Nintendo typically delivers a penchant for quality with every release. Barring the terrible Mario Party titles, just about everything Mario-centric from the company is done well. There’s an obvious knack for quality, charm and creativity. But does that apply to Mario Sports Mix?
It does and it doesn’t.
Mario Sports Mix is a collection of four sports mini-games: hockey, basketball, volleyball and dodgeball. Each are based on their true life premise, but they’re also doctored up in that Mario fashion you’d expect. Every character has a specific power-up that suits both the sport and said character’s personality. There are a few items on the court or rink that add variety to the pool of antics, and each location packs its own bit of flare and personality. In the simplest sense, this is a Mario game that’s true to form when compared to its most recent sporting counterparts.
However, as a single player package, this one is light. There are tournaments, unlockables and exhibition matches. That’s it. No campaign or gradual team building like players found in the last Mario baseball title. And that makes this thing feel a bit cheap and hollow, two characteristics often not found in Mario’s games.
With that in mind, Mario Sports Mix is actually a really good investment for folks that play their Wii in groups. This is a perfect upgrade for anyone looking for more out of Wii Sports and Wii Sports Restort. You’ll have plenty of game to play that will leave friends laughing and having a good time. This game does deliver some of that Mario charm that makes Nintendo great, just not in droves.
The problem that remains across the board here, in both singleplayer and multiplayer portions, is in the actual gameplay. The controls, whether motion or button-based, are a bit akward. In principle, having four action buttons and a shake would be straightforward enough. But the placement, like switching characters or accessing items, can be awkward.
That fact is easy to pass in the singleplayer when one person sits with the game for a bit. However, this game is built for the multiplayer experience, and a mildly tough learning curve make it less than perfect in that sense. Once your friends and family overcome that gap, this one can actually be a good time. Getting there, though, is sort of a pain.
Good for groups, mediocre alone, this sports title from Nintendo falls somewhere between okay and average. More sports, easier mastery more for the solo player would make this mix magic.