Mario and Sonic at London Olympics – My First Video Game
Didn’t get your Olympic tickets? That’s ok because Sega have taken it upon themselves to deliver the sporting extravaganza right onto your handheld. I have always wondered why Sega and Nintendo chose some sporting occasion to join forces. Two of the biggest names in gaming coming together in an almighty battle…on the running track. To me it all seems like a missed opportunity. Why not take a leaf out of Kingdom Hearts book and bring out a proper game that utilizes each character’s skill set in an epic RPG?
So as it stands Mario and Sonic at the London Olympic games has been cobbled together with a plot that is all rather soppy. Eggman (c’cmon Sega, Dr. Robotnik from now on. PLEASE!) and Bowser end up hatching a plan to cover London in fog in revenge for not being invited to the Opening Ceremony. If I know London, that would probably be a good thing. I don’t know what their beef is.
Anways, because the fog has covered ‘old Landan taaan’, it’s up to Sega and Nintendo’s eclectic cast to compete against their fog selves in an attempt to save the day.
Now, the story sounds a bit daft, but that doesn’t matter, what we have to look forward to is some Track and Field style multiplayer button bashing. Just like the old days, right? Wrong. What we are left with are admittedly quite a lot of events for the player to take part in, but the shame of the situation is that they are far too simplistic and over in no time.
What’s that you say at the back there? Warioware was a collection of short mini games? Yes, this is true, but they were micro games, full of heart stopping timing events and enjoyment, painted in silliness. Here, the laborious story cut scenes take more of your time than the actual games. The world’s oldest and grandest sporting event has been reduced to largely a sequence of QTEs.
It’s a bit of shame too as some events like Badminton could be fun. But it’s chopped down from a full 21 point game to best of 5 – you hit a button a few times, win the rally, game over. The same is true for the 1500 meters, where instead of a test of endurance and strategy you’re dropped in the last 400 meters of the race. Short changed is the appropriate phrase.
Graphically the game is what it is. It’s made by Sega and has all the cuddly characters from both sides of the camp present, so no realistic interpretations of famous London landmarks. Bright colours and cartoon aesthetics are the order of the day and suit the game well. The only down side is that half the game is covered in fog, which makes you wonder whether the shaky storyline no more than a way around the developers rendering beyond the 3DS capabilities.
Perhaps I’m being a little harsh. After all, I am a 30 year old gamer, a bit in love Mario games, with a Sonic-shaped corner of my heart. This game is squarely aimed at the younger gamer. If you’re reading this and have posters of the titular heroes then you’ll likely buy this – or have it bought for you. But I still think its overly simplified even for the target demographic. Slap it in a Fisher Price Box and call it ‘My First Video Game’.
Some of the events can be quite fun, and as I said there are a hell of a lot of them: from 100 meter sprint to Judo, archery and canoeing. They’re all there, but all insubstantial. If I want to recreate the Olympic Scene, I’d rather head down to my local arcade and throw a few 10ps into an old Track and Field machine.
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