Title: Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Platforms: Wii, Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: Out Now
Finally, we draw to the end of the post-Christmas drought of game releases, in which no publisher dares release a game for fear of it being lost in a sea of second-hand first person shooters and sandbox crime thrillers. Soon, we will all be able to release a collective sigh as brand new shiny discs wing their way to our consoles, fresh with the promise of sweeping epic storylines, thrilling adventures, and anatomically absurd female character models. Until then, we have Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Sega has taken a slightly different tack with this title when compared to the games’ similiar, if slightly less titularly complex predecessors. Rather than a series of loosely connected minigames, M&SATL2012OG (ahem) offers the new ‘London Party’ mode, which proffers a game more reminesent of a free-form version of the Mario Party series than the current crossover franchise. Players run around a cartoonish map of London, collecting power ups, and most often making a mad dash for a ‘hidden’ character who is only partially obscured from view. These free roaming sections are broken up by minigames that tend to break from the Olympian theme of the series. The introduction of this new mode introduces a breathe of fresh air into a format that was already stale when the first of these titles was released.
Apart from this new party mode format, not much has changed from previous titles, with the game ultimately boiling down to a Warioware-esque series of calls for button-mashing, rhythm tests and wild Wiimote flailing. New additions to the minigame roster such as football and badminton borrow heavily from Mario Smash Football and Mario Tennis respectively, but in neither case is the complexity or strategy of the originals captured. It is bright and colourful enough for even the most unexcitable of children, and would surely keep them entertained on hours on end, but the pace is a touch too slow for most adult gamers. The single player, in particular, is a remarkably dull (and somewhat demoralising) experience. Get a group of friends around for local four-player, preferably ones who might fondly recall the better days of Super Smash Bros and Mario Party on the Gamecube, and you will certainly pass a bleary-eyed evening, and forget all about the gritty shooters of the pre-holiday season in a haze of bright colours and discus-tossing hedgehogs.