When Mario Sports Mix came to me for review I assumed it would be a bit like Wii Sports but with all the characters from the Mario universe. What you actually get are four main games and four smaller party games you can play with friends in the same room or over Wi-Fi that play in a more conventional manner.
All these games involve either a ball or a puck as you play basketball, dodgeball, volleyball or ice hockey using the remote turned on its side or the remote and nunchuck together. The major shame is there’s simply not that much to do in the game and even the different sports feel very similar in the way you control them. The only time you’ll be using gestures is by shaking the remote to shoot or tackle in ice hockey, throw a ball at someone in dodgeball, jump and shoot in basketball or spike the ball in volleyball. I’m not a fan of using gestures when a simple button press would do as it’s not always accurate. Still, it does keep the controls fairly simple so kids will be able to pick up the games and play them almost straight away.
This being Mario there are also some items such as shells you can pick up to use mid-game and special abilities which let you tip the odds in your favour.
Even though Square Enix developed the game they’ve done a good job of keeping a Nintendo vibe and they’ve even thrown in some unlockable characters of their own from Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. You can even use your Miis in any of the games from the off which is great since Mario Kart Wii only let you use them once you’d played through most of the game.
So what are the party games like? Well, to be honest they’re not great and just rehash things you were doing in the main games. There’s a mode where you must try not to get knocked out of an arena – for some strange reason you’re all holding hockey sticks, a game where you must jump and throw fruit into the mouth of a giant plant (again, rehashing basketball), a bomb dodging game and one where you must run towards coloured balls being fired into the arena. Unfortunately there’s been little imagination put into any of them and they’re just not much fun to play.
Only get Mario Sports Mix if you really, really want more Mario action and you don’t mind what this involves. Wii Sports which came bundled with the Wii is actually better and it’s hard to recommend this full-price title over the afore-mentioned bundled game. Mario Sports Mix gets an average 5 out of 10.
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