2012-01-30

Mario and Sonic Olympics 2012 – The Olympics Go Portable

by Yo Snyder

Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games should
definitely be in contention for the gold medal of really long titles.
Still, the two mascots have found plenty of success with this formula of
the Olympics, recognizable characters, easy to pick-up-and-play
controls, and the fun of competing with friends. This game’s already
been released on the Wii, but it’s making its 3DS debut just in time for
Valentine’s Day; just in case you need something to do while you’re out
on a date, I suppose. Will your sweetheart think it’s any fun?

Judging
from the new demo (and is anyone enjoying these demos on the 3DS as
much as I am?), this is the same innocuous, simple fun the series has
always offered. Truthfully, the 3D effect doesn’t add much to the game,
but that only makes sense as it wasn’t designed as a 3D game to begin
with. However, the bright colorful graphics look pretty comparable to
the Wii version, so this pretty much feels like a portable Wii game. 

The
demo has five short games to play, and they’re all pretty simple but
fun. The targeting game is simple but enjoyable, just shoot as close to
the bulls-eye as possible as the targets scroll by.  Next you have to
score goals in soccer. This uses the circle pad and initially the
controls take getting used to, and the timing for hitting the ball to
get the most points is a bit tricky, but again it’s pretty fun. The
trampoline game is one that also require precise timing to get the
highest bounce, and some precision for consistently landing in the
middle of the trampoline.The backstroke requires the use of the stylus.
You have to draw precise arcs following a pattern on the upper screen.
It’s kind of awkward really, but once you get the rhythm, it works well
enough. The final game feels the most awkward. It’s a BMX race and you
have to tilt the system when you jump and then tilt it back into a
horizontal position to land your jump and gain speed. Because the hinge
on the 3DS feels a little flimsy, it felt like the top screen was
flopping around a bit as I did this, and it was hard to the position for
landing just right. It’s easier if you have the top screen all the way
flat, but then you’re hunched over the system in a awkward way.

All
in all, the games in the demo a pretty fun and make interesting if not
great use of the 3DS’ unique capabilities. There’s no option for
multiplayer, which is where games like this truly shine; they’re just
more fun playing against friends as opposed to the CPU. The mini-games
are short enough to make this a good choice for a portable as it’s easy
to play it in short spurts. The demo for Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
doesn’t dazzle, but it’s entertaining. It firmly occupies that middle
ground this series has had since the beginning; fun but not spectacular.