Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 - Worth The Hype? - Review(Nintendo Switch)
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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 - Worth The Hype? - Review

By Sean Robbins (SeanBird) Host / Executive Producer of
The J-Pop Exchange

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics around the corner, anticipation and excitement for the games continues to grow. With this hype, comes Sega's recently released game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. So, is this game a solid experience or merely a cash-in attempt to capitalize on the hype? Keep reading to find out!

In the game's Quick Match mode, the various Olympic events can be played in two different ways: a modern mode with modern graphics (to represent the Tokyo 2020 Games) and a retro mode (to represent the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games) with 8-bit graphics (although some of the character sprites such as Sonic and Dr. Eggman are based on their 16-bit look). Depending on which mode you choose, the game play and controls can vary significantly.

In the retro mode, the controls seems to be heavily inspired by Konami's Track and Field Series. In other words, the main way you win an event is by pressing the a-button as rapidly as possible; in some cases, you may need to enter a few commands at the right time, but not much else is required. The challenge in this mode is typically not reliant on much skill, rather it is the increasingly high qualifying scores which make this mode occasionally difficult.

Unlike the events in the retro mode, the controls in the modern mode vary significantly for the different events. In some cases, the controls are very intuitive and make you feel like you are actually performing the actions of a specific event (for example, the Gymnastics - Floor Exercise event). However, there are some cases where the controls feel arbitrary and actually take you out of the fun (such as in the Sport Climbing event).

While you will get a solid amount of entertainment value through playing Olympic events in Quick Match mode, the Story Mode is where this game really shines. In this mode, Dr. Eggman devises a nefarious scheme in which he creates a game console that will literally make Mario and Sonic stuck in a video game. However, the plan goes awry when Bowser becomes impatient; as a result, Dr. Eggman and Sonic become trapped as well! After some exposition, we learn that there may be a way out of the game console by winning as many Olympic medals as possible within the game they are stuck in. In Story Mode, you can have a lot of fun playing the various Olympic events; however, the key feature of this mode is that you can explore the game world (essentially exploring Tokyo!). You can talk with different characters and obtain trivia cards; by doing this, you can learn a lot of facts about the current and previous Olympic games. All this culminates into making the Story Mode a rich and diverse experience.

In spite of its minor drawbacks with some of the controls, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 offers a complete and satisfying experience that is definitely worth playing.


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