E3 2019: Hands-On with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
It has been a while since Mario and Sonic hit the track, pool and other sporting ground for some sporting action, as the Rio Olympics were almost four years ago, but they are back again, to go for the gold and Sega had a massive portion of their game dedicated to the upcoming title and I was lucky enough to get hands-on with it.
The game is packing over 20 sports in total, with Skateboarding, Rock Climbing and Karate being all new, as they are new for the Olympics themselves, with the rest of them being returning events. I was able to play through three events, Archery, Hurdles and Skateboarding as there were only a handful of events allowed for the E3 build, so starting off with Archery, I wanted to see how well the motion controls handled for it, though button controls are available for all sports, if you want to go that way. The game let me have as much practice as I wanted, before jumping into the event proper and I am glad it did, as they took a moment to adjust too. Holding the left Joy-Con up, the right joined it and then pressing the R button to begin notching an arrow, I had to pull back the right Joy-Con, holding it in line with the left and with the release of the R button the arrow would let loose.
During practice, holding the bow back, whilst I attempted to line up the shot proved to be a challenge as I was holding the left Joy-Con up vertically, but it needed to be more horizontal, once I managed to understand how it worked, along with distance and wind factored in, it was time to try for the gold. The catch was that that you could not hold it too long, and you only had two shots per round. With each round the target you were aiming for moved back further and further, which you needed to take into consideration. Eventually, the rounds were over, and I was victorious, by a wide margin. Playing as Peach though might have had something to do with it, as each character is flagged as classes, like All-Around, Power, Speed, Skill, and while Peach was the character that was selected, I settled on random and ended up with her anyway.
With the Gold from Archery around my neck, I moved onto Hurdles, which was a button only event, just so I could see how it worked and it behaved exactly like I thought it would if you have ever played Track and Field on NES, it was just like that. You rapidly press one button to run and another to jump, if you mistime the jump and leap to early or late, you risk collecting the hurdle, which slows you down a bit, until you build up speed again. Honestly, it was basic as and proved no challenge, the result was as Bowser, I won easily, leaving the rest to eat my dust. With a second win around my neck, I took up one of the new events, Skateboarding.
For some reason, I was expecting there to be more here than there was, but it was still fun, the game is very basic, you can Ollie, but while you might be thinking of pressing and holding to prepare it, like in other skating games, you can’t do that here, you either jump or don’t. Once in the air, there is a button for tricks, which you press and hold, while moving the stick in a direction, if you hold down the shoulder button, you will modify the trick, letting you get some more points on your run. With points being the objective, the more tricks you do and the more variety of them, the more points you can earn, just like in any skateboarding title. Grinding is done by angling your board to a rail or edge and the game will automatically do it, you just have to balance when in motion.
One icon that I did see, but was told was not being spoken about, was that of Mario and Sonic in 8-bit form, there was a brief tease in the trailer of it, so one can only assume it will provide old school versions of the events, but time will tell on that.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are on the right track, pun intended, providing multiple input options and a larger assortment of sports to enjoy. With each character having custom outfits for each of the events, it seems that the team behind it have made sure that they are putting their all into it and while we might have to wait until next year for the actual Olympics, this seems like it will be a fun hold over until then.