Not long ago, the girls and I were playing the latest Mario and Sonic Olympic games on the 3DS, which I thought was a good amount of content for a handheld title. We now have the chance to explore what the Wii U title has to offer also. The Olympics are only days away and it will dominate media for the coming weeks, so as support for team GB sweeps the nation, here’s hoping that children will be influenced to bring the game into their console play over the summer holidays.
First off Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games looks amazing in high definition, with venues based on the real life stadiums giving an authentic feel to the game’s overall feel. Compared to the first title on the Wii, the power of the Wii U console shines through for this particular version. The opening title sequence really got me excited and I couldn’t wait to play the new Rugby Sevens game. Once my Mii character was plonked on a small version of Copacabana beach, the first question I asked myself was…where to start? Itching to have a go at all the events without starting the career mode, for comparison purposes to the 3DS I first went for football. In my opinion it was a lot easier to get to grips with the controls on the Wii U gamepad, however, matches were missing those power up shots I enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong, matches are a bit more fleshed out, but I had a nostalgic moment (Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii) playing the 3DS version.
The main sports featured in Mario and Sonic Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which are Football, Rugby Sevens, and Beach Volleyball, all get a cool alternative play mode called Duel events. I will say that if you are playing this with other people in your living room, these are the type of events that will create a lot of competitive fun. You’re still playing the same game, but the rules for scoring points or tackling your opponents has a sinister twist due to power-ups borrowed from the land of Mario. Expect giant bullets flying onto the field of play or golden stars sending you on invisible runs. This was exactly what I encountered when trying a game of Rugby Sevens and was frustrated at my lack of skill to score a try. Had I gone straight for the Duel event version, i would not been so down. I was having an absolute blast using my Yoshi to go through little rainbows on the pitch, which makes you run faster and beat tacklers to make a try. The same could be found when playing a game of Beach Volleyball.
Unfortunately, unlike the plus events on the 3DS which apply to all the available sports, unless it’s one of the main 3 mentioned above, you still get the familiar button mashing controls. I did find that doing events such as swimming or the 100m sprint were alot easier on the gamepad, probably due to the fact that the 3DS buttons are really compact. Players will use the gamepad for single player mode or the good ol’ Wii remote for multiplayer. Annoyingly, but a good way to ensure you play through all 25 events, once completed you will be able to swipe amiibo figures to unlock additional special events. I am currently working my way towards this achievement as my own Mii character (stats need to be built up by unlocking more unique costumes).
Alongside the standard medal collecting campaign, players can take part in the new Heroes Showdown mode, where multiple competitors select either Team Mario or Sonic and try to eliminate players through rounds of random events. Once everyone from a team has been eliminated, the other wins. There are over 30 playable characters, with the ability to also use your Mii. Competing in any event will help gain gold coins and/or rings, which can be spent on buying new costumes to improve your Mii’s stats.
Mario and Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Wii U is a solid edition to the franchise and worth a look. Nintendo have even made available a free demo on the eShop, so there’s nothing to lose trying this first. Should you opt to buy the full experience, the game is currently available on Amazon for ₤34.00 and available for digital download from the eShop. The game is rated PEGI 7.