderboards. There are also multiplayer modes, with either a local or shared game cart option available, making the events even more competitive.
Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games offers something a little more original than the usual Olympic tie-in but still manages to keep the competitive edge of the classic button bashers and is yet another 3DS game worthy of your collection.
Rating: ExcellentReview Policy(version tested: 3DS)
You can order your copy of Mario & Sonic at the 2012 London Olympic Games (3DS) from ShopTo here.